Fair enough question, and I’ve wondered myself. Physically, there may not be a “best” training plan to guarantee great results, like you could with a marathon.
Strange things happen in ultra endurance distances and this challenge makes a Hard Rock, or a UTMB look quaint.
But mentally: yeah, you can get yourself pretty ready.
One way I’ve done this is the Tour 14er, which is essentially half of what I propose for the Tour of the Highest Hundred. It’s taken me about three years to feel like I’ve honestly recovered from that tour, but now that I have, I’m mentally starving – ravenous, to go at it again… but this time for much, much longer.
But still, how do you chickity-check yo self before you wreck yo self on a challenge like this?! I’ve crashed and burned before trying what I thought were much easier ultra endurance events, only to see myself pull out of the race mere hours after they’ve started. It’s a giant piece of humble pie.
So, I looked at the hardest part of the the Tour of the Highest Hundred – the part where, when I mapped everything out, I still thought, “there’s just literally no way I can do this“:
The Weminuche Throwdown
Nine mountains, almost 50 miles in length, with a, “the Hell with that” 33,000 feet of elevation gain – to keep on target to hit my 60 day (or less!) goal, I would have to complete this section in less than five days.
The math to pull this off is tight.
It became clear that I had to give myself a physical test. This week was the week of my birthday, so how about a Birthday Challenge? Something to closely match the length and elevation gain of the Weminuche..
Let’s “Everest” the local hill, Green Mountain!
And long story short (a complete writeup is in the works, as I recover!), that’s exactly what I did. In 27 hours, I gained around 31,000 feet in 56 miles by doing 13 laps up and down the local hill. See it yourself on Strava:
My optimism to do a similar feat with well over four times the clock time is now stratospheric. What first seemed impossible still seems, well: difficult, but at least seems realistic, so long as I continue to train my body intelligently.
I have about 90 days to continue sharpening my knives.
I am excited.