One of the best-known long-distance trail races kicks off this week. As the name suggests, the Hardrock 100 takes runners through 100 miles of southern Colorado. Some of the best endurance athletes in the world will be at the event, while others are simply trying to give it their best shot.
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The race goes through the San Juan Mountains for a total elevation gain of 33,197 feet and then back down again. On the way, they’ll cross rivers, snowpack and boulder fields.
Recently, runners set new records on the course, breaking the 24-hour mark, but it takes most runners about 40 hours to complete. Plenty of runners watch the sunset twice before they’re done.
We don’t need to tell you that it’s not easy, but obviously, people can do it.
Here are a few things runners keep in mind when they’re aiming for 100 miles:
- Start small – No one starts at 100 miles. First, runners should get a marathon and some other long-distance runs under their belt. One running company suggests runners should be able to run more than 30 miles a week for at least three to four weeks before training for 100 miles.
- Run, run, run – Running must be a primary focus leading to any major race. As documented in the REI film “How to Run 100 Miles,” running was all they did. In every weather condition and regardless of their personal lives.
- It’s as much mental as it is physical – while an injury could take you out of a race, the mental part of running so far is also a factor. Running for hours is a long time to be in your head. Running blogs suggests answering questions like why you’re out there and reminding yourself that you’re strong and you prepared for this.
- Be prepared to walk – Any longtime trail runner knows that a lot of the sport is really just hiking. Plenty of miles require you to slow down, and as commenters on Reddit suggest, as long as you keep moving forward, you’re still running that race.
- It’s okay to give up – All this preparation may still lead to the dreaded DNF (did not finish). These races are an extreme challenge for any athlete. As Ultra Running Magzine puts it, it’s okay to care but not too much.
Are you set to give it a try?