An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 1
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An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 1

An Athlete’s Perspective – Issue 1

An Athlete’s Perspective is a blog series of event and/or training experiences written firsthand by the athlete themselves. An Athlete’s Perspective is a completely unscripted and raw look into the mind and daily life of an athlete as they prepare for their next race. Readers will discover training regimens, eating tips, gear recommendations, and an uncut perspective into the lives of people like you and me.

All Aboard the Heat Train!  

A pre-2016 Western States 100 Endurance Run Primer

by: Paul Terranova

God willing, June 25, 2016, will mark my fifth consecutive trip to traverse the Western States trail from Squaw Valley, CA, to Auburn, CA.  Coming almost exactly halfway through the year, States puts an indelible exclamation point for me on the last four months of training and racing since notching a second consecutive USATF 100-mile trail national championship in early February at Rocky Raccoon 100 in Huntsville, TX. Following 3-hour marathon pacing duties at the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon a week after Rocky and a couple of well-earned weeks off, including a long weekend trip to Ft. Myers, FL, to visit my snow-birding parents, this spring and summer have been a flurry of productive training and racing, all in preparation for June 25th!  Here’s a quick, chronological recap before diving into specifics of the immediate task at hand:

Terranova competing in the Rogue Trail Series.

Terranova competing in the Rogue Trail Series.

  • Week 18:  Spectrum Trail Blazer Half Marathon
  • Week 16:  Marin Ultra Challenge 50-miler
  • Week 14:  The “Monster” workout
  • Week 12:  Lake Sonoma 50-miler
  • Week 11:  Run for Your Life 5K (an on-road/off-road 5K)
  • Week 10:  Rogue Running Tangle 30K
  • Week 9:    Travis Country 5K (yes, another road 5K)
  • Week 8:    Tejas Trails Paleface Half Marathon
  • Week 7:    Quicksilver 100K
  • Week 6:    Rogue Running Ranch 30K
  • Week 5:    WS training camp
  • Week 4:    Kayak for Meredith’s 12.5-mile swim around Key West


With less than two weeks to go, here are the items I’m focused on; all while still trying to be a good person, supportive spouse, and selfless coworker:

  • Tweak last year’s pacing/fueling plan, pack accordingly. Check, recheck, and triple check it. Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it. Review thoroughly with crew and pacers.
    Terranova - 2016 Quicksilver 100K in San Jose, CA.

    Terranova – 2016 Quicksilver 100K in San Jose, CA.

  • Keep the training frequency and intensity the same. Start dialing down the duration of workouts, particularly weekend long runs. Save this energy NOW, so you can take it with you as a carry-on to Reno/Squaw Valley later.
  • Heat train. Extra layers, sauna sessions, afternoon runs, you name it. Basically the more miserable the better. Yes, I’m “that guy” running/riding around outside in tights, long sleeves, and a beanie, even indoors at the Pure Austin gym.
  • Making good choices. Continue eating right, stay properly hydrated especially when heat training.
  • Heat train. (see above)
  • Take naps even more frequently than normal.  “Normal” for me is once during the week and once or twice on the weekends.  Last week, for example, I got in two naps during the week and two on the weekend. My everyday sleeping schedule typically stays the same as the frequency of workouts is unchanged, and I prefer to keep the routine going.
  • Pre-race massage!  Mine will be 9-10 days out. Also get any niggles checked out and worked on by your trusted chiropractor and/or physical therapist.  My long-time go-to is Dr. Zelinski at Little River Little River Chiropractic & Rehabilitation.
  • Heat train. (see above)
  • Check travel and lodging arrangements for you, your crew, and pacers. FORTUNATELY, my amazing wife Meredith practically quadruple minored in hospitality and tourism (in addition to majoring in Nutrition) so she has this covered for us!
    • This year we’re getting to Squaw one day earlier than in the past as the Patagonia-Reno Outlet is hosting a “What it Takes: Western States 100 Panel Discussion” on Wednesday, June 22, at 6:30 p.m. complete with pizza and beer. Come check it out!
    • Hoka One One demo runs are also scheduled at Alpenglow Sports in Tahoe City on Monday, June 20, and Thursday, June 23.
  • Field, schedule, and prepare for media request/interviews. HUGE thanks to Samantha Wishner for her post-Quicksilver/pre-WS piece, to Eric Schranz and Sarah Lavender-Smith for the upcoming interview, and to William Dyson at High Five Events for publishing this piece.
  • Stay healthy! Wash your hands more than you normally do, clean your phones, door knobs/handles, steering wheel, etc. Now is NOT the time to get get sick. That being said, if you do get sick, just treat it like a forced taper, power down, and ride it out. I like to think of it as our body’s way of getting ready for race day.
  • Shoe & sock selection. For sure a brand new pair of Hoka Claytons and Drymax Team RWB edition socks will take me from Foresthill mile 62 to the finish-line. Whether Claytons or Challenger ATR-2s will be on my feet for the first 62 miles remains to be seen – game time decision!
    Terranova - 2014 Squamish50.

    Terranova – 2014 Squamish50.

  • Take care of your feet and toes. Nails trimmed and filed, callouses lightly sanded, moisturize as needed to avoid cracking. Be extra careful walking around at night – no stubbed toes please!
  • Show gratitude. Be thankful and appreciate the blessings in your life and the opportunity to join the ~369 other runners on this great trail!
  • Stay calm and heat train. (see above).
  • Fantasize about post-race meals and adult (and non-adult) beverages. Our great sport of trail running is largely about delayed gratification. Food and drink can be an amazing motivator.
  • Headlamps. Depending on how much night running you and your pacer plan on doing, now is the time to charge ’em up or install fresh batteries. Have a backup and a backup for the backup. And another backup light in a drop bag.
  • Pre-race Dairy Queen Blizzard. Cotton candy is the BOM (blizzard of the month). Make mine a mini and add Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups! After that it’s pre-race burgers, pizza, and then chicken & sweet potatoes, YUM!
  • Expect the unexpected. Something WILL come up or not go as planned. Just deal with it and move on.
  • Memorize, or re-memorize, the course and mile/time splits to each aid station. Have a range of times in mind for you and your crew. Remember: a plan is a basis for change. And heat train.


Thank you for letting me share some thoughts in this 2016 lead up to Statesmas. All in all, I’m once again incredibly blessed and fortunate to be happy, healthy, and in great spirits. Meredith and I are so eager to see what the second half of 2016 has to offer!!!  HUGE thanks to all my sponsors and supporters for helping make these journeys possible.  Mahalo for reading.

– Paul

“You have to work hardest for the things you love most.  And when it’s running you love, you’re in for the fight of your life.” – quote adapted from Carol S. Dweck

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