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Mike Strzelecki’s 18 Tips From 32 Years on the Trails

Mike Strzelecki isn’t fast, but he’s been operating trails and ultramarathons for the higher a part of thirty years. This guy loves single monitor. He loves timed occasions. He loves street races and trail races. And he loves the heck out of the ultramarathon group.

It’s one thing to hear advice from a prime runner, nevertheless it’s additionally good to recollect to keep it actual and to take heed to somebody with a unique perspective. In this interview Mike drops advice, wisdom, and lessons that runners of all ages and skills can relate to.

Mike is 53 years previous, works and lives in Balitmore, MD, and is married with two youngsters.

Mike Strzelecki and a llama.

Under are Mike’s Eighteen Tips.

1. Operating a distance longer than a marathon is simpler than individuals assume.

It’s the soiled secret of the ultrarunning community- this stuff are very doable. You simply should slow down a bit, walk some the steeper hills, eat and drink alongside the approach, and they are extra manageable to get by means of than you possibly can ever think about. Operating an off-the-cuff path 50okay is far simpler than operating a paved marathon, for my part.

2. Operating a 100-miler is exponentially harder than most people assume.

I’m not positive what happens between the miles of 50 miles and 100 miles, but there appears to be some esoteric barrier that have to be broken that’s difficult past perception. Respect the Distance is one in every of the truest operating mantras out there. Be humble.

three. Move slowly up the distance scale from 50ks by means of 100s and past.

The 100-miler could also be the new marathon, however it must be treated with the utmost of respect. In any other case, you may really do injury to your body. Your muscle mass, your joints, your endocrine system – all of them have to be stepped up by way of the distances slowly so that they will adapt to the unbelievable stresses being placed on them. The traditional wisdom is to run three 50Ks earlier than you attempt your first 50, and three 50s earlier than you attempt your first 100. I agree with this rule. I understand numerous individuals don’t comply with this – I just assume it’s clever. You’ll be able to often bull your means by way of a 50Okay and even a 50. You want to be totally dialed in to have your greatest shot at finishing a 100, and stepping up slowing will can help you dial in appropriately your gear, your hydration, your power, your footwear, and so forth.

four. Don’t restrict your involvement in the sport and group to only operating.

Expertise the sport from a special perspective – from that as a crew member, volunteer, race director, group run chief. Get a feel for all sides of path and ultrarunning. And I am not necessarily talking about “giving back” per se. I’m talking about garnering a full understanding of the sport from every angle attainable. It is going to make it easier to gather a much higher appreciation for the sport.

5. Don’t get caught up in know-how or the newest shiny power gel or toy.

There’s nothing incorrect with holding the sport pure. There’s nothing fallacious with eating fig newtons over gels, consuming candy tea over Tailwind, utilizing Vaseline over some new-fangled expensive product. I get requested when you need path footwear to run a path race. Individuals started operating trail ultras in Chuck Taylors, sporting flannel shirts and cotton shorts. When you have a primary pair of shorts, a pair of previous ratty footwear, and a shirt – you will have a path get together.

Mike StrzeleckiMike Strzelecki

6. Don’t get in a race rut.

While it’s snug and fun to run the similar string of races yr after yr, forged your race line a bit longer now and again and attain for brand spanking new experiences. There are such a lot of trails to explore, runners to satisfy, mountain cities to overnight in.

7. Consider longer ultras (like 100s and multi-days) as actually only a collection of problem-solving events.

You’ll be able to typically get via a 50Okay, and perhaps even a 50, without addressing fast wants like blisters or rubbing packs or dehydration – simply bulling your method by way of them. Not in longer ultras. Each little niggle in an extended race might blossom right into a race-ending problem. Determine all potential issues early and tackle them immediately and proceed with the follow.

Eight. On your first ultra race, do no matter it takes to make it an satisfying experience for you.

Ending time shouldn’t be the essential parameter here; having fun is. Craft the expertise so it is one which it would be best to repeat many times. Transfer at a manageable pace, walk the hills, make new pals, cease to take an image of that blue heron, take full advantage of the assist stations, hold your pulse at a degree with the intention to chat with others. In case you are operating your first extremely appropriately, you will already be planning your second extremely before you even finish.

