Antelope Canyon 50K: Training Update

Training for something ridiculous {like a 50k….or god forbid, something longer!} is an interesting experiment. When it comes up in conversation, people tend to overreact.

Why would you run that far?

Why do you want to do this?

Doesn’t that wreck your knees? {Standard, of course. But don’t worry– I CrossFit too so if anyone wants to rail on me for choosing activities that are “bad” for me, I’m sure that’s the easier choice!}

Regardless, I experienced a surprising revelation last week: I’m just not that worried about this race! Should I be worried about my lack of concern?!


For some reason, 31 miles doesn’t seem insurmountable to me anymore, or at least not like it used to. Will it be tough? Hell yes, and I’m ready for that. In fact, I’m looking forward to that miserable moment in the race when my brain tells me I’m a lunatic for my life choices. I’ve always treated mental road blocks as character builders, and I imagine this will be no different.

Having said that, it’s early. The race isn’t until the end of February so I have plenty of time to flip a switch and go into full-scale meltdown mode! At this point, I’m just trying to adjust to running more than I usually do.

So, what’ a regular training week looking like for me right now?

I’m still sticking to three runs per week. Many have expressed concern that three won’t be enough for my training, but both my brain and my body prefer it. Of course, that’s supplemented with two or three CrossFit workouts per week two. Basically, I’m attempting to train my legs to run while exhausted, and a solid 6 miler after a brutal WOD counts for that.


{Or the CrossFit workout last week? We sprinted 1.5 miles, did 150 burpees, and then sprinted another 1.5 miles. That was truly an ass kicker that did a number on my 10-miler the following day!}

More than anything, I’m trying to dial in back-to-back runs on the weekends. Sundays have traditionally been the day for my long run with a short jaunt the day prior. I figure this thing will take me anywhere from 8-11 hours, so I’m trying to eventually work up to 8-11 hours of running between my two weekend runs. Of course, that’s a ways out at this point!


I’m also fidding with my nutrition. I altered my diet this summer due to asthma-related issues, and these days, I’m largely eating whole feeds with an emphasis on eliminating processed stuff. Sadly, this includes a lot of running fuel. At this point, my fave trail snacks include Honey Stinger Waffles, Lara bars and Martha Bars. I’m sure I’ll chat about that later too, but it’s what I’m dealing with at the moment.

For now, I’m focused on the Moab Trail Half Marathon this Saturday. A dozen friends are running it too and for most of them, it’ll be their first half marathon AND their first trail race! The course looks like fun, so I’m just excited to get out and run through the desert. We’ll see how I feel afterwards and take my training from there!




  • Reply Kovas - Midwest Multisport Life at

    Sounds like a balanced plan. I’m reading “Unbreakable Runner,” based on the CrossFit Endurance principles, seems like the training plan might be a good fit for you.

    • Reply heather at

      I’ll have to check it out! I read a ultra-geared book recently that was applauded in the reviews, but I thought it was absurdly silly. Hopefully I’ll like this one better!

  • Reply Logan at

    I loved Larabars for long run fuel. I also really dig nut butters, like Justins. The extra fat/protein in it helped me more than any of the sugary stuff.

    I think the long run/B2B runs is really the most important part, so if you nail those on the weekends, you’re going to be just fine! Cross Fit sounds like it will make you stronger and help you train on tired legs, like you said, which is only a plus!

    • Reply heather at

      That’s a good call– I love Justin’s little packets and the fats would be perfect. Gracias!

  • Reply Christy@ My Dirt Road Anthem at

    150 burpees and then another 1.5 mile sprint? I would have cried a little I think.

    I think your plan sounds good, but then again I don’t go over 14 miles usually 🙂

    • Reply heather at

      Yeah, it was fairly miserable 🙂 The run was great but those freaking burpees were a nightmare. My hamstrings were screaming the next day!

