1/ Find a trail
Many 100-mile races are on trails, so get used to them. ‘A lot of components of trail running are different to road running; the terrain, ascent/ descent, and tempering your legs to take that kind of abuse,’ says Torrence. ‘It’s also accepting your 8min/mile pace will drop to 14.’
2/ Stay on your feet
The race could take more than 24 hours, so ‘you need to know what it’s like to be on your feet for four to five hours in training’, says ultra runner Sage Canaday.
Work up through 50K, 50-mile and 100K races. ‘There’s a lot to learn, such as the nutritional and hydration components, that you can’t quite get in a marathon,’ says Torrence.
4/ Don't overdo it
A misconception is the amount of mileage it takes to prepare. ‘The most important thing is being healthy and getting to the start line refreshed and not burnt out,’ says Emily Harrison.
5/ Get a crew
It’s essential to have a team to provide aid and encouragement. Tim Schaum, winner of Florida’s Skydive Ultra 100-miler, says his crew kept his mind off the pain and discomfort. ‘To have my closest friends join me on the final lap… I will never forget it,’ he says.
6/ Break it up
The 100-mile figure is daunting. In his first, Torrence was going to quit at 50 but was encouraged to make it to the next aid station, and the next, until he finished. Find a way to chop up the distance into manageable chunks.
7/ Tough it out
Everybody goes into unknown territory in their first 100-miler. ‘Just stay calm,’ says Harrison. Ask yourself, ‘Is it a serious situation, or something you keep going through?’
8. Go again
Most vets say the huge distance means an equally large learning curve. ‘The respect for the distance does not change, it matures,’ says Schaum. After first completing a 100, you can correct mistakes for the second.
9/ Know when you're ready
‘Being humble about the distance is one of the best ways to leverage confidence,’ says Hal Koerner, a winner of the US Hardrock 100. ‘You’ll know you’re ready when you can visualise success.’
10/ Learn from others
Find a group who can share wisdom. Try this, from an ultra runners’ Facebook page: ‘No matter how bad things get, keep moving,’ and ‘It’s not just a race, it’s a life-altering experience.’
READ MORE: Is 100 miles the new marathon?
READ MORE: What makes an ultra-runner?