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Pre-Race Rough Trail 50k Report

Finally coming up to the date of the Rough Trail 50k, a date that has been in my head and on my calendar for almost a year now. I actually ended up running part of the trail last year as my intro into trail running and haven't looked back. Let's take a look at the positives and what I have going for me before we hit the big day. 

Overlooking the many valleys and ridges the Rough Trail navigates through. 

Overlooking the many valleys and ridges the Rough Trail navigates through. 

Training: 

I'm not going to lie, my training plan hasn't been what I had hoped leading up to the race. I haven't done many longer runs (15+ miles). Furthermore, weekly mileage has been down compared to The Dawg Gone 50k, which I raced in June. However, this time I have done more hills and speed work to try and build up my "tolerance" to the quantity and length of some of the hills on the climb. This meant I would go out to the Red River Gorge on Saturdays or Sundays and run the course. 

Home Course Advantage: 

With the Red River Gorge being my primary trail running spot I know, and have run all of the trails the Rough Trail will cover. Many of the trails the course covers have very technical aspects to them. Having seen these locations on more than one occasion I feel I'll be able to cruise through them and be more fluid on the downhills. This should give me a speed advantage and make up for slow ascents on the second half of the race. 

Energy and Injury: 

Since I haven't been running the big miles every week, I feel my body is well rested. Before my last ultra I was having IT band syndrome as well as shin splints. This time since I haven't been running so much I don't have any of those issues. However, this could play into new pains when I'm running because I haven't put much strain on my body in some time. I have done one 10 mile run in the past two weeks leading up to the race. 

Race Day Strategy: 

My strategy might be a very dumb one. Since the second half has the majority of the elevation gain, I'm going to try and be speedy on the first half of the race down to Martin's Fork. This way, I'll have built up a cushion for myself in terms of time and will try to will myself through the second half of the race. As stated above, I think being fluid and fast over the technical parts of the course will prove invaluable and I think I can really take advantage of that. 

Goals: 

After I ran the Dawg Gone 50k, I crafted some goals and decided I wanted to place top 10 and beat my time from the Dawg Gone 50k even with all of the added elevation. As the fall got busier and busier, and I spent more time focusing on work endeavors, the training fell off the map and I decided to re-evaluate where I was in terms of conditioning and make sure my goals were attainable. Here they are: 

  • Have an overall time Under 7 hours. 
  • Have my time for second half of the race within 30% of the first half time. 

We'll have to see how these strategies pay out and effect my run! I'm excited but nervous of the pain that I'm about to bring to my body. Let's see how hard I can push it!  

-POH