Sarah Lavender Smith June 30, 2012 TWEET COMMENTS 4

Training For a Self-Supported Stage Race

How a stage-racing rookie is preparing for running with a pack and long miles

Photo courtesy of Sarah Lavender Smith

Training to run a multi-day ultra is one thing. Training to run a self-supported ultra over a week is something else entirely.

I’m preparing for a 168-mile, seven-day event in September, and I’m either confident or foolish enough to believe I can log enough back-to-back long runs over the next two months, toughen my mental resolve and unlock the keys to nutrition and hydration to go the distance. To date, I have run one 100K and a handful of 50-milers.

The prospect of carrying an adequate supply of food and gear, however, makes me question whether I’ll even make it through the first 50K leg. I rarely run long and hard on consecutive days, believing in tapers and recoveries. Backpacking? Not my thing. Give me a base camp from which I can depart on treks with a hand-held bottle and a few gels stuffed into tiny pockets, and I’m a happy trail runner.

So, what does it take to carry up to 20 pounds on your back while covering those miles, and what exactly do you bring along for the journey? That’s what I’m figuring out and will be sharing here to help anyone who might want to try stage racing or fastpacking.


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