Thursday, February 22, 2018

Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim Training

Since I've had a couple people ask about our Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim adventure, I thought I'd do a quick blog post about it to try and answer everyone's questions thus far in one place. PS If you have NO IDEA what I'm talking about, I nonchalantly announced our next BIG escapade in a recent blog post (which you can read HERE if you missed the first go around).


What is Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim?

The Grand Canyon Rim 2 Rim 2 Rim hike {“R2R2R”} is an amazing 44-48 mile trek (depending on the trail(s) you take), with an approximate elevation change of 20,000 feet and a potential temperature change of 70+ degrees. You technically start on one side of the Grand Canyon, hike down, cross the Colorado River and out to the other side... then back!


When do you plan to tackle R2R2R?

From the intel we gathered, we were told that April or October tend to be the best months weather-wise. Since we'd already be marathon trained in April (the hubby has the Phoenix Marathon on his training plan for February, while I have the Phoenix Marathon in February, the Los Angeles Marathon in March and the Boston Marathon in April on my schedule), we figured it was perfect timing. Currently we're planning to attempt our R2R2R hike on April 27th (we'll be camping in the Grand Canyon from the 26th through the 30th so we can truly enjoy the National Park while we're there).

The South Rim is open all year. The North Rim is closed for the winter and reopens on May 15th. With that said, we'll be camping (and starting our hike) at the South Rim, hiking to the North Rim and then finishing back again at the South Rim. 

How are you training?

Remember when I mentioned all of the marathons I have on my calendar? Well, those will definitely help in the training aspect! Thanks to the generosity of the folks at the Los Angeles Marathon, the hubby was also comped an entry to the race, so he has added his second full marathon to his calendar and will be running LA with me - yup, he added his second before running his first! (The training plan we're using had a 50K scheduled for the day of LA, so we said "why not?!".) 

Since this isn't technically a race (we've invited a few ultra friends to join the party, but there's a possibility it'll just be the two of us), we're sort of on our own for the planning and preparation. There's a decent amount of info available about the hike and we're lucky enough to have folks in our lives who have tackled the beast before that we can ask our million and a half questions to. We aren't going for a speed record (although, since it will be the first time we're tackling it, it'll automatically be a PR {personal record}, right?!), but we still want to make sure we're trained for what lies ahead.

I did some research online and found a 50-miler training plan that I have adjusted slightly to fit our schedule. In case you are interested in something similar, we used this Ultra Marathon Training Schedule Generator from the Santa Clarita Runners. I'd say the majority of folks we've talked to said that the distance isn't the killer... it's the elevation change! 

The hubby and I are planning to run the downhills and the flats, while hiking the uphills. Even still we want to make sure that our bodies can handle the trek. Our game plan is to start adding stairs after all of our runs beginning next week (I wanted to wait until after Phoenix so Ryan could "celebrate" his first full before focusing on the next, HUGE goal). So if we have a "short" run, we plan to do 15-20 minutes of stairs afterward and if we have a "long" run, we plan to do 5-10 minutes of stairs afterward. Also, we are hoping to take all of our "long" Saturday runs to the trails, which hopefully will also include more elevation training. We know that the main point of ultra training is "time on your feet", so for our "shorter" Sunday runs we are planning to hit the trails, but are okay it those runs on tired legs turn into more of a hike than a sprint.


Do you have any time goals for R2R2R?

The short answer - NOPE! The longer answer - I would love to go fast enough to not be out there for longer than we need to, but slow enough to enjoy ourselves, the view, etc. For some context, we hiked Half Dome in Yosemite (16.5ish miles round trip, 7,000ish feet of elevation gain) and kept around 29 minute miles (including all of our stops, photo opts, scaling the cables, etc), we we hiked up and ran down from Observation Point in Zion (8ish miles round trip, 6,000 feet of elevation gain) and kept around 17 minute miles, and we recently ran a 20 mile trail run with only about 1,200 feet of elevation gain and kept under 10 minute miles. I think the coming trail runs with more vert we will give us a better idea of what we may actually be able to do time-wise, but I'd love to say we could be somewhere around 15-20 minute mile pace (which would take us between 11 and 15 hours). But, again, time's NOT the focus - enjoyment, safety and adventure are!


I'll be sharing updates over the next nine weeks (which is all we have before we tackle this beast - EEKS!), but, in the meantime, follow me on Strava if you're interested in seeing our workouts. And if you have questions, keep 'em comin'!

Have you ever hiked the Grand Canyon before?


Unknown said...

So excited for you! I can’t wait to do it myself. I’ve run down for two miles and then back up in a storm one time. It was crazy being in the Canyon and hearing the thunder. Creepy!!! Let me know if you ever want trail company. I have my back to back long runs Friday Saturday.

Sarah Lynn said...

I’m so excited for you. I think you may be underestimating time out there, and that only matters to make sure you have enough nutrition for 16 hours. Then again, you all are studs and may do it that fast if you get good weather. Between the San Gabriel’s and San Bernadinos, you have lots of opportunities for gain!