Episode 188 – Zach Bitter 100-mile Treadmill WR Special

Episode 188 – A Zach Bitter special all about his 100-mile treadmill world record (tbc) established on May 16 2020.
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ZACH BITTER SPECIAL

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ZACH BITTER 100 Mile World Record Attempt, May 16

Zach Bitter is no stranger to tough endurance challenges. He currently is the World Record holder for 100-miles on a track, setting an incredible time of 11-hours, 19-minutes and 13-seconds.

On May 16th starting at 0700 (PST) he will take on the challenge of setting a new treadmill world record, the time to beat 12-hours 32-minutes set by Dave Proctor.

The whole event will be streamed live via YouTube broken down in 2-hour slots. I (ian Corless) will host the first slot followed by Jamil Coury, Dean Karnazes and Dave Scott, Fight for the Forgotten, Erik Schranz and finally, Zach’s wife, Nicole Bitter.

Throughout the day, the hosts will be joined by a plethora of guests as the whole world record attempt will be discussed live.

GO HERE FOR THE LIVE FEED

Zach Pre-Event Q&A

What was your A-Race plans in 2020?

I had planned on peaking for a track 100-mile race in London in April, called the Centurion 100. World 100km Championships was slated for September in Winschoten Netherlands, which was likely going to be a focal part of my early Fall. Beyond that, I had planned on doing some local events near Phoenix through Aravaipa who puts on over 30 events per year and are a blast to jump into. 

Why do you like running 100milers on track?

I really like the comparability. If I do a 100-mile race on a track, it is easier to tease out improvements, mistakes, etc… from one event to the next. I also really like the process of finding out how fast I can run 100 miles when there as few hurdles in the way. I love the trails too, but they just tend to be more varied.

What is it that you like or intrigues you about running on a treadmill – and going after treadmill 100mile WR?

I big part is simply that with all events being cancelled, it gives me the opportunity to test my fitness and my most recent training cycle. I have been running ultra-marathons for almost ten years now, so hoping on a treadmill for a significantly longer time than I have spent on one (30 miles is the furthest I have gone to date) has enough uncertainty that it makes it exciting, but is close enough to my strengths that I feel I can put together a solid performance if things go well.

What’s your approach to mentally handling 12hours running – on a track, and now on a treadmill? 

I usually focus on three main things. First, I like to pick small benchmarks to focus on throughout the day, so you do not burn too much mental energy thinking about running 100 miles or 12 hours all day long. Second, I like to visualize in my race specific long sessions where I would be on race/event day, so for my longer sessions on the treadmill I pretend I am that far from finishing and visualize what it will be like on race/event day. Third, I like to rotate distractions like listening to music, or picking a short distance to target and visualize where I would be on one of my favorite running routes at home. 

What been your mileage – to build up a base into this WR attempt?

I have been consistently hitting up to 120 miles per week the last month. A lot of it being at aerobic threshold or just below, with a few bouts of lactic threshold work, and few long runs at goal 12-hour intensity.

What has your taper been like for this WR attempt?

Pretty typical to what I normally do. I usually taper for about two weeks. I drop volume and intensity a bit and give myself more time between any key sessions.

Can you tell us about your fueling philosophy in training/living and racing – in terms of carbs/fats etc.? 

I follow a HFLC diet. It is not a strict keto diet or zero carb approach, although I will tease those ranges during offseason or recovery blocks. The races I do are quite long, so be default lower in intensity. The fueling variable and potential digestion issues that come with it makes it easier for me to follow a lower carb approach. On race day, I will switch from using SFuels Train/Life to SFuels Race+. Essentially, my fueling goal on race day is designed to defend muscle glycogen with exogenous carbs just enough to have gas in the tank at the end.

What are the big learnings in performance, recovery, training consistency with a low-carb high fat approach to training and racing?

For me personally, I find it to be more consistent. I find it easier to count on quality sleep, and even levels of energy. This no doubt adds to consistency in training. I couldn’t explain why, but I also notice that I have better range of motion following big efforts in training and racing.

