TN50#122, My First Ultra Trail Run or Hiking 50 Miles in Running Shorts, 26 June 2023

Hi Team,

Happy Monday and welcome to The Next 50 #120.  I like to think of personal performance in 3 components: physical, mental and emotional.  My frameworks focus on 4 Buckets: Eat, Sleep, Move and Think.  This blog is my sandbox for sharing information that you might find useful regarding your personal performance.

If you haven’t done anything hard in a while, a Trail Run may be the way to go.

I ran the Cuchara 50 Miler on Saturday, 24 June.  Well actually, I walked up hills and jogged on flats and down hills for 50 miles on Saturday.  If you are one of my CrossFit buddies you may be thinking, “Why on earth would you do that?  Well, after completing 184 miles in 7 days on the 7Xpedition back in February, going for an ultra-distance event seemed like the next logical step – why waste all that capacity?

Here are a few lessons I learned during the train-up and actually completing the 50-mile event.

  1. Running on trails is much harder on your feet and ankles than running on improved surfaces. Like most things in life, with trail running you need to increase your time under load (running on rough terrain) slowly over time,
  2. BONUS – Extra time in nature: You get to spend a lot of time outside on terrain that supports trails!
  3. Think of your event as more of a speed hike, running isn’t even required if you start with events that have a good cut-off time.
  4. Use trekking poles (sticks) for events like this, I didn’t use sticks this time but I always use them for mountain hikes. This event would have been way more enjoyable with sticks.  I think this would be true even if you were puny from an upper body standpoint.
  5. Have a good resupply plan, better to have and not need than need and not have. The event I participated in allowed you to build drop bags for the different aid stations that would allow you to resupply your gear throughout the day.  I had more than enough of everything I thought I might need to include: body lube, socks, shoes, head lamps, food, electrolytes, a fresh shirt at mile 39 and of course baby wipes to keep everything clean!
  6. Consider over the ankle trail shoes for really long trail runs, I will in future ultra distance events.

Many thanks to my 7X Running Coach, Chris Hauth, and my 7X Performance Dietician, Chelsea Burkart, who continued to guide me along this recent journey.  If you’re looking for help in either of these domains you should check them out.

The race took me 16 hours and 46 minutes to complete and I finished almost dead last.

As I write this less than 48 hours after completing the event, I still have achy feet, ankles, knees, quads, hip flexors and I also still have a big smile on my insides.  There were some mindset realizations throughout all this too, I’ll share some of those next week.

As always share the post with your team and anyone who might find it useful and let me know what you think!

Have a good one, Alex

PS. The pix was at 5:40 am, 40 minutes into the race, the first 3-ish miles was climbing an old ski slope!

PPS. If you’d like help improving your personal performance as an individual or group, please let me know: