Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in a 100 Mile Race - Part 1

After my own mistakes (and a little bad luck) in my last 100-miler, I thought it might be useful to lay out a few of the mistakes that are commonly seen. I'm sure a lot more could be added to these but here are my top 10, all 100-mile specific. Firstly the bottom five of the list, then the top five in a few days (here).

10. Not training enough - it's self-explanatory that 100 miles takes commitment and a good build-up, ideally over several years.

9. Training too much - the flip-side is that 100 miles can be so intimidating that too many miles and too many long runs leave you tired on race day. It's easy to hear about insane training regimes and assume that huge mileage is the only route to success - it isn't and a quality training regime can peak at a fairly reasonable mileage. This will depend on the experience and years of training the individual has already built up.

8. Getting too focused on a finish time - with buckles for sub-24 hours or other time targets, it's easy to set a time then go off and try to achieve it despite less than ideal training, bad weather conditions (trust me on that one) or any number of other factors. In general, go with the flow and judge the day as it comes to you instead of rigidly sticking to arbitrary goals. It'll almost certainly result in a more enjoyable day and a better time.

7. Not knowing the course - it's helpful to know the frequency of aid stations and where the harder terrain is. Eight miles of a steep climb will take a lot longer than a flat eight miles, so more food and drink needs to be carried in-between. Some people may find it hard to concentrate on anything but the distance to the next aid station and can get demoralized when the distance they have in their head isn't covered as fast as expected. But in general it's better to have an idea of how far and how long it'll take to get to the next load of food and drink.

6. Trying new stuff on race day - whether it's food, clothing, shoes or something else, it's best to stick with things you've had a chance to practice with. The less new factors you have to deal with, the better. Shoes, in particular, should be ones you've worn in well (try not to have them in hold luggage if you fly to the race and have any essentials on you or your hand luggage, in case the airline loses your bags).

More to follow in a few days...


  1. great post idea, looking forward to part two!

  2. Solid post. I would add to number 10 that it is not just training enough in terms of miles, but how you get those miles. 70 miles a week could be very much not training enough if you get those miles over 10 runs in a week. It could be much better prep if those 70 come around a longer run or back to backs.

    Rather painfully, I discovered this in my first 100.

  3. Great post..looking forward to the top 5! I'm getting ready to take on my first 50miler this year and so this is helpful to keep in mind as I move forward!

  4. thank you,i'm not running a 100 yet,but i am running my first 50 miler and anything helps!!

  5. Great Post Ian!!....I am looking forward to the top 5 as well....

  6. I have my first 100-miler on March 24th so these tips are very helpful! Can't wait to read the next 5. Thanks!