At what points in the year would you go Ketogenic, vs. lower-carb/higher fat?

Usually, it is most common during the less structured portions of my year. When I finish a big race and have carved out a couple weeks to focus primarily on recovery and do not have any specific workouts on the schedule is a common spot for me. Off season time as well. When I do my biggest training blocks, I almost always have de-load weeks built into the program, which sometimes reduce volume and intensity by as much as 50 percent. These weeks are another spot where I am usually more inclined to steer closer to strict keto.

Tell us about your race fueling in terms of calories you will be taking on each hour?

For races that I am targeting my training around, I will typically aim for approximately 40 grams of carbohydrate per hour. My experience has been that 40 grams an hour provides me enough exogenous carbohydrate to defend glycogen, but not so much that it results in stomach/digestive issues.

What will a good day look like on May 16 – for you?  in terms of feeling in the first 30miles, the middle of the race and the last 30 miles?

There will be a lot of uncertainty for this event. It is a bit harder to predict things that I have not done before, and I try to respect the unknown. Since I have not run past 30 miles on a treadmill, there will likely be some on the fly adjustments being made, but this is what makes this adventure exciting to me. Ultimately, my number one goal is to give folks a sense of community during these isolated times and bring awareness to Fight For The Forgotten. Normally, for a 100-mile event, I would describe a good day as consistent with a strong finish, so likely tight splits with not too much variance from one mile to the next. For this event, I think there may be some benefit from skewing my pacing throughout the event to change up mechanics and give myself more of a variety of targets throughout the day. This type of strategy might be helpful in breaking up the day into smaller segments. With that said, I would like to get to 100 miles before the clock hits 12-hours, however that plays out. Regardless of the pacing strategy, a good day will likely have me feel fresh at 30-miles, a bit worn but focused at 60-70 miles, similar to how I would feel for a long run at the back end of a big training week, and driven to push on tired legs for the final 30 miles.

What is your sense on what it will take to set a new World Record – in terms of race pace through the race?

Dave Proctor’s current 100-mile treadmill world record is approximately 7:30 per mile, so it will take at least that. I am relatively fresh from a racing standpoint and my fitness is on par with similar build ups I have done in the past when running under 12-hours for 100 miles. You never know with 100 miles though. Anything can happen and some hurdles will likely happen, so all you can really do is show up ready, trust the process, and see what the day provides.

The event is sponsored by:

SFUELS, NORDICTRACK, ALTRA, BUFF, COROS and PURPOSE.

TUNE IN ON MAY 16 HERE

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Is VIRTUAL here to stay?

Virtual running is not new.  

Virtual sport is not new.

But today, as the world is gripped in lockdown, virtual running is taking off like never before. 

Runner’s World, way back in 2015 asked the question, ‘Are Virtual Runs the Future of Racing?’ In an article by Alison Wade.

‘Virtual Racing is not a new concept. Postal races—in which competitors mail in their times to be compared with others—began decades ago. But advances in technology have improved runnersexperience of events from their own treadmills, and as the sport has grown, so has interest in this alternate way of racing.’

The joy of virtual is quite simple, you participate wherever you can, when you can and in many scenarios, in any capacity. It shows us that our need to belong, to be part of something is very strong, even if we are doing the sport alone and virtually.

‘Remote entrants received a downloadable bib, finishers certificate, and the races official swag…’

Some races reach capacity, London Marathon would be a good example. Virtual can allow someone to run a route at the same time as an official race on a virtual course using an app that simulates the course.

To be honest, many of us now have some form of tracking device, be that a watch, phone or additional gadget. Many subscribe to an app on their phone, be that on Android or Mac that allows us daily to update a training session. Strava being an obvious one but so many others exist.

Technology used to be something that was feared, but now it is embraced. 

Regina Jackson of ‘Will Run for Bling’ created in 2013, said to Alison Wade, ‘Many of those who run our races have busy lives and are attracted to the fact that they have nine days to complete each race. Others are drawn in by the fact that they can break up the run into shorter segments and still get credit for completing the race.’