9. On your first 100, simply finish.

A good friend informed me he had signed up for his first 100. He advised me about his coaching and he was very well-prepared for the activity. He had a tremendous path spirit and I knew he would thrive on pushing via the robust path miles and spending long hours in the woods. He was a sensible man who knew find out how to pace and find out how to nourish and hydrate. He had younger legs with little wear-and-tear. I was positive he would finish. And then, at the finish of our conversation, earlier than departing, he added one last tidbit: “Oh, and I would love to get under 24 hours.” For my part, he just undermined a yr’s value of coaching and experience by setting this objective. In the actual race, he went out too fast, and dropped after mile 70. In your first 100, simply finish. No useless setting of time objectives. There shall be a lot of subsequent 100s for making an attempt to hit benchmarks.

Mike StrzeleckiMike Strzelecki

10. This can be the most necessary bit of advice of all: You do you, and don’t fear about anyone else, or let anyone else strain you.

Run YOUR pace. Walk as a lot as YOU choose. If you wish to stay on roads whereas your folks are pushing for you to attempt trails…stay on asphalt. The game of operating has all the time been about discovering your personal consolation zone and being your personal individual. If you wish to full your first 50 miler or 100 miler by strolling it….outstanding. Do not let anyone diminish your effort by minimalizing or trivializing what you’re doing. Google Yolanda Holder (and better but, facebook pal her). She walks 100s and she or he walks the hardest multi-day programs and she or he beats lots of the runners. She catches criticism from different rivals for not operating, however outright dismisses it, as she should. She discovered her joy, she found her tempo, and she or he found her happiness. Discover yours, regardless of tempo, terrain, or distance.

11. Help small corporations that cater to the runner and have nice one-on-one customer support.

Path operating is a nice cottage business and there are increasingly more runners shifting into the business aspect of issues. Not runners trying to maximize income, however to offer products to profit runners. Operating is considered one of the least costly actions to be involved in (assume crusing, biking, backpacking, and so forth.) and these locations are value supporting. Runners serving to runners.

12. Don’t run to impress others.

The one individual you need to be making an attempt to impress is your self. I took an 8-year hiatus from operating to boost youngsters, and acquired to view the sport from the outdoors wanting in. Individuals on the outdoors of the sport will not be as almost impressed at your accomplishments as you assume they could be. From my expertise on the outdoors, most simply assume it’s a relatively odd endeavor. Run for yourself.

13. Put the GPS away from time to time.

Run for nothing greater than joy with no regard to distance or time or tempo or heart price. Be a 12-year-old.

14. Don’t dismiss timed races.

As boring and unpopular as they MAY appear, they are truly the most social of ultras. Timed races are about sharing path with runners slower than you, quicker than you – runners you’d by no means meet in a standard trail race. You possibly can cheer for the leaders throughout the event and encourage the back-of-the-packers. You will make extra operating pals than you can ever imagine. After each timed race, my facebook pal record grows by a handful of latest runners.

15. Treat trail operating as a type of meditation.

It’s about immersing your self in the natural world and forming a relationship with the rocks and timber and sky. It’s not about “conquering” a course or kicking a race’s ass. You aren’t a warrior; you are a scholar of zen. It’s about having the honor and privilege of spending time in lovely places and understanding your home in the outdoor and appreciating and respecting the expertise.

16. Attempt journey runs.

Typically a solo run or personal challenge is prefect salve for the frustration of vying with a whole lot of different runners for path area. And the sense of accomplishment you’ll get could be unique and special. (Might get some good road cred as properly.)

Mike Strzelecki

17. Discover your personal Barkley.

I do know many people watch the new Barkley documentary and assume, “I may go and try that thing next year.” The truth is that the race isn’t only a near-impossibility to complete, it’s also a near-impossibility to get into. That doesn’t mean you can’t discover another race that may problem you to an extensive diploma, push you to your outer limit, require in you new ranges of coaching. Discover that race, enroll a yr prematurely, and cater your training to that race. There is only one Barkley, but there are scores of more-accessible races on the market that may push you to a degree virtually unfathomable. Discover your personal Barkley expertise.

18. It’s all about the human connection.

In the future, the operating will probably be gone. Your back might give out, or you’ll be spending your days prune juicing at Shady Acres Senior Residence. The miles could also be over, however the associates you made sharing these hundreds of miles over your lifetime will still be by your aspect. And in the end, your operating reminiscences will mirror the smiles and hugs of pals as much as the rocks and dirt. Cherish the connections you make on the trails and roads.

Mike Strzelecki Episode Notes

Intro/outro music by David Rosales. Find out extra here.

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