Training Tips for the Bishop High Sierra Ultramarathons

The High Sierra Ultramarathons are special to Bishop, our small ultramarathon community, and to Northern Inyo hospital, that typically receives $10,000 annually from the fundraiser.  Bishop benefits from hotel rooms filling up, restaurants being full, and shopping taking place from all the out-of-town racers.  The ultramarathon community gathers together by marking the course and stuffing race bags while drinking beer before race day.  Many racers were introduced to the sport of ultrarunning through this race, and more than a few folks have retired here after running this course.  It is the core of the ultramarathon community in Bishop. Unfortunately, 2013 might be the last year for the Bishop High Sierra Ultramarathons.  Someone recently told me that Marie Boyd, the race director, said she feels like she is planning a wedding every year, and 2013 is her last.  If you want to run this race, this is the year to do it; otherwise, it is entirely possible the opportunity will not come back. 

I asked a few seasoned BHS runners for advice for newbie runners and/or seasoned ultra-runners who are interested in giving this race a go.  Their advice ranges from racing tactics to course specific tips all which are beneficial.    

The four races 20 mile, 50k, 50 mile, and 100k are all different, but share the same long uphill at the beginning and downhill at the end.  The hills were a common thread in all the training advice.

Uphill towards McGee Creek
Heading up from the CDF aid station (5.8 miles)

Exposure to sun, heat, and altitude are environmental factors seasoned runners mentioned as something to definitely prepare for.

Coming and Going - Tungsten Hill section of the 100k, sundown
There is a lot of exposure. Tungsten Hill section of the 100k.  

The BHS Ultramarathons have well-stocked aid stations, however, experts recommend carrying at least a water bottle, and having their running gear dialed.  Here are some tips on how to strategize for the race.

Buttermilk Road Aid Station with the Desert Divas.
Buttermilk Road Aid Station with the Desert Divas.

Jeff Kozak (holds the 50 mile course record) offered general training and racing advice.

Training should incorporate these principles:
Jeff Kozak and Ryan Spaulding at race the race start

Lastly, Ryan Spaulding (2011- 50 mile winner) offered visualization techniques to help with racing, and in my opinion, life . . .

Thank you to the seasoned Bishop High Sierra Ultramarathon runners, Marie Boyd (race director), Jeff Kozak, Phill Kiddoo, Linda Emerson, and Ryan Spaulding for offering up some training tips. Hopefully, we will see you at packet pick-up at Sage to Summit!