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..
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.