Archive | Ultramarathon

How to Train for Your First 50-Mile Race

Henry Howard, runnerBeyond the physical training, be sure to train your mind, lock in your nutrition and adhere to good recovery methods.

By Henry Howard

As the participation in marathon running continues to grow, the popularity of ultra marathons also is increasing.

Last year, I completed my first and second ultras, both 50Ks. As I planned out my race calendar for 2017, I set a goal to finish my first 50-miler and found the American River 50, a beautiful, well-organized race in California.

Registering for the 50-mile race on www.ultrasignup.com was the easy part. As I looked ahead to this challenge, Marathon Training Academy Coach Angie Spencer and I set out to craft a solid plan to get my body, mind, nutrition and recovery in prime shape. Continue Reading →

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Race Review: American River 50 Miler

I’ll never forget my first 50-miler, its amazing views, helpful aid station workers or the final 3-mile uphill slog.

By Henry Howard

The American River 50 proved itself to be an epic race, an ultra where mid-packers and back-of-the-packers can literally line up and run next to well-known ultra runners.

The AR50 was my first 50-miler and one I would recommend to others looking for their firsts finish at that distance. (The event also offers a 25-mile distance.) Continue Reading →

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Finding Jenn Shelton

photo credit: Jenn Shelton @sheltonjenn

She was the gifted, fearless wild child featured in “Born to Run.” Fourteen years later, Shelton still leads a “crazy life,” following her passion in pursuit of the next endurance challenge.

By Henry Howard

Jenn Shelton became well known for her appearance in Christopher McDougall’s best-selling book about ultra running, “Born to Run.”

In the years since the book was published, Shelton has matured but still embraces a Bohemian lifestyle as evidenced in the new documentary, “Outside Voices.” 


At the end of the documentary, Shelton is in her small van under a moonlight sky. She’s on her cell phone, learning Italian. It concludes, with her repeating a translation, “You do not know who I am.” Continue Reading →

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From Baseball to Ultra Running

Former major leaguer Eric Byrnes was known for his hustle and speed. Now he has transformed himself into a passionate endurance athlete.

By Henry Howard

Baseball fans who saw Eric Byrnes play recognized his exuberance for the game — chasing after line drives in the outfield, sprinting around the bases and playing with an enthusiastic abandon for the game.

“Authentic is a word that I use a lot when I talk about Eric,” said Tarah Byrnes, describing her husband, now an analyst for Major League Baseball Network. “And it can be an overwhelming concept, if you think about who Eric is. His intensity as a baseball player, his intensity as an athlete, his intensity as a broadcaster — all of those things show it’s true, it’s authentic.”

His authenticity and athleticism are on full display in a 45-minute documentary, Diamond to the Rough, which chronicles his transition to ultra running and completion of the Western States 100. Continue Reading →

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American River 50 Combines Roads, Trail for Spectacular Ultra Race


Gloria Takagishi has a long list of running accomplishments — Boston Marathon, Western States, etc. — but will always remember and treasure her first ultra marathon, the American River 50 in California.

Now 70, Takagishi has started the race every single year. In fact, she finished AR50 each of the first 30 years of its existence.

On April 1 of this year, Takagishi will again line up at the starting line in Folsom for the race that is close to her heart. Continue Reading →

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Interview with Dean Karnazes, The Road to Sparta

Dean KarnazesDean Karnazes is a New York Times Best Selling Author and was named by Time as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

His new book is called The Road to Sparta -Reliving The Ancient Battle And Epic Run That Inspired The World’s Greatest Footrace.

Here’s what I didn’t know before reading this book . . . Continue Reading →

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My Next Ultra Challenge — American River 50 Miler

Photo credit: Keith Facchino

Photo credit: Keith Facchino

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.”

I have been thinking quite a bit about that quote, attributed to Fred Devito, as I plan my racing calendar for 2017. Sure, it’s a little early, but I want to continue to challenge myself and build on my first two ultras, the Buckeye Trail 50K and the North Face 50K in Wisconsin, which I finished in 2016.

Completing my first two ultras was a goal this year. For 2017, my major goal will be to finish my first 50-miler — the American River 50 in California. Continue Reading →

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An Inspired Ultra Challenge 

img_4006My first two 50Ks, just 10 weeks apart, met a goal a year in the making and also paved the way for new challenges.

By Henry Howard

Last year, I had the opportunity to interview one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, Noah Galloway

Best known for his amazing performance on Dancing With the Stars, Galloway is a double amputee from injuries he suffered in the Iraq war. 

During our interview, Galloway told me “everyone should do something that scares them.” I decided to accept his challenge, upping my ultra ante — doing my first two 50Ks just 10 weeks apart.  Continue Reading →

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Ultrarunner Ian Sharman – What to Tell Yourself When the Going Gets Tough

img_2837In this episode we speak with Ian Sharman the winner of the 2016 Leadville Trail 100 Ultramarathon -a race he’s won three times.

In this interview you will hear Ian describe what it’s like to run 100 miles, tips on recovery and nutrition, and what to tell yourself when the going gets tough no matter what distance you are training for. Continue Reading →

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Inspired by an Ultrarunning Legend

00810-07-1489-1Eric Strand saw a 1999 marathon as a one-time thing. Now, thanks in part to Dean Karnazes, Strand has completed dozens of marathons and the Leadville 100 five times.

By Henry Howard

Eric Strand had been fascinated by long-distance running ever since Frank Shorter won the marathon gold medal in the 1972 Olympics.

Years passed and before he knew it, 39-year-old Strand had just finished graduate school and his kids were becoming self-sufficient. “I’d always wanted to run a marathon and everyone knows you can’t run 26.2 miles once you turn 40, so I signed up for the 2000 Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minn.,” he said.

That year — 1999 — he finished the “one and done” marathon. But instead of hanging up the running shoes, Strand has upped his running game to a total of 60 marathons and ultras. Continue Reading →

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With The Correct Training Anything Can Be Possible

IMG_3262Collegiate swimmer Molly Culver needed a new challenge and took up ultra running. She won her first ultra, the North Face ECS in Wisconsin, and returns this year. By Henry Howard

When work and home commitments collided with my race calendar, I had to withdraw from the Ultra Race of Champions, which would have been my second ultra.

I had been looking forward to that race. However, as I shuffled plans, my initial disappointment gave way to excitement when I realized that I could return to Wisconsin for an Endurance Challenge Series event.

As much as I am looking forward to the Wisconsin race, I am probably not looking forward to it as much as Molly Culver, who has won the 50-mile event three years in a row. Continue Reading →

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Thoughts from a First-Time Ultra Runner

Henry_BuckeyeTrail1I had no idea what lay ahead when I recently lined up at the starting line for my first ultra race, the Buckeye Trail 50K in Brecksville, Ohio.

I had completed 13 marathons previously, including one on a trail — the North Face Endurance Challenge Series in Wisconsin last year.

I knew I had trained well and had my nutrition dialed in. We got a break from the weather — the long-range forecasts of thunderstorms had given way to a nice 60-degree day start.

There was no rain in the forecast and the temperature would be in the mid-70s around my anticipated finishing time. Not bad at all for July.

Oh, about that anticipated finishing time. That was an eye-opener! Continue Reading →

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