There are runners, and then there are runners. And Rachel R., a 33-year-old personal trainer and group fitness instructor in Los Angeles, CA, is definitely in the latter category. She doesn’t stop at marathons (26.2 miles), 50k courses (31 miles), or even 50-mile races—she heads out and completes 100-milers.
It was last year on her way to her first 100-mile race, the Santa Barbara 100, when Rachel had a “what am I going to do” moment. “I was just sitting there in the car while we were driving and I discovered that I’d left my usual GPS tracker at home on the charger,” she says. “Without it I wouldn’t be able to tell what time it was, how far I’d gone, my pace, or when the next aid station was going to appear. When you’re running by yourself in the middle of the night on a notoriously tough course, that’s really good information to know!”
Rachel’s friend suggested swinging by a store and picking up a Fitbit Charge. “We knew it would charge up quickly in the car and that it’s fast to set up with your phone,” says Rachel. “So that’s exactly what we did!”
With her new Fitbit Charge on her wrist, Rachel went out and set a new women’s course record at the race. “The silvery glow from the screen kept me company on the trail,” she says. “These races are really remote and my Fitbit Charge helped me figure out when the sun would start to rise and when I would get to see people at the next aid station—it was really motivating.”
With that race under her belt, Rachel was hooked. Since then she’s run three more 100-mile races—all with her Fitbit Charge strapped to her wrist. “It’s crazy to see your step count hit 100,000 and keep going in a race,” she says. “Plus my tracker lasts the entire time I’m out there—I never have to worry about it running out of batteries before I do.”
Rachel’s Advice for Others:
You really can do it. “Don’t be intimidated by long races!” she says. “You can always walk. In fact, walking is actually done more than running during these longer races.”
Stay hydrated. “When I’m on these long runs, I drink something with electrolytes in it rather than just plain water because I sweat a lot and need to be replenishing minerals,” she says. “I even drink electrolyte-filled beverages in the days before a race to make sure I’m well-hydrated.”
Fuel up without filling up. “I’ve found that eating fattier foods helps me get lots of energy on runs without having a lot of food in my stomach,” she says. “Two of my favorites are squeeze packs of almond butter and fresh avocados.”
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. “When I train, I try to get my body used to getting out of its comfort zone, since it will have to do things like run up a hill for an hour,” she says. “So I make sure to include higher intensity intervals, whether it’s on a bike, in the pool, or running. This also helps keep my body fat levels low, which is key to not carrying extra weight during races.”
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.