Shoes: Not picky. Any shoe works for me just so it fits. I do like to race in flats for short races and light weight trainers for road ultras. I like to tuck the laces under the shoe strings. This has worked really well in regard to not becoming untied. I try an hit 1,000 miles a pair.
Racing: Years ago was more concerned about racing for place than time. Now it's all about finding the correct pace and holding it as long as the race takes. Surprisingly this is easy to get my head around.
Training: Consistent day in day out training is best for me. Sure, I'll take days off, but I seem to run best when out most days. Would like to get a few more doubles in this year. Still not convinced a lot of runs over 3 hours needed. Sure, maybe a 4 and a 5 hour, but not every week. A couple at most before each race. If I can get 2 runs of 2 hours in a week over the winter I feel good and can run the other days.
Key Races: To race well, I have to zone in on the goal and stay with a plan. Get the weekly miles in, maintain the strength runs, run a lot near race pace, and run 10% below race pace. The trick is knowing when to rest and when to forge through. I like shorter cycles because (12 weeks) anything longer is really a drag. I like 9 weeks of hard training with a 3 week taper. If I race then, I expect the times to be slower under load. It makes no sense for me to do mini tapers. I like to do trial runs to prepare for the event and gain confidence.
Mileage: The more the better if you can handle it. 70-80 is a really good week for me. I haven't done that kind of training for years. Hard for me to race well in ultras at 40-50 a week.
Competition: I always do better when someone I know is training for the same event or has like minded goals. It tends to get me out the door when I don't want to train.
Motivation: The fact that I can still run is motivation enough. Dream big. If I fail, the crew still loves me the same. Both home and away.
Marathons: For me, this is the ultimate test for a distance runner. More closely related to a 10K than any ultra. Endurance and speed and having the guts to race past 20 on fumes. You literally have to crawl inside the brain the last three miles and operate the remaining moving parts from up there. Everyone gets to figure this out on their own.
Other: Try and keep things simple. Always carry toilet paper. Run in clean shorts. Run into the wind out at first. Look at the weather before running. Run at least 30 minutes before bagging any runs. Yield the right-of-way, vehicles weigh a lot more than you. Decide how many days you can run hard or long a week and stick to it. Plan your race schedule a year in advance if getting serious. Get sleep. Avoid bonus time when Lapham closes. Learn to run harder down the hills rather than up. Go nuts every so often. Try some sort of speed training one season. Run your training by someone you trust for a big event just to get another look at it. Dedicate 4-5 months to just base training. Of course your tired, your training. Don't always run other peoples workouts. Nothing wrong with the occasional run hard to the barn at the end of workouts. Fit in a fair amount of hobby jogging a week. Always run down people you see out and about running. Know where all the key toilets are in your metro area. Running for time only instead of always the same routes eliminates boredom; just turning here and there is kind of fun. Try fartlek running once a week for a nice change. Tell someone you love them everyday.