I’m still about 3 months out from Eastern States 100, but I’m already more than a little afraid of what the race has in store for me. You see, this is quite possibly the hardest 100 miler on the east coast and one of the more difficult ones anywhere. Last year only about 40% of the people who started the race finished. I believe the first year had about a 50% finisher rate. The difficulty lies in the course profile:
The scale is a bit hard to see, but it includes eight 1000ft climbs and another 10 or so over 500ft climbs added in. Toss into the mix that this race is held in mid-August in PA and you have the makings of a brutally hard race. I’m not really sure why I’m attracted to this sort of thing. Part of it is the difficulty. Part of it is that it’s held in the “Wilds of PA”, which sounds pretty cool. It’s also that this is one of the closer 100 mile races to where I live.
The focus of this training plan is similar to the one I put together for Oil Creek and very simple. Vert, more vert, and yet more vert. Eastern States has 20k plus of elevation gain. The trails are so remote that they’re not even really sure how much it has so to be on the conservative side they say 20k. I’ve read some race reports and other runners seem to think it’s probably closer to 25k of elevation gain. So I’m looking at somewhere between 200 and 250 feet of both ups and downs per mile or 25-75 feet more than Oil Creek.
My training cycles now center around 3 long runs per month, typically done on Saturday mornings. I used to plan all my runs based on miles, but I’ve switched over to time when I start to add in a lot of vertical. So I’ll start out increasing my long runs in 5 mile increments and then when I start adding in lots of hill repeats, I’ll start measuring the runs in hours. So this cycle will have 5 runs at or longer than 4 hours with my longest being 7 hours. I’m kinda excited about that one as I’m going to do it overnight (11pm to 6am), three weeks out from my race. I should have done overnight runs prior to my other races, however it’s not something I ever really got around to planning. Outside of my long runs, I’ll do two 5 mile mid-week runs and plenty of supplemental core work. But the key to the training cycle will be getting in lots of elevation gain during my long runs.
I have already started tracking the weather (lows in the mid-50s, highs in the high about 80 degrees). I know that whatever the weather will be it will not be this, but I can’t quite seem to help myself. The mere existence of the forecast requires me to check it every couple days. It’s not like I’m going to prepare or train any differently. I’m pretty sure if there was a 180 day forecast available, then I’d already be following it for my October race.
Do you ever exercise by time?