There’s actually no set formulation to run 50 miles. Coaching, vitamin, and a little bit of luck are all vital, but when I might solely let you know one factor, it’s merely “thoughts over matter.” Put your head down, place one leg in entrance of the opposite, and faux the whole lot doesn’t harm. (Then repeat till you get to the tip.)

4 good mates and I as soon as ran throughout the Grand Canyon and again in a single day. This run is usually often known as the Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim (R2R2R).

We began on the South Rim, ran to the North Rim, ate a sandwich, and ran the entire thing again. In whole, 51 miles, 23,000 ft of elevation change, and numerous “holy crap” moments. So far as I’m involved, there isn’t a spot on the earth prefer it.

For a little bit background, all 5 of us are skilled distance runners. My 4 mates all raced in school and now run extremely marathons with relative frequency. Not that both of these is a necessity—I, in reality, don’t do both.

To organize we dedicated to months of coaching, ramping up mileage and climbing the largest hills we might discover. Even when it snowed we stored working within the gymnasium, joking about who might endure by means of probably the most treadmill miles.

Working R2R2R is totally different than most heinous distances. (That’s … it’s worse.) Quad-burning descents, steep, unremitting climbs and no outdoors help make it a beast of its personal. Past the primary tourist-clogged mile, the paths are largely empty, apart from a pair dozen hikers and the occasional mule practice.

That is very true in winter, when entry to the North Rim is closed as a result of snow. Throughout one stretch we didn’t see one other particular person for practically 20 miles.

If you happen to’re nonetheless studying this, I’m going to imagine that you could be be contemplating making a rash choice, and attempting to the run R2R2R your self. (Tip of the hat to you.) However, before you purchase a airplane ticket to Phoenix and lace up your sneakers, please learn this information fastidiously.

Begin Early

The primary mule trains go away the South Rim round 5 a.m. These trains take some time to get round. For that purpose alone, it’s greatest to start out as early as potential.

Additionally, until you’re blessed with the legs of a superhero, this run will take greater than 12 hours (seemingly far more). So, if you wish to end within the gentle (Spoiler Alert: You most actually do), then my recommendation is to start out early. In the summertime, beginning early helps keep away from the warmth on the backside, which frequently eclipses 100 levels Fahrenheit.

Begin Gradual

You’re going to be actually excited initially. Bottle it. In lower than Eight miles the path drops 5,000 ft to the river. I do know, I do know, working downhill is absolutely enjoyable. However working the subsequent 42 miles with aching quads won’t be. If you happen to mood this enthusiasm and hold the tempo modest, you’ll be happier in the long term.

Examine the Climate

This sounds apparent, however there may be one caveat: elevation. Each rims are above 7,000 ft (the North Rim is sort of 8,000 ft). Once we began on the South Rim, the temperature was within the mid 20s, with snow and ice on the bottom. On the North Rim there have been four miles of snow.

On the flip aspect, the underside of the canyon is commonly 25-plus levels hotter than the edges. Even on a cloudy, December day, we ran in mid 60s temps for a number of hours.

Snack Each Hour

Or much more ceaselessly, if you happen to really feel hungry. We tried to do loads of our snacks whereas strolling, to maintain us transferring ahead. That is simple with gels and blocks, and less-so with sandwiches. We estimated that we burned over 6,000 energy throughout our run and have been solely capable of eat round 2,500.

Snacks must be fairly fundamental: sugary stuff to maintain a gradual stage of vitality. Advanced meals are good for restoration, however take vitality to digest, making them much less superb to eat throughout the run.

Plan Water Refills

Throughout the winter, the park closes off lots of the taps to forestall pipes freezing. They publish real-time updates that we discovered to be fairly correct. As a result of there was just one faucet working on the 29-mile stretch from Phantom Ranch to the North Rim and again, we opted to carry a second water bladder for this lengthy journey. It meant a little bit extra weight, however properly price it to remain hydrated. I drank round 7 liters in whole.

The Proper Gear Makes All of the Distinction

Your legs will nonetheless harm and your physique will nonetheless be exhausted, however having the right tools will make it easier to mitigate blisters, bonking, chafing, and long-term soreness.

Use a well-cushioned shoe just like the HOKA One One Speedgoat 2. Make use of a mixture of snacks with carbs, electrolytes, and amino acids like GU Stroopwafels, tabs, and gels. And lube your thighs and underneath arms with Squirrel’s Nut Butter … You’ll thank me later.

Prepare for the Elevation

Give attention to hill repeats as a lot as anything, and don’t be afraid to skip a run to go to the load room. Not solely is there an enormous quantity of up/down, but it surely additionally comes at a vicious tempo. Rolling hills are one factor, climbing steadily up 5,500 ft is one other.

Leg power and muscle fatigue performed a much bigger position than cardio for us.

Emotional Altitude Is Inversely Correlated With Precise Altitude

Everybody on this journey lives at sea stage, within the Bay Space. All of us additionally work full-time. Thus, a Friday afternoon flight to Arizona and early morning Saturday begin left nearly no time for acclimatization.

Many of the results have been felt midway by means of our run, as we approached the North Rim. Belief in your crew to get you thru the lows.

Examine the Shuttle Instances

A winter R2R2R provides a number of miles to the run, as a result of parking is restricted. We left our automobile on the customer heart and jogged two miles to the South Kaibab Trailhead.

On the return journey we ran up the Bright Angel Trail, as a result of it’s a few mile longer and barely extra gradual grade. To get again to our automobile, we needed to catch a shuttle bus. In contrast to us, ensure you check the shuttle times earlier than you end your run.

All Images By Andy Cochrane.

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