After sticking mostly to singletrack and mountain ultras in 2017, I decided it was time to change things up and train for an ultra that's flat and a hundred percent runnable. The Beast of Burden is just that. It follows the old Erie Canal towpath from Lockport, NY, eastward to the town of Middleport and back. 25-, 50- and 100-mile runners all start together and run the same 25-mile out-and-back to Middleport once, twice, or four times. I had a rough day at this race back in 2016, and knew I could return and improve by a huge margin.
As I've mentioned in a previous race report, I created my own training plan based on guidelines from the book Training Essentials for Ultrarunning by accomplished ultramarathon coach Jason Koop. In years past, I always spent the winter months dabbling in other activities like snowshowing, hiking, and yoga, and running sporadically on roads and treadmills or fumbling around on snowy trails. This winter was different. By running almost exclusively on roads and rail trails, I'd improve my endurance enough that it would carry over to trail running come springtime. The goal of the 16-week plan was