Mary Baum

Michelob Ultra Challenge: How To Run 4 Races in 2 Days

I had one busy weekend. Need to catch up?

Yep, the Michelob Ultra Challenge is over and done! I ran 30 miles in a span of about a 30 hour time frame. I can not say enough good things about the organization, the wonderful volunteers, and the dedication of all of the Gasparilla Races! You can bet I will be back next year!

A big question I have been getting is “How do you train for 4 races in 2 days?”. Well here are a few tips if you are thinking about taking on the Michelob Ultra Challenge, or another race challenge closer to home!

1. You need to train for it!

30 miles in 2 days is no easy feat for most people. This challenge landed right in the middle of my marathon training, so it was a nice perk to have something so convenient to aid in my marathon training. Make sure to have a schedule and stick to it, so that race day(s) are not a surprise in the distance department

2. Do back to back long runs

Schedule a long(er) run on Friday, and then a nice long run on Saturday, so that you learn to run through fatigue. The longest back to back runs that I had done for the challenge was 9 on Friday, and then 14 on Sunday. If you do not know how to run through tired legs, you will be very surprised when you realize how tired you are!

3. Split up your runs

If possible on a long run day, let’s go with a 15 mile run for example – run the first 10, and then wait an hour – then run the last 5. This will be a great way to see how it feels to stop, and then start back up running again. I did not do this in my training, and I wish that I would have. My most difficult race was the 5k – without a doubt. Running the 15k a bit harder than I should have led me to bonk in the 5k. It was way harder than I ever imagined!

4. Learn how to fuel

For some reason, I did not even give a thought as to what I would eat between races. I had everything I needed during the race (my suer yummy Gu Chomps!), but never thought of what was going to power me into the 2nd race each day. On day 1, I had wayy too much to eat – a grabbed a couple smoothies and a banana, and probably took in a bit too much Gatorade in water. What did that lead to?… major cramping in the 5k! Learn your body and what it needs to stay strong!

5. Bring a change of clothes!

The first day was insanely hot, and I was drenched from head to toe with sweat, along with water I was pouring on myself in the last few miles of the 15k. Then, on day 2, I was very underdressed and froze when I finished! I ran home and did a quick outfit change, and it made a world of difference. Running in extremely sweaty clothes (or not enough clothes), is a good way to chafe and really start hurting. You surely wouldn’t want to risk chaffing really bad on Saturday, and having to run through that again on Sunday. With a new outfit comes new seams and rubbing from your clothes. Don’t forget your Body Glide or Aquaphor!! You can always check your items at the Baggage Check Station, and then re-check it for later :)

6. Have fun! 

Four races in 2 days is a lot of running. It could go amazing, terrible, or anywhere in between. Do not get down on yourself if you do not hit your most desired pace. It happens. Make sure you realize how amazing of an accomplishment it is to complete a challenge like this! Crossing the finish line that many times it hard work, and guess what… it pays off!

Now I need to start thinking of my next challenge… its addicting. Maybe I’ll have to be a little GOOFY one of these days… ;)

Any other tips for multiple day races? What did I miss?!

11 Responses

  1. Callie
    Callie March 5, 2012 at 10:09 am |

    SO impressive!!!

  2. Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter
    Tori @ In Love and Peanut Butter March 5, 2012 at 11:33 am |

    I ran the challenge too! Great tips… Fueling was tricky for sure. I brought a Cliff bar in my gear check bag to have between races. Worked perfect day one but didnt end up with enough time the second day to get all the way to gear check. Lesson learned. I would suggest bringing a SpiBelt to put your first race medal in also.

  3. Meg
    Meg March 5, 2012 at 9:20 pm |

    Wow – congrats on such an amazing accomplishment! You did amazingly well and I really enjoyed these tips. I definitely bookmarked them.

    I’ve loved following along with all the Gasparilla race recaps. My boyfriend lives right on the race route so I can’t wait to do this race next year. I wanted to do it every year I lived in Tampa but kept chickening out (this was back in college when my priorities were a little skewed). Now, I”m eyeing the Ultra Challenge for next year… to make up for lost time!

  4. Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen
    Beth @ RUNNING around my kitchen March 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm |

    Great tips! It’s hard to imagine doing, but it sounds like so much fun!

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  8. kaye
    kaye June 8, 2014 at 8:34 pm |

    I did the Walt Disney Dopey Challenge this year. It is a must try!!

    My husband and I will be doing the Gasparilla next year instead of the Dopey. Good points in dividing my long run into 2 segments .


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