There are few racing concepts that intrigue me more than the multi-day stage race, especially when it’s set in the mountains.

Stage races take place over the course of multiple days, where you have a set distance to cover during each leg of the race. For example, the three day Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race consists of 18 miles on day one, 22 miles on day two, and 20 miles on day three.

And these multi-day events are growing in popularity.

Races like the TransRockies Run, Marathon des Sables, and the Grand to Grand are moving to the top of runners’ bucket lists because they’re very different — in concept and execution.

So it came as no surprise that a few months ago I received a tweet from a Trail Talk listener asking about training for a multi-day stage race. Unfortunately I didn’t save the tweet … but the question I wrote down went like this:

About to start training for my first stage race. What tips do you have for training and racing for multiple days?

Great question, unknown person. Just one small problem …

While I’ve done several multi-day adventures, I’ve never run a stage race and don’t have firsthand experience on how to answer it. So I set the question aside.

Fast-forward to a few weeks ago and I’m interviewing ultrarunner and Exercise Physiologist Heather Hart for Next Level Runner. We’re talking strength training — not stage racing — but it occurs to me that she’d be the perfect person to answer this question.

Heather and her husband Geoffrey just competed in the TransRockies Run, a team race covering 120 miles through the Colorado Rockies over the course of six days. With big mountain trails, 20-thousand feet of gain, and several peaks over 10-thousand feet, the training for two runners living at sea level needed to be focused and well planned.

In today’s episode, Heather shares her TransRockies Run journey, and breaks down how to train for, race, and recover during a multi-day stage race.

Here’s what we talk about in today’s episode:

  • Training for multiple high-mile days with back-to-back training runs
  • How do you prepare for altitude while living at sea level?
  • Fueling a stage race, and Heather’s new favorite energy food
  • Mid-race recovery … yeah, about that
  • You got engaged on Hope Pass?!
  • The mental and emotional side of stage races

Listen to the episode here:

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Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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