With the course buried in snow, it may seem a bit early to be bringing this up, but its importance can not be overemphasized.
What is the single most important training you can do in preparation for the Ridge Run?
The most important thing you can do to have a successful Ridge Run, is to get out and train on the actual Ridge Run course.
Whether your goal is just finishing or being competitive, it is paramount to actually get out on the course and get acquainted with the terrain.
Saturday Ridge Run Training Group
For many years, there has been a Saturday Ridge Run training group. In the months leading up to the event, this group trains on all portions of the course. If this is will be your first Ridge Run, this is a great opportunity to get out and explore. Check with the Big Sky Wind Drinkers running club as they have loosely organized this training group in the past.
Breaking Up the Course
I personally do the entire course, Fairy Lake to the M at least a couple times in preparation for a fast Ridge Run and maximizing my potential.
I use to break up the course by going from Fairy Lake to Bridger one day, or from Bridger to the M another day. Unfortunately, you now have to park quite a ways down on the summer road closer to base of the Bridger Bowl ski area. You either have to come way down off the ridge or go up to the ridge. I realized I might as well just do the whole damn thing if I have to go up or down the ski area. It is not that much farther. You may have a different philosophy, such as wanting to avoid the long drive up to Fairy Lake.
M to Baldy
The easiest portion of the course to access is the last portion that ends at the M trail head. Training consisting of going from the M trail head up to Mount Baldy and back down is terrific preparatory training for the Ridge Run.
Remember, a good way to estimate your Ridge Run time is by doubling your round trip M to Mount Baldy and back down to the M time.