The Long and the Short of it.

I’ve had two really good back to back weeks of running. The past two weeks I ran 80.50 and 82.25 miles respectively but they were completely different types of miles with different purposes.

Week of 8/22 Week of 8/29
Mon xtrain xtrain
Tue 14.00 17.00
Wed 10.00 5.25
Thr 10.00 20.00
Fri 10.00 5.00
Sat 18.50 31.00
Sun 18.00 4.00
Total 80.50 82.25

Week 1 was designed to continue building endurance with a steady demand on my legs and body thoughout the week culminating in moderate back to back long runs on the weekend. Keep in mind this week followed a rest week so I started out very well rested both mentally and physically.

Week 2 had virtually the same total miles but the focus was on building individual long runs. In theory a person could run 12 miles a day, 7 days a week and get in 84 miles (about the same mileage I did). But all that makes them is a good 12 mile runner. My goal is 100 miles and with a good base built up over the past 3 months my focus has now shifted to those individual long runs. Long runs are a balancing act, don’t run far enough and I won’t be ready to run 100 miles…run too far and my body won’t recuperate fast enough to go back out the next day or within the next two days to stress it again. Conventional wisdom says 5-6 hour training runs are the right distance. The hardest part about Week 2 was honestly the 4-5 mile runs. I really wanted to get out and keep going but it’s too important on those days to hold in the reigns and be ready for the next days longer distance.

Saturday I did my first 31 mile run of this training schedule (I’ve done several other runs of 31+ miles over the past 2 years but not since last Spring). Waking up at 1:15 a.m. I was hoping to get most of my run in before the sun came up. I lucked out with the weather, the temperature on my truck thermometer read 83° as I was pulling into the Pemberton trailhead. This is the same trail Javelina Jundred will be held on November 12 and 13th. My plan was to simulate race day as close as possible by utilizing a run/walk strategy of 20 minutes running followed by 3 minutes of brisk walking then 20 minutes of running etc. I know every inch of the trail from running on it so many times so I timed the 3 minute walks to be on the hardest part of the course. If that meant running for 18, 23 or 25 minutes then starting the 3 minute walk that was ok. This strategy is designed to get me to the final 30 miles with gas left in the tank so I can push it as much as possible and not be crawling toward the finish.

The second part of my plan was based on nutrition. I switched gels a few weeks ago because the gel I had used for long runs in the past upset my stomach. After a lot of research I switched to Gu Gel Just Plain (Just Plain is exactly what it sounds like, no flavor). Taking 1 Gu Gel on my drive to the trail then every other walk break I consumed 7 – 100 calorie gels during my 31 miles. I didn’t experience any stomach problems and felt good the entire run, no spikes in energy and always feeling like I could go further on the energy I had. Along with my Succeed Ultra electrolyte drink I was happy with the results and will stick with this plan unless some unforeseen problem comes up in future long training runs.

After finishing my run the temperature had climbed to 94°, it was time for an ice bath. Cold water from the faucet (in Arizona that means about 90°, ugh) plus 40 pounds of ice felt great on my legs.

Click for larger image

An ice bath after a long run helps speed up recovery and today I feel great, no muscle soreness at all. I took a planned “sort of day off” by doing a brisk 4 mile hike on the Promenade Trail near my house this morning. It was all I could do to stay patient and not break out in a run.

The circles on the map are slowly growing. It’s been two weeks since I updated my progress. I have two boring weeks of training coming up (one will be a rest week) so I don’t expect to update my blog now for a while.

Until the next time have fun and be safe.

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One Response to The Long and the Short of it.

  1. Jay Danek says:

    You are doing the right thing to get ready for JJ. Even if it was only planned as a early morning run at 1:15 to avoid the sun it really will help you during the night hours at JJ. Don’t underestimate how much of a factor the night also plays in slowing down your progress so any practice at it is a good thing. It also teaches your body to run tired and how to deal with unfortunate circumstances that arrive during the 100. I know the feeling of how hard the four mile run is, I have been stuck in that 4-7 mile rut since last Saturday. I am ready to go long but my ankles still need a few more days. keep up the good work.

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