But times are changing…

As races throughout the world are being cancelled or postponed, race directors have been looking for opportunities to retain their market, inspire the audience and still provide engagement. Equally, runners or sports people who desire an event and community have pursued alternatives. Interaction, that sense of belonging and the need to participate a driving force.

So, the transition has been seamless, and, in some scenarios, it has exploded to a level that one would have struggled to comprehend just 4-months ago.

A prime example being the recently started (May 1st) ‘The Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1000km’which allows participants to travel across Tennessee (virtually) from may 1st to August 31st. Quite simply, you have 4-months to cover the distance by any means and daily you upload your distance (even if it is a zero) and via an interactive map, your dot is moved along the route.

The above is brought to us by Gary Cantrell aka Lazarus Lake of the famous Barkley Marathons and Bigs Backyard Ultra. Now, Laz is like the Pied Piper, people love him and love his crazy ideas. However, I don’t think even he could have anticipated that a 1000km virtual run would explode like it has. As they say on the sign-up page, ‘To complete, the race will require only a hair over 5 miles per day…  and those who want a little extra on their plate, you can do the out and back version – 2,000 kilometers!

The numbers are phenomenal, $60 entry fee and currently over 17,569 participants. There is a charity element too for ‘Feeding America/ Tennessee’ – the donation page is showing a current revenue of $96,533. And now, there is even a ‘Doggie Run Across TN for Animal Shelters’ with a sign up of $30.

Depending on viewpoint, for now, virtual races and challenges are filling a gap that many of us are missing as we are forced to social distance and lockdown. As restrictions ease, and life starts to return to some normality, I can’t help but think an element of virtual will exist at a greater level than before January 2020.

As one runner has told me, ‘I race for the atmosphere, being around hundreds with a similar passion and then testing myself at the same time and on the same course as everyone else. I like the meet up before and the post-run gathering. It’s more than running, it is community. So, racing is really important for me and many others. However, the virtual world has opened my eyes to a new way of training. I love the fact that maybe I can run across Tennessee in 4-months and the great thing is, should I get an opportunity to race, I can use that mileage too for the virtual challenge.’

One thing is for sure, in the ultra-running world, a challenge is a challenge, be that real or virtual. Recent months and weeks have shown us that imagination is the only limiting factor.

In Spain, friends Kilian Jornet, Pau Capell and Tofol Castanyer created an indoor challenge. Fueled by the lockdown that did not allow them to run outside, with the help of Albert Jorquera, Jordi Saragossa and Maria Fainé, they created ‘YoCorroEnCasa’ translated to IRunAtHome. With just a week of planning, they brought over 7400 people together, all running ‘in the home’ and in the process they raised €82,940 for charity – they did not take a euro. I followed their example and did the same in the UK on April 18th with IRunAtHome raising £20,000 for charity.

Taking inspiration from Lazarus Lake, Dave Proctor (who holds the 100-mile treadmill world record) took the ‘Backyard Ultra’ format and made it into a virtual event using technology such as Zoom and YouTube to bring runners together, from all over the world, to run 4.1667 miles every hour, on the hour. Over 2000 signed up. The challenge was to see who would be, the last man or woman standing in the ‘Quarantine Backyard Ultra.’ After 2+ days, ultra-running legend, Michael Wardian emerged victorious with 262.5-miles beating Radek Brunner. Notably, Michael ran outdoors using a loop of road around his house, whereas Radek ran on a treadmill. 

Listen to a podcast interview with Michael Wardian HERE

 Salomon runner, Ryan Sandes was locked down in South Africa, but that did not stop him. Taking on a personal challenge, he ran 100-miles in and around his house is 26-hours and 27-minutes. Article here.

And on May 16th, 100-mile world record holder, Zach Bitter, will look to set the 100-mile WR on a treadmill with a virtual run that will be streamed live for the full duration of approximately 12-hours. He encourages people to join him on their own treadmills and experience the journey.

