#DoHardThings was our theme this summer at ELITEAM and Coach Doug took that to another level on September 6th when he raced the Wasatch 100 mile endurance trail running race in Park City, UT. He credits his fast time (25 hours, 57 minutes) to both his physical and mental training.
When people hear Doug completed a 100 mile race, they are often full of questions. Below is a Q&A with Doug based on the questions he gets most often.
How did you structure your training program?
In the Winter, I did a ton of strength training and I believe that helped me a lot. In the Spring, I was able to lay down a great aerobic base. During ELITEAM in July, it was all about the burpees… thousands of them! After camp, my focus was to get as much mileage and as much vertical as possible on the trails. (The Wasatch course covers 26,000 vertical feet!) I would sandwich three long runs together over three days. For example, 18 miles, 20 miles and then 15 miles. This got me used to running on tired legs. My longest single run was 32 miles.
What’s in your drop bags at the aid stations?
My drop bags included extra clothing- shirts, socks, hats and buffs. Also extra equipment- headlamps, batteries, etc. I had lots of lube on-hand for any potential hot spots, along with a few basic medical supplies and lots of food.
What did you eat along the way?
I ate all sorts of things. Packaged food like Stinger Waffles and Clif Bars to Kelley’s homemade banana pancakes, roasted sweet potatoes and rice & chicken bowls. Oddly, I had a hankering for corn chips too. For hydration it was water and electrolytes mostly, however, at the end I did chug some Coca Cola as I needed the instant sugar. I’m not proud of the soda, but when it comes to running 100 miles, you do whatever it takes!
What was your race day mantra?
In a 100 mile race, the first 75 miles are a warm-up. The last 25 miles is when you can start to think about the finish. Lawlor, my workout buddy, agreed to be my pacer for the last 33 miles (what a friend, huh?!) so my mantra was “Save it for Lawlor”. I “cruised” the first 75 miles and then had plenty left to hammer out the final marathon in the dark and finish strong!
What does your Pacer do?
A pacer does three things:
1) reminds you, or forces you if necessary, to drink and eat every 30 minutes
2) makes sure you stay on course throughout the night- it can get confusing on the trails in the dark
3) keeps you positive throughout the tough times by talking, cheerleading or just being there in silence!
For me, Lawlor was a game-changer. He managed me well, fed my competitive spirit and really pushed me to DIG DEEP the last 6 miles!
What is it like running at night?
Running at night is really fun. All you see is the 8 foot wide circle of light directly in front of you, so you’re able to run more “in the moment” instead of seeing the miles and miles of terrain ahead that you need to run.
What was your lowest point in the race?
At one point we had an 11 mile stretch between aid stations and I had not pre-run this particular section, so I had no idea of what to expect… and surprise… it kept going UP! So, I changed my mindset to “what goes up will eventually go down, so BRING IT ON!”
What was the highlight of your race?
Hard to pick a highlight as I loved the scenery, the challenge, the aid station volunteers, and running at sunset, but coming into the finish, running at my limit with Lawlor, and hearing Kelley cheering for me in the early morning darkness just ahead was over the top incredible!
What would you do differently next time?
I ran several sections of the course in advance and found that to be extremely helpful on race day. Next time, for the sections I’m not able to run beforehand, I’ll spend more time studying the layout of those sections.
What was your goal?
My goal was 27:40:00. My actual time was 25:57:19.
It still can’t believe how well it went. Hard training and preparing mentally WORKS!
What’s your next race?
I have no idea yet! Maybe something in Europe.