RUNNING ON DIRT | Gearing up for the long run |

RUNNING ON DIRT | Gearing up for the long run

The Tahoe Rim Trail Ultra is this weekend. It easily has the most local participation of any ultra in our region. Having three distances to choose from helps and#8218;-100 miles, 50 miles or 50 kilometers. I typically run the 50-kilometer race, but this year Iand#8217;m stepping up to the 50-mile race. No matter the distance you choose and#8212; for any trail race, for that matter, or even your long run and#8212; there are simple strategies to get through the miles and hours.

I once mentioned my obsession with my watch. Well, this is where it comes in to play. I run with a Garmin 405. It tells me far more info than I use, but the key pieces for me are average per mile pace and distance.

At the Rim Trail I know exactly what pace I should be at when I get to Hobart Mills, Tunnel Creek, the top of snow peak, etc. With the ups and downs Iand#8217;m able to calculate how much I can slow down on climbs and how fast I need to run downhill. Iand#8217;ve never been that great at math, so I find myself constantly recalculating my time and pace while Iand#8217;m shuffling along. It eats up time and thatand#8217;s good.

But I need my watch to help me figure these things out. Also, my watch reminds me when to drink my GU brew and eat my GU. Itand#8217;s easy to forget the fuel, and once you feel like youand#8217;re out of gas, itand#8217;s too late.

Another tool to moving you forward on long days is breaking up your run into sections. Iand#8217;ll use this weekendand#8217;s ultraruns as an example again. I have many goals throughout the race. I like using landmarks and aid stations. Using 3- to 5-mile sections is a good gauge of accomplishment. Once you reached each goal it is important to reassess how you feel. Long runs always take more out of than you expect. Be adaptable. Geoff Roes, this yearand#8217;s winner of Western States, was quoted as saying he usually doesnand#8217;t enter a race with a plan because too many things happen and change in the long run.

The next time you step out for that 3-hour run, break it up and study your pace, and always have fun.

If you ever have the opportunity to run into Paul Sweeney or Betsy Nye on the trails, ask them about the long run. They both just finished the Hardrock 100 in Colorado last weekend.

and#8212; Peter Fain is a local trail runner who competes regularly in regional trail races and snowshoe runs in the winter. He may be contacted at

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