 Racing will return. The trails (and even roads), the scenery, the landscape, the mountains and fresh air will bring us back to start lines. The need to share a journey and experience, to test one’s self in real time is something that is primal. The need for physical interaction, before, during and after a race is something, we all need. 

It’s unclear when virtual racing made the leap online to a mass audience. Some race directors say it evolved from runners requests many years ago to participate in physical races from afar. Regardless of the original origin, this year, virtual racing has exploded in popularity.

Virtual is here to stay and no doubt, at a far greater level than when this year began.

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References: Active.com here Runners World here New York Times here The Washington Post here

Episode 180 – Christmas Show with Speedgoat Karl, Zach Bitter and Beth Pascall

Episode 180 of Talk Ultra brings you our Christmas Show and three in-depth chats with Speedgoat Karl all about 100’s. Setting a 100-mile WR with Zach Bitter and an incredible 2019 with Beth Pascall.
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00:01:28 SPEEDGOAT KARL talks about winning 42 100-mile races.
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01:14:00 ZACH BITTER discusses his amazing 100-mile world record.
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02:14:00 BETH PASCALL talk about her amazing 2019 running Western States, UTMB and victory at Ultra Trail Capetown.
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Watch ‘WRATH‘ featuring Damian Hall and Beth Pascall HERE
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Importantly, go to iTunes and subscribe so that you automatically get our show when it’s released we are also available on Stitcher for iOS, Android and Web Player and now Tunein.
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Please support Talk Ultra by becoming a Patron at www.patreon.com/talkultra and THANKS to all our Patrons who support us. Rand Haley and Simon Darmody get a mention on the show here for ‘Becoming 100k Runners’ with a high-tier Patronage.
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Episode 51 – Bitter, Yates, Frost, Catmur

Episode 51 of Talk Ultra ©iancorless.com

Merry Christmas! Episode 51 of Talk Ultra is our longest show yet… yes, 4hours and 30mins of ultra chat to help you survive the Christmas period and New Year. We speak with the new 100-mile and 12-hour record holder (on a track) Zach Bitter. We have a full and in-depth interview with female ultra runner of the year (?) Michele Yates. Anna Frost provides an insightful interview on a troubled 2013 and finally we catch up with Ed Catmur who has been setting the pace on the UK ultra scene. It’s a full show! Speedgoat and Ian review the year, we have possibly the best Talk Training of 2013 with Marc Laithewaite and we catch up with Amanda in a Year in the Life of! A big thank you for all the amazing support and downloads in 2013 and we thank you in advance for your support in 2014.

Interview – Anna Frost
 
NEWS
 
The 240km Coast 2 Kosciusko r!
 
1st Ewan Horsburgh 25:56:00
2nd Ian Gallagher 26:34:00
3rd Mathieu Dore 27:21:15
 
1st Jess Baker 30:04:27
2nd Sabina Hamaty 32:25:20
3rd Sharon Scholz 33:02:03
 
Johan Vd Merwe Johan this weekend broke the SA 24-hour record. He was the first to thank God and his wife Corine, for “without them, he just wouldn’t be able to break the 60-year old record set by Wally Hayward in 1953” – 258km
 
Barcelona 24, 12 and 6 hour results:
 
6 HOUR RACE RESULT:
1st Jyrki Kukko 82.775 km
2nd David Sanmiguel Cervera 73.006 km
3rd Jose Mauel Riesgo Fernández 66.361km
 
Rebecca Cox first Brit, 6th overall 60.093 km
 
12h HOUR RACE RESULT:
1st Olivier Foissac 136.56 km
2nd Steven Sleuyter 125.62 km
3rd Irina Batyreva 19.93 km
 
24 HOUR RACE RESULT:
1st Pedro Sena Lopez 230.701 km
2nd Dario Sanmiguel Cervera 225.818 km
3rd Jen Salter (GB) 217.753 km
 
