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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 05-03-2011, 03:19 PM   #11
Spencer James
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Re: First Ultramarathon (100 miles) in 10 months

Jonathan and Shane, can you guys elaborate on the relationships between a road marathon and a trail 50k (or 50mile)? What do you think the exchange rate is between road and trail ultras in terms of the endurance/durability/fitness required?
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Old 05-03-2011, 11:41 PM   #12
Jonathan Yoon
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Re: First Ultramarathon (100 miles) in 10 months

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Originally Posted by Spencer James View Post
Jonathan and Shane, can you guys elaborate on the relationships between a road marathon and a trail 50k (or 50mile)? What do you think the exchange rate is between road and trail ultras in terms of the endurance/durability/fitness required?
Personally, I feel that trail runners are more physically stronger than road runners, but road runners are usually faster and are more durable. In my years of participating in ultras, I've noticed that road marathoners tend to not do well at trail 50k and vice versa. That being said, there are many exceptions to the rule. I know a few fast roadies who also do really well at trail races and the other way around. However, the reason why this is the case is due to the years of consistent conditioning and running on both road and trail.

So best thing for a runner is to do both road and trail.

Regarding exchange rates, fitness levels are just different. The trail runner's muscles would be adapted to handling varying surfaces due to trails being varied with each step. Roadies however hone their muscles and tendons to where they've reached max efficiency on a surface that never really changes. This is why you don't see people running fast marathons on trails, even when they're downhill. Durability, I would give more to the roadie, especially if the roadie knows how to downhill run efficiently. Endurance is an even match, although if I were to split hairs, I would say the trail runner has more muscular endurance when it comes to climbs than the roadie since most climbs on trails are generally more steeper than any road race out there.
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Old 05-04-2011, 10:13 AM   #13
Shane Skowron
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Re: First Ultramarathon (100 miles) in 10 months

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Originally Posted by Spencer James View Post
Jonathan and Shane, can you guys elaborate on the relationships between a road marathon and a trail 50k (or 50mile)? What do you think the exchange rate is between road and trail ultras in terms of the endurance/durability/fitness required?
To expand upon what Jon said, a road marathon and a trail 50k are radically different, at least in my opinion. The difference is even more pronounced once you get to trail 100s, especially ones with lots of elevation gain.

As the trails become more difficult, it's less a matter of running speed as it is of walking speed and ability to climb and descend hills. (One of the reasons trail runners tend to have slightly larger quads/hamstrings than
their road running counterparts. )

I would say in a marathon, your running pace is pretty critical. And since most road marathons are flat and you run the whole way, your running pace = your movement pace. In a trail ultra, your running pace is more or less irrelevant. If you run at a 7:00/mile but need to stop whenever you encounter a hill or get tired, it doesn't matter. If you can only manage a 10:00 mile but you can keep that pace for the entire distance and over every terrain, you will be faster. Movement speed > running speed.

Look at Scott Jurek, perhaps one of the best ultramarathoners ever. I believe his best marathon is 2:38. Excellent for most of us, but not quite elite.

Also look at the Barkley 100. It's easily the hardest 100 miler in the world, and statistically may be the most difficult race there is (only 10 people have ever finished in its 20+ years). There was one guy who finished this year, Brett Maune, is more of an elite-level fastpacker than a runner. Can't say for sure, but I would bet his road marathon time would be less than impressive.

The only notable exception here is Michael Wardian, who can run marathons in the 2:20s and is still competitive at trail 100's.

I can't think of any extreme examples of the reverse off the top of my head (fast marathoners doing trail ultramarathons) but I would say that even having sub-3 hour road marathon wouldn't necessarily make you have a great trail ultra time.
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Old 05-05-2011, 06:11 AM   #14
Shane Atkinson
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Re: First Ultramarathon (100 miles) in 10 months

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The weekly long run is the single most important element of ultra training, so prioritize that.
I agree with this. I also agree with Brian MacKenzie's CFE concept with the comparisons of Anaerobic vs Aerobic. I have trained with the CFE concept a few times and plan to encorporate it into my training very soon. However, when I did use his WODs one thing I kept was my LSD. I need an LSD to perform. For me it is more than just a base builder. It is practice for the real thing, it proves in my mind that I can indeed make it the distance.

I am a guy who needs reassurance that I can go 20 miles. I must prove it to myself before I head out to do it in a competitive nature.

As for you, someone who has not put in much distance at all the LSD will give you confidence that you can do it. Even with CFE's Distance Time Trials the Ultra is short for me. Will it hurt if you run all out, you bet cha, but will you feel confident that that 13.1 mile run sets you up to slug through 100 miles?

CFE may work wonders for guys who have ran their targeted distance, but I believe you may want to aim to get your miles built up while adding in CFE along the way. Thats how "I" like to do things.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spencer James View Post
Jonathan and Shane, can you guys elaborate on the relationships between a road marathon and a trail 50k (or 50mile)? What do you think the exchange rate is between road and trail ultras in terms of the endurance/durability/fitness required?
One thing to remember about trails (my favorite runs): If you are doing a 9 min mile on the roads, add a minute for the trail. For most people this is rule of thumb. Also, DO NOT be afraid to Power Walk those hills.

Here is the thing, the road is relatively flat and straight. Yes there are hills, but no roots, rocks, mud holes, creeks or obstacles along the way. You just run.

On the trail you are jukeing and diving, hoping side to side, bringing the knees up high etc. None of these moves are done on the road. The trail is tiring and very skill oriented. You NEED trail time to gain the experience. Run 5 on the road, then run 5 on the trail, see which one feels harder.

If you want to get better at push ups you do push ups, if you want to be a better trail runner, put the time in on the trail. Even though all the miles will help no matter what.

All of the above is my opinion and what works best for me. Pick up Trail Runner and Google Trail Running. Some wealth of knowledge out there.
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Old 05-06-2011, 10:11 AM   #15
Ben Kissam
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Re: First Ultramarathon (100 miles) in 10 months

I remember the first time I went on a trail with a few other people to run, and I decided to be cute and wear my VFF's to "prove" I'd be fine.

Long story short I only had 9 toenails for 4 months, I shed tears for the first time ever on a run, and I didn't run a trail for 8 months.

Now I love trail running. My point of this post being to back up everyone saying respect the trails. If you don't they will chew you up and spit you back out.

I've run a 50 mile and a 50k so far and I don't "just run." In fact I only long run once a week. If you check out my blog in my signature and go back and read my training from January-March 2011 you can see how I trained for my first 50 miler.
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