Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Howl at Moon Goal: 9:36 pace!

I want to run 50 miles at the 8-Hour Howl at the Moon race this August. That translates to a per mile pace of 9:36. That's a pretty steady pace for a full 8 hours! Especially since this race is held in mid-August in central Illinois---lots of heat and humidity (plus the course is mostly exposed to the sun).  I've broken 47 miles twice at this same race. Maybe 50 miles is possible. I've never really trained for this race before. If I get in lost of overall miles, many long runs, and plenty of hot-weather runs...I might just be able to accomplish this goal! Maybe. I think I'll need to throw in regular tempo runs and progression runs so the 9:30 pace will feel extra comfortable. I did tons of very slow runs heading into the 100 miler---now it's time to pick up the pace.

Of course, training is important, but it's not the only key to success. I have three new elements to my race plan:

1. Pepcid AC to calm my stomach. I usually get a sour stomach in any hot-weather ultra. It rises it's ugly head around the 5 or 6 hour mark and I really slow down. In addition to feeling uncomfortable, I stop eating and drinking. No fuel is bad for ultras! If I can conquer my stomach issues, then I'll conquer the race.

2. Hoka shoes (plus Altra Torins) to ease the stress and fatigue in my feet. Sore feet aren't the worst thing for 8 hours, but if I can stay "fresh" I'll have a much better chance to maintain my race pace. I often change shoes in the middle of an ultra and that usually gives me a lift. If I can rotate the Hokas with the Torins, I think my feet will be happy and my mind will let me keep pushing the pace. More running, less walking.

3. Tailwind sports drink instead of water and "whatever drinks aid stations provide." Tailwind seems to go down smoothly and keeps me hydrated and fueled. I'll need more calories than it provides, but if I sample small bits of food at aid stations (pretzels, chips, bananas, etc) I should have my calories dialed in well enough to keep going. Same with electrolytes--an occasional s-cap to supplement the Tailwind drink should be fine.

With better training, combined with these three changes, I have a chance to break 50 miles at Howl. Seriously, it's possible!

I have 100 days until the race. Wish me luck.


David said...

9:36 pace for 50 miles is kinda bad-ass. Are you aiming for even splits, or allowing for a slowdown in the latter stages?

Chris said...


Think I must aim for a slightly slower second split. Marathon (26 miles) in about 4 hours, then next 24 miles in 4 hours? If it's hot (like usual) it's going to be tough!

jason elliot said...

Good luck! You can do it. 47 is close and you've been there twice.

Re calories: I've made some energy bars that I'm pretty happy with. Vegan and mostly raw (there's dark chocolate in them). Soy, nuts, seeds and other stuff. You should sample them!

Chris said...


Sound like good energy bars. Would you use them during a long run like Howl?

Marathon Man said...

Very impressive pacing!

TC said...

Go for the marathon in about 3:50ish, I believe that is the best for trying to hit that magic mark of 50 miles.

Chris said...

Thanks Tim. I figured it would need to be slightly under 4:00. I'll try for 3:50, then 4:10 splits.