Zach is an ultramarathon runner and a coach at Zach Bitter Running. Zach has held the 100-mile American record and the 12-hour world record. In this episode we talk about how a runner can make the jump to ultra distances and find out what it is like running on a track for over 400 laps.
How did you get your start in running? I am guessing your first run wasn’t an ultra? So let’s start with the really early days. Did you start running in high school, Jr. high, or where does the story begin?
What was your high school career like? What type of 5k times were you running?
So let’s start out talking about how someone can make the transition to ultra running. Let’s say there is a non-elite runner who has a run a few half marathons and a few full marathons that wants to make the jump to ultra running. What advice would you have for this runner? Should they start with shorter races like a 50 miler before they jump to a 100 miler?
So if someone is currently running 40-50 miles a week, how long should it take to build up to the longer distance training and what type of volume do you think they need to get to before they toe a starting line?
If you have someone looking to train and do their first 50-miler, what sort of long run do they need to do before you know they are ready to tackle that race?
What does a week look like for this person trying to build up for the first time?
Now if this person is spending almost a full day on their feet running, they probably need to be eating and fueling different than they ever have before. What do you recommend as far as learning to fuel for an ultra?
Where do you fall on the scale in terms of diet – are you more of a Paleo low carb guy or more higher carbs?
You mentioned 150-mile weeks. Is that kind of an average week for you?
To simulate the long races, many ultra runners will do two long runs on back to back days. Is this something you implement?
If you have two long runs that are back to back, how much time are you spending running on those two days?
So I am curious, when out running that long, do you listen to anything? Music, audiobooks, podcasts, anything like that?
So you got the 100 mile American record and 12 hour world record in my back yard running at the Desert Solstice. So just to give our listeners an idea, that is 402 laps on the track. I can imagine something like hydration, food, restrooms, medical needs all being right there are great, but at the same time you are still running 402 laps. What is that like and how do you enjoy it compared to running over hills?
What would you rather do – a trail or a track race?
Karl Meltzer is currently out there on the Appalachian Trail trying to break the record. Would you ever have any interest in anything that long?
You have a package of training plans available for sale on Final Surge. Can you give listeners an idea of what is included in those plans?
How are you using Final Surge in your coaching business?
We also talk about the Strava and Garmin connect features.
Rapid Fire… 5 questions in under 1 minute
Favorite running book? – Born to Run
Current trainers you are wearing? – Altra One 2.5
Favorite race? – World 100k
Favorite recovery meal or recovery drink? – Eggs and bacon
Your favorite piece of running equipment that is not your shoes? – Drymax Hyper Thin socks
You can follow Zach online or reach out to him if you are interested in getting coached at the following places:
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