How To Train For It: Hot Hot Hundred 100K Relay
Tricks, Tips, & Suggestions For Running The Hot Hot Hundred 100K Team Relay
In the “How To Train For It” blog posts we will take a deep dive into a specific race distance to explore training tips, suggestions, and even sample training plans from the Race Directors and past runners of that race. The “How To Train For It” blogs will include sample training tips put together by the Race Directors along with actual training plans used by runners in their current or past training cycles.
Hot Hot Hundred 100K Relay
The Hot Hot Hundred is easily the most unique trail running event in Kentucky. It’s equal parts trail running party and fellowship with friends in a down-home setting mixed with a seriously challenging course that demands not only solid training but also proper planning.
First off: do it. Gather friends or family, sign up your team, dust off your tent, fill your coolers, train, and come out to experience something truly unique. I could devote this blog to a ton of physical training exercises like hill repeats, track work, and the like, but I wanted to focus in on some of the more minute details of the event that I believe a lot of people don’t consider (although I consider myself an ‘expert’ on next to nothing, I have completed the 100K Relay each year since the race’s inception - even choosing to form smaller teams of three and running four loops on the day which is no easy feat considering the down time, weather, and elevation).
Back to those minute details (and I should preface, these thoughts are coming from the perspective of someone who has only experienced the Relay as what basically amounts to a big 40K training day, and not from the perspective of an individual on a five-person team which would account for two loops - the additional mileage each of the three years has forced me to have a different perspective on how to train, plan, and execute on race day). After last year’s race, I wrote a blog about why I thought the event was so challenging to so many people. 2017’s version was awfully hot, but it was also the first time I realized how mentally difficult it was, for me at least, to constantly witness other individuals finish their portion of the relay while I still had to continue on. Check out last year’s write up for more on that. I, at least then, thought it was an interesting perspective.
Upon being asked “How To Train For It”, I immediately thought, “have a plan”. Have a plan for literally every portion of your day. Don’t obsess over it to the point of ruining your fun, just think things through. Running more than two loops? Have a plan for each - your first lap will likely be earlier in the morning when it’s cooler. Plan for that loop differently than you would your loop between 3:00 PM-5: 00 PM when it’s going to be much hotter. Next: PLAN FOR YOUR DOWN TIME. I can’t stress this enough. Again, especially if you’re running three or four loops, you are definitely taking a bite of something difficult and challenging. How are you going to recover for two-three hours? How will you stay loose? Are you going to wear the same soaking wet shirt all day? What gear will need replaced? How are you going to get and stay cool? How will you be refueling yourself? Know what your go-to’s are late in an ultra such as a 50K or 50-miler and utilize those items. You won’t be duplicating that type of mileage on race day, but don’t underestimate the down time can also tire you out and that you are still participating in an all-day event sat out in the middle of Summer.
What other goals do you want to discuss with your team? Do you want to be competitive or just finish? If the later, don’t focus on the standings or your splits, just run your loops at your pace and pop the top on a cold one when you’re done. Simple as. Lastly, and mostly for smaller teams, consider that your extra mileage will slow your splits down and your last leg or two could be almost exclusively in the dark as my fourth loop was last year. If you’ve never experienced night running, it’s certainly nothing to shy away from, but it is very different than running in the daytime. A good headlamp will of course serve you well, but there is something foreign about the topography of running at night that simply must be experienced. Be mindful of these things and have a plan for your day. If you do and execute it, you’ll enjoy your time and the event will be a success full of awesome memories.
Oh,..and of course do hill repeats.