Karen Hathaway 8th
Mark Woolley 19th
Andrew Saville 23rd
 
Zach Bitter just run 11:59:15 for 101.66 miles (163.6km) at the Desert Solstice by Aravaipa Running – 100 miles in 11:47:21 http://www.aravaiparunning.com/desert-solstice/
 
Pam Smith sets a World Record 14:11:26
 
Review of 2013
Races:
Transvulcania
TNF50
WSER
Skyrunning
Zegama
Grand Slam
Mont Blanc
Raid de la reunion
 
People:
Rob Krar – Rim-to-Rim, WSER, UROC and TNF50
 
Michele Yates – RRR, UROC and TNF50 one of the highlights of 2013 and without a star… I caught up with Michele and we discussed her running, her history and did you know, she was Miss Figure Colorado in 2008? – http://www.dreamliverun.com/index.html
 
Jon Olson – 100m record – at least for a short while
Zach Bitter – 100m record
Timmy Olson – WSER repeat win
Sharman and Clark – The Grand Slam
Rory Bosio – UTMB
Seb Chaigneau – Hardrock and Transgrancanaria
Pam Smith – WSER and 100m record
Kilian Jornet – everything! But maybe the Matterhorn record a highlight?
Emelie Forsberg – everything!
Stevie Kremer – everything!
Nickademus Hollon – Barkley and Tor des Geants
Sage Canaday
Zach Miller
 
Read the Highlights of 2013 HERE
 
A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF – Amanda Hyatt
 
Looking ahead to 2014:
 
Skyrunning USA and UK, Australia, South Africa… growth continues
UTWT
Hardrock 100 
Any other anticipated excitement?
 
INTERVIEW
 
Ed Catmur
 
 
TALK TRAINING – Do’s and Don’ts at Christmas Parties with Marc Laithwaite
 
INTERVIEW
 
 
 
MELTZER MOMENT
GOOD 
BAD 
UGLY 
 
RACES
 
Australia
New South Wales
Narrabeen All Nighter 100 km | 100 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
 
Chile
Ultramaratón Licanray – Villarrica | 70 kilometers | January 05, 2014 | website
 
Germany
Bavaria
Chiemsee-Ultramarathon Dezember | 108 kilometers | December 30, 2013 | website
Lower Saxony
6. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 100 KM | 100 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
6. Lauf PSV Winterlaufserie 50 KM | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
 
Netherlands
Limburg
SMU-Loop | 58 kilometers | December 28, 2013 | website
 
South Africa
Festival of Running 100 Mile Race | 100 miles | December 31, 2013 | website
 
Tunisia
Evasion Trail à Tataouine | 60 kilometers | December 29, 2013 | website
 
USA
Alabama
Recover from the Holidays | 50 kilometers | December 31, 2013 | website
Florida
Croom Zoom 100 Km Run | 100 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Croom Zoom 50 Km Run | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Indiana
HUFF 50K Trail Run | 50 kilometers | December 28, 2013 | website
Maryland
PHUNT 50K | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Michigan
Yankee Winter Trail 50K | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
New Jersey
Watchung Winter Ultras Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
North Carolina
Neusiok Trail 100K | 100 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Neusiok Trail 43 Miles | 43 miles | January 04, 2014 | website
Salem Lake Shore Frosty Fifty | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
South Carolina
Harbison 50K | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Tennessee
Pistol Ultra Run – 100K | 100 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Pistol Ultra Run – 100 Mile | 100 miles | January 04, 2014 | website
Pistol Ultra Run – 50K | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Virginia
Boyers Furnace | 40 miles | December 28, 2013 | website
Redeye 50 km | 50 kilometers | January 01, 2014 | website
Washington
First Call 50K | 50 kilometers | January 01, 2014 | website
West Virginia
Frozen Sasquatch Trail 50k | 50 kilometers | January 04, 2014 | website
Wisconsin
Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 150 Mile Run | 150 miles | December 27, 2013 | website
Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 35 Mile Run | 35 miles | December 28, 2013 | website
Tuscobia Winter Ultramarathon 75 Mile Run | 75 miles | December 28, 2013 | website
 
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