My Grand Canyon R3 Training Summary

To be clear with everyone, I’m a 55 year old male athlete who lives for challenges.  So the challenge of a double crossing of the Grand Canyon was right up my alley.  I’ve done crazy stuff like this my whole life, so this seemed like a perfect fit.  The big thing for me was that my daughter Nichole and her husband Felix have helped make this a reality, like anything in life when you put a date on a dream it becomes a goal.  That’s what Felix provided for me by helping me lock in a date.  This allowed me to go to work and do the needed preparation.  This post will review how I actually prepared over the last 18 months.  As I stated before,  I hope this will help those that want to do it as well.

First I had to be realistic with my schedule and what I had to do, to effectively be able to accomplish a R3.  I also want to remind you that I do have a pretty good endurance background.  So here we go!

My first four months involved running on Tuesday-Thursday and every other Saturday and every Sunday.  I did strength work on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and every other Saturday.  I made a decision early that muscle strength was going to be a major part of my program.  As an older athlete I know that strength and recovery would play a huge role in my R3 training.  I also had a secret weapon that over the last 18 months I have turned into very specialized training.  It involves pulling a weighted sled and tires of various weights.  I pulled the sled or tires 2-3 times per week, with a long pulling session every other Saturday during my first four months.  My biggest problem was that I just didn’t know what to expect from my first event, a 75k night run in September of 2013.  My training goal was to get 30-40 miles per week on the trails, with 15-30 coming on my long runs which was every other Saturday.  This seemed to be working well, but I still wasn’t sure what I would experience.  I really didn’t talk with anyone who had done such a long run.  I was pretty much flying blind on this one.  I was ok with that.  Also being in Phoenix the heat was an issue with training but I still pushed through.  The first 4 months helped me to get into a training groove and I learned a lot about what my body could do.  My short term goal was to get in just enough miles on the trails to feel as if I was making progress and to do enough strength work and sled/tire puling to overcome and prevent injuries while maintaining my strength.   During my next post I will discuss the details of how I trained and what I learned from my first ultra races on my way to my double crossing of the Grand Canyon.