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Leadville 100 Trail Run Coaching Basics – Mileage

Leadville 100 Trail Run Coaching Basics – Mileage

This will be a first in a series of Leadville 100 Trail Run Coaching Basics and today we will focus on mileage. How much does one need to run from January 1st until the race start in August? This article, Leadville 100 Trail Run Coaching Basics – Mileage, will explain just that.

Leadville 100 Trail Run Coaching Basics – Mileage

Having studied Leadville for over a decade, and after suffering my own DNF in 2009 because I was not “quite there” mileage-wise; and after surveying and observing other runners over the years… I have come up with rather solid evidence and numbers in regards to the mileages a runner needs in order to go to the starting line with a 90%+ chance of finishing.

The magic number… 2000 miles give or take must be ran in the 7.5 months or so that a runner has between January 1st and running Leadville itself. That works out to approximately 70 miles per week for 30 weeks or so.

You have to have trained but of course not all of those miles look the same. You can hit that number by running ten miles a day for the year but you would not be in ultra shape. You would just be good at running ten miles a day.

For me the key has always been in the “money runs.” Long days running on weekends back-to-back in a 30-20 mile format or something similar.  I love to run twenty milers because they keep my mind sharp and I learn how mentally to get myself through that time and distance but 30 milers are my staple most years with the benefit coming in the last ten miles after you have run 20 and are tired. And as I have learned this past year… for me, 30 IS the new 20!

It never hurts to throw in some 50 mile runs during the summer as long as you can recover.  There are plenty of good races, Jemez, San Juan, Leadville Silver Rush, just to name a few.

Caution on the side of going to the line slightly under-trained (emphasis on slightly) rather than tired, over trained and or injured.  The taper and rest before the race can be just as valuable if not more than the months of training previous.

One note on the 2000 mile target… in 2013 and 2014, when I did Leadman, of course those number were NOT there but… the volume on the bike and the training compensated for the miles I did not run. And most years at some point I end up being pushed onto the bike and it doesn’t matter just as long as those numbers work out and balance out in the end. My point here is the bike can also be of great benefit not only to maintain running volume, but also to prevent too much wear and tear on the body. All of my athletes are encouraged to ride once or twice a week depending on the week because of this.

Leadville 100 Trail Run Coaching Basics – Mileage – This about covers it… There are more things to consider like the highest mileage weeks 5-6 weeks out from the race and how to properly taper but this is a great overview of the things to consider when stacking the miles going into Leadville.

Anything under 50 miles a week or 10 hours of training a week is suspect… and even 60 is too low of a number although people try to pull it off, their results are usually, well, unpleasant at best… Leadville is hard and you MUST put in the miles to get there.

Andy Wooten – Aspen Running Coach

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Photo By Andy Wooten 12 August 2011

Greg Duckworth

Nice article, Andy!

Andy Wooten

Thank you Greg! Many more to come! 🙂

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