  • Reply Laraine Wyn-Jones at

    Sounds like your training is going really well! I signed up to my first ultra, a 38 miler on 1st March 2015 and like you, I’m feeling pretty relaxed about it. Unlike you though, I haven’t yet started my run training… I know how to marathon train but since ultras are (apparently) all about going slow and walking lots, I’m confused about how to train. I s’pose just getting off my arse and running would be a good start!
    Good luck with your training, looking forward to reading about how it all goes.

    • Reply heather at

      38 miles?! Yowza!!! That’s awesome! It’s on my birthday too, so I’l remember it:)

  • Reply lynne at

    I HATE THE ‘running will ruin your knees’ LINE! ARGH!!! 🙂

    • Reply heather at

      Ugh. Between “running will ruin your knees” and “CrossFit gets you injured”, I’m pretty over them all! 🙂

  • Reply Alyssa at

    The back to back weekend long runs are really the key IMO. I think your plan of trying to run as long as the race will take is quite wise. No way is it taking you 10-11 hours though! Give yourself more credit! Good luck this weekend or good job if it’s already done, sorry too tired to scroll up and see the date!

    • Reply heather at

      Haha the 50k? That’s not til February, but the Moab half is this Saturday!

  • Reply Heidi @BananaBuzzbomb at

    This totally made me giggle because I planned to write an update this week too….and it will essentially mirror all that you just said =) So glad we’re doing this together!

    • Reply heather at

      Hooray! That must mean we’re on the right track 😉

  • Reply Lynn at

    I’m excited to hear more about your diet changes due to asthma. My asthma got so much worse than it’s been in years this summer. I know some of it’s due to all the smoke (arrrghhh), but I would love to see what dietary changes have helped you!

    • Reply heather at

      I’ll definitely put it together at some point! I’m still figuring some stuff out and may try to do some pre and post- bloodwork to use some science to back up my thoughts 🙂

  • Reply Kayla @ kpLOVINGit at

    Now that our weather is below 90, I’m both excited and terrified to get back into running!!!! So glad your enjoying the trails……wish we could transplant a few to my neck of the country.

    • Reply heather at

      I wish you could run with me all the time! Are you feeling back to running yet?

  • Reply Sarah C at

    Awesome. I love reading about ultra running.

    I have a question/request: I see that you’re wearing a hydration vest there, and I’d love to get your thoughts on them. How did you pick which one, how does it fit/feel, and, uh, well, how does it feel over/around “the girls”? See, all the reviews of hydration packs I see (like on are modeled and reviewed by women with the “boyish” frames typical of elite ultra runners. I, on the other hand, am a 34D. None of these vests seem to be aimed at ladies with my shape (understandingly, since most busty ladies aren’t elite ultra runners), and I cannot understand how the straps are supposed to fit me (seriously, all the images I’ve seen on irunfar show women with the straps buckled just exactly where I have lumps and they don’t – doesn’t seem really very comfy to me). I don’t know why I worry about this – my pack has chest straps, but somehow the idea of running long distances with straps right over the girls seems more worrisome than hiking (and my pack straps ride high – the images of hydration vests I’ve seen really show the straps right on top of the breasts).

    • Reply heather at

      You know, this is SO funny because I was just talking with a PR rep about hydration packs– I may be doing a comparison of a few in a future post! The one shown here is the Osprey Rev series and I’m a big fan. It sits perfectly, doesn’t bounce, has a handy flip screen for your phone, and a magnetic bite valve which is totally unnecessary but I love. I reviewed it on Trek Tech here:

      • Reply Sarah C at

        Thanks! Maybe if you get a chance to talk to the reps in the future you could mention busty gals! 🙂

        • Reply heather at

          Ha will do! 🙂

  • Reply Antelope Canyon 50K: Training Update at

    […]  But really, I’m just stoked. Not to mention, after discussing with Heather and reading her  50K training update it’s pretty clear we’re on the same page.  I really couldn’t ask for a better […]

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