How did I train for a 200-mile ultramarathon?
We’re going to cover
- The story behind the Buckeye 200
- Physically how I trained
- Deep dive into the miles
- What I would do differently
- Mentally How I trained
- How the race went
So what was the story behind the 200-mile race?
It was May 2022, maybe a week after I ran the dirty german 50-mile race
Coach Pete let me know that he and a few others are signing up for the Buckeye 200 – a 200-mile ultramarathon and he mentioned that he thought that I was ready to run a 200 miler. Mind you before this, I only ran a one-hundred-mile race around a one-mile track.
By the way, I was destroyed after that first and only hundred-miler, and that little belief Coach Pete gave was all i needed. I signed up for the race sometime in June of 2022.
Buckeye was at the end of September, so that gave me 4 solid months of training.
Really though, I ran the dirty German 50 miler in May and had a solid 3 months of training for that race, plus the race itself. So really I was working with 7 months of solid training – the dirty German training block built onto this buckeye training block.
Anyway, let’s get into some training talk.
How did I train for the Buckeye 200 miler?
First, let’s touch on my overall fitness philosophy:
I believe the four pillars of fitness are:
The ideal? Being efficient in each of those four areas.
WHY? Because the body is an intricate machine that needs movement to thrive.
Yes, I think these four pillars play a huge role in the success of a 200-mile race.
And most of my training hit on these four pillars, with cardio being the bulk of the focus during the Buckeye training block.
So I spent maybe 3 hours per day on various forms of movement. the truth is, I’ve been spending about this much time on movement daily for a few years now. The style of movement changes but the time is more or less the same.
So how did I use the four pillars for this 200 training block?
Here’s an overview:
- Cardio was 7 days a week. 45 minutes – 5 hours sessions. About 80% running, 10% hiking, and 10% biking – on average i did 80 miles total, per week.
- Cross training – mainly strength – on the days that weren’t long runs – 4 to 5 sessions that lasted 30 – 45 minutes This typically came in the form of bodyweight exercises that I would do at home. Think pull-ups, push-ups, squats, abs, etc.
- As for flexibility and mobility, I’d spend 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at night, and about 25 minutes throughout the day doing various exercises. Mainly the deep squat, dead hangs, and running-specific yoga flow. I’d also try to do a 45-minute yoga flow/ recovery once per week focusing on any sore areas.
And here’s kind of a breakdown of the specific weekly cardio workouts, maybe I switched biking in here and there but this is a general outline.
- An active rest day once per week, 1 – 3 mile hike (Mon)
- hill repeats once per week with 75% effort, about 45 minutes worth (Tues)
- Back-to-back long slow runs each week, sometimes back to back-to-back. 15 – 30 miles per day. (Weds – Fri)
- Short to medium slow runs the other two or three days, 4-10 miles (Fri – Sun)
Diving deeper into Mileages – strava
- I peaked at 102 miles, 3 weeks before the race. Thus, starting a slight taper.
- A training block general rule of thumb: I like to increase my weekly miles by 10% – 15% each week for 3 weeks, and then the fourth week I would “deload” with a lower mileage week. Something like 40 miles, 45 miles, 50 miles, then a deload week of 40 miles, and start the next sequence of 50 miles, 55, 60.
- June 48 hours 311 miles – 77 miles total per week
- 28-mile day (two runs)
- July 55 hours 336 miles – 84 miles total per week
- 23/24 mile long runs back to back
- August 58 hours 348 miles – 87 miles total per week – peak month
- 60 mile 12-hour race
- 32-mile long run
- September 47 hours 275 miles – 70 miles total per week – not including the Buckeye race
- 24-mile long run
What would I do differently
- more running-specific exercises like atg squat, shin and calf raises, good mornings, pilates – another strength workout per week this would probably look like or just add something in at the end of workouts making each session a tad longer.
- Incorporating more compound strength movements like different forms of deadlifts and bench press, not just bodyweight exercises
- Focusing on running for time not necessarily for miles on the long run days. Maybe even adding different types of cross-training for super long days – doing 3 hours of running, an hour of the stair climber, and 2 hours of biking vs 5 hours of running
What did I do on the mental side of things?
- Built a belief in myself by putting in the work daily aka winning the day. Training for this ultra marathon was on my power list. The power list is a tool to win at life that Andy Frisella talks about and its changed my life. Pretty much it’s 5 critical tasks that need to get done each day – if you do all five you win the day. Win enough days, you win the week, win enough weeks, win the month, and win enough months, you win the year.
- “I’m getting better” was a common mantra.
- Writing down the goal every single morning: “Complete Buckeye 200”
- Visualizing: before, during, after – as vivid and detailed as I can – each morning
- Writing a plan – I have an “ultra note” document on my google drive. It contains all the planning notes for most of the races I’ve done. It covers things like logistics, crew, gear, nutrition and hydration notes, the plan for before, during, and after, some thoughts, research, and really anything that I think would be necessary for building my specific plan. Here it is: ultra notes
How did the race go?
What an unforgetable experience. The goal was to finish. We placed 18th overall out of 40 runners in just over 4 days, about 99 hours. Corie and Champ crewed most of the journey and played key roles through some critical moments.
I had right shin issues for about 100 miles that slowed me down big time on the last day.
So, my right leg has given me issues at various points throughout my running journey. The IT band, groin, knee, foot/ arch…
Each time something comes up – I focus on strengthening that area and it eventually does improve. And since putting in the work on strengthening these areas there hasn’t been any IT band, knee, or feet issues at all – even during Buckeye. I’m super happy about that. This time though, it was my shin. Something that I must admit I haven’t specifically been strengthening.
If you’re interested, check out the race report I wrote here: there are no finishers only survivors
And here’s a different version
Lastly, some Buckeye reflections
I appreciate your attention
Well, That’s it! Thank you so much for plugging in 🔌 I appreciate your attention
LMK what other articles I could put out please!
Go get your miles, Peace!!!!!
2 thoughts on “739. How I trained for a 200-Mile Ultramarathon”
Always enjoy looking at other people’s processes, be it for writing or a competition. What you said about weights was spot on. I’d neglected weights my entire life, but I’m learning more and more that no matter what sport you’re in, strength through weights is always a good thing, especially the big four compound movements (squat, bench, deadlift, overhead press).
Amazing prep work and amazing feat!
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Heard that! Strength through weights is always a good thing, I love that. THose four compound movements have been bringing some serious gains into my life too! keep growing! and thanks for the comment!