Madga Boulet on How to Overcome the Daunting 100-Mile Ultramarathon

Can we all agree that running is hard? Whether you’re training for a 5k or running up a staircase built into a mountain (see below), running has its unique challenges.

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But what if your goal is nearly four times longer than a marathon? What if your goal is to run 100 miles – competitively?

This distance usually takes about 15 – 30 hours depending on the athlete’s ability and the course itself.

And there’s one particular ultra that stands above the others: The Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. It’s the world’s oldest 100-mile trail race and one of the most formidable tests of endurance on the planet.

If you’re crazy brave enough to tackle Western States, you’ll need to overcome more than 18,000 feet of climbing and 23,000 feet of descending reaching altitudes approaching 9,000 feet.

The heat is yet another cruel obstacle, sometimes surpassing blistering high temperatures of 110° Farhenheit.

Western States is the crown jewel of ultra running and often considered one of the most difficult races in the world.

Succeeding at Western States requires a combination of skills:

  • A monster aerobic engine to power you through 24+ hours of running
  • The resilience and strength to overcome tens of thousands of feet of elevation gain and loss
  • Logistical prowess with coordinating fueling, pacers, and support

But in fact, running 100 miles is not as different from running a marathon as you think.

To help you shatter your perception of what’s possible, discover the training necessary to run 100 miles, and inspire you to chase your next stretch goal, I’ve invited Magdalena Boulet onto the podcast to talk about her performance at this year’s Western States Endurance Run.

Magda Boulet on Western States

Magdalena Boulet Ultra Marathon

One of the biggest names in the world of ultramarathons, Magda Boulet has an impressive list of credentials:

  • 1st – 2002 and 2003 Pittsburgh Marathon
  • 1st – 2002 San Francisco Marathon
  • 1st – 2006 Orange County Marathon
  • 2nd – 2008 Olympic Trials Marathon
  • 1st – 2015 Western States Endurance Run
  • 5th – 2016 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc
  • 2nd – 2017 Western States Endurance Run

She prepares methodically for challenging races, leaving no stone unturned as she strives to compete with the fastest endurance runners on the planet.

This unique “testing mindset” helped her identify potential injury warnings before this year’s Western States, vaulting her onto the podium.

Using a blood analytics service called Inside Tracker, she identified biomarkers outside of her optimal zones – and then went to work fixing them through diet and lifestyle changes.

She’s on the podcast today to talk more about:

  • What it takes to train for 100 milers
  • Are they so different from marathons…?
  • Her personal fueling approach for ultra marathons
  • Pre- and post-race blood testing goals
  • How her blood test results impacted her recovery

Listen to the latest episode on iTunes or on Stitcher.

Show Resources & Links:

This episode of the podcast is made possible by Inside Tracker – they’ve generously offered to give 10% off any test with discount code strengthrunning (not case sensitive).

Inside Tracker is a health analytics company that tests for over 50 major blood biomarkers and based on your physiology, offer custom solutions to help you optimize any areas that are outside of the normal zones.

So if you’re training for a difficult race, want to ramp up your recovery, or are just a passionate running geek like me who’s always searching for more ways to improve, this is a great option for seeing (and fixing) your areas of deficiency.

Get 10% off any test at insidetracker.com with code strengthrunning at checkout.

Join Me in Testing!

I recently got my own Ultimate Package from Inside Tracker to see my own shortcomings.

Will my testosterone be low from running at altitude?

Will my Vitamin D be deficient even though I usually expose as much thigh as possible (even my sister calls me out on this…)?

Short Shorts

Will my blood glucose be too high from treating myself to more Bacon Habanero chips than is reasonable? (see podcast #29)

The results will be in soon and I plan to post an update on the results.

If you’d like to join me on this adventure, get your own test (don’t forget the discount code ‘strengthrunning’ to save 10%). This should be fun!

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Comments

  1. The thought of doing an Ultra makes me wince, but I can’t help getting drawn to it…

  2. There’s a certain seductiveness about running a 100 mile event. It’s kinda like when Iron distance races started coming out and completing one of these events was seen as a badge of honor for the athlete and a mark of madness to their family and friends.

    I’m currently training for my first 100 now!

  3. running is definitely hard. I can’t even imagine these runners running past 42k. My longest distance is 22k. I still dream of running one day past a marathon though hehe. Go for it Paul, let us know how it goes. I read a couple of running books this year (Karnazes, Jurek and so on) and man, even thinking of them gives me goose bumps. These guys are heroes.