Finding My Ultra 2.4
One of my foundational pillars when it comes to training is efficiency. I cannot afford to waste any time and have admittedly become obsessive with the clock. I do my best to maximize every second. This means laying out my clothes the night before, preparing food the day before for pre, during and post consumption, utilizing technology, riding the trainer, running on the treadmill, staring at a black line, creating check lists, reviewing training goals, sessions, establishing immediate,short and long term goals, training with a specific purpose etc. This obsessive behavior has been magnified by the weather this past month. With temperatures dropping and road conditions worsening I have become one with my treadmill. Efficiency kills.
For the past 30 days I have completed each run on the treadmill. For some this would be the cruelest form of torture but for me, a satisfying enjoyment. Running on a treadmill provides a controlled environment free of distraction and inefficiency. I know from my first stride to my last that I'm maximizing my run. There is no stopping at cross walks, avoiding dogs, cars, potholes or dealing with extreme weather or wearing multiple layers of clothes. On the treadmill my focus is undivided.
During the recent blizzard I completed my longest run of 30 miles. The results were a series of "firsts"; first 30 mile run, first 4:15 hour run, and first marathon. While the distance was a feat in itself what I'm most impressed with was my mental game. Not once did I find it difficult to stay present. There was never an instance of, "get me off this thing!". The ability to stay present for 30 miles on the treadmill provided me with a great deal of confidence.
Another conclusion I was able to draw from this run dealt with recovery. Naively, I underestimated the amount of recovery I would need. I had planned for 3 days but soon realized I needed the entire week. I'm enlightened by this new understanding and can now strategically apply this knowledge to future training. Recovery will play a progressively significant role in my training going forward.
The grind of winter training has finally started to wear on me. The last time I raced was on December 5th and since then 90% of my running has been on the treadmill. January marked a pivotal time in my training as it was the second month, in a 3 month stretch, with no racing or immediate motivating stimulus. Couple this with shorter and darker days as well as undesirable weather equates to The Grind. January was going to require a lot of focus and internal fortitude. If I could grind out January then I could use the excitement of February and the lead into race season as motivation. I took to January fully understanding that what I put into it I would get out of it.
Looking back at my training log I can't help but be very proud of my efforts and I'm looking forward to reaping what I have sewn.
As I enter February I now need to take a step back, take a deep breath, shake off the effects of The Grind and refocus my attention because in one month I will toeing the line at the Caumsett 50K.
As stated in my previous entry, February's focus will be on elevation rather than total miles logged. I need to continue to build the strength and power in my legs to charge up the hills. This requires a shift in my training as my easy runs and recoveries have been replaced with power hiking.
Tips for running long:
A. Tight top layers such as those made by Under Armour do a poor job of wicking moisture and staying dry. A wet first layer can cause the body to become chilled. I would recommend avoiding a tight/compression type top layer.
B. Always wear layers. By wearing multiple layers you are able to adapt to the conditions.
C. Make sure that air can circulate and move between your top layers. This will aide in keeping dry and comfortable.
D. Let loved ones know where you are running and for how long. The more details you can leave them the better.
E. Bring your phone or money with you in case of emergency.
F. Bring toilet paper with you, nature will call at the most inopportune times.
G. Leave food and drinks in your car for after your run.
H. Pack or stash more nutrition/hydration then is needed.