Common Challenges During 100s: part one


One hundred miles is a really long way and there are a lot of things that can go wrong, in fact, in my experience, it’s pretty rare to have everything go right. I want to go over some common problems runners have and some remedies or at least some options to try to eliminate the cause of the problem.

Stomach problems:

This comes up in nearly every race I have to some degree. Nausea is typically caused by hydration and electrolyte imbalances. Here is a useful table, created by Karl King of Succeed!, that can help you determine whether it is a hydration or electrolyte issue you are having. Another possible source of stomach upset is high altitude. It’s not really the altitude, it’s the impact altitude has on your hydration and nutrition plan. If you are not accustomed to running at altitude, make sure you take small sips and eat smaller portions of food. You may also have to slow your pace to prevent making things worse.


Dizziness and Weakness:

First make sure your hydration and electrolytes are where they need to be. Second it could be the altitude, you may have to sit down for a minute, however, get down to lower altitude as quickly as you can. Finally, are you eating enough? No food means no energy.


Cramps are typically caused by electrolyte imbalances or just plain tired legs/muscles. So first, make sure your hydration and electrolytes are balanced. Next have your crew, or do it yourself, rub out your cramping muscles. I also use Icey Hot or Tiger balm.

Soreness in feet and legs:

Everyone gets sore in either (sometimes both) their legs or feet. They are getting a pounding, literally. Make sure you train for the type of course you are going to be running on.  Changing up your cadence and stride length during the race will help because it changes the way your body impacts the ground. A faster cadence and shorter stride reduces impact.

Unexpected weather

Always expect the unexpected, if you still get caught in some craziness (which happens in the mountains) get creative. I stuff a plastic garbage back in the bottom of my hydration pack. They can be life savers in wind, rain, hail, and snow. You can also keep a bandana tucked away some place, which can be used to hold ice to put around your neck. Ice under your hat can also help and ice in arm sleeves as well. I always pack for both ends of the spectrum. I put gloves/socks (can be used as gloves), a long sleeve shirt, and a short sleeve shirt in every drop bag. As frustrating as it can be, you’ll have to adjust goals as needed for the conditions.

Getting lost

It happens. It happens more than you think. Course markings get pulled down by people, animals, and weather. Even if they are there, you can miss them depending on weather, chatting with friends, and level of exhaustion. Don’t panic and flip out. Turn around and go  back until you find a course marking. There’s nothing you can do about it so don’t let any discouragement or anger set in. Just keep moving.