Prior to this week I ran 18 out of the past 21 days, taking off only Mondays and logging more than 210 miles in the process. In the past when I trained for a race I normally blew off my rest weeks and kept charging ahead. I don’t know if it’s just old age setting in or the fact my body really felt like it needed it but this time I was looking forward and probably even went overboard on the rest. I ran 29 miles less than each of the previous 3 weeks and took 2 days completely off from running. With all that rest I pushed my 16 mile Saturday run doing a 10 minute negative split (I ran the last 8 miles 10 minutes faster than the first 8 miles) and had plenty of gas still left in the tank to keep going.
With the extra time and rest I also had plenty of time to think, plan and scheme the next 82 days of training before Javelina Jundred on November 12th. Having extra time to think is never a good thing for me, I can get in a lot of trouble thinking. My main focus was to address two ideas I’ve been contemplating the past month. Number one was to start running more with friends. Phoenix has a very talented group of ultra trailrunners that I’ve followed but never took the initiative to join. I know several of these runners enough to say “hi” in passing and was always happy to just leave it at that. To become a better runner I need to get more involved with them. Running with other people takes me out of my comfort zone and puts me in a place I really don’t enjoy right now, but I will over time and I’m hoping that translates to being in a comfort zone on race day. I did 2 runs over the past week and both definitely took me out of my comfort zone but I survived and will keep doing it.
The second idea I’ve been bouncing around in my head is to lose some weight. At 6′, 170lbs its hard to see on the surface why this is necessary, but dropping 10lbs. is what I want to do so I put the plan in place this week. First of all why? I own 3 styles of trail running shoes for various trail conditions. The heaviest is 12 oz. the lightest pair 8 oz. 4 oz. is a huge deal (just pick up any running magazine and the ads will tell you so!). If having shoes that weigh 4 oz. less is so great what if I don’t have to carry an extra 10lbs. of body weight? See, I told you thinking gets me in trouble! There is also a performance measure called VO2max. Technically, VO2max stands for maximal oxygen uptake and refers to the amount of oxygen your body is capable of utilizing in one minute. A major factor in VO2max is body weight and in the formula to calculate VO2max weight is a major component, the less weight the better.
In the past I’ve found the easiest way for me to lose weight is to track my calories. Yes, there are other factors involved but I do everything I’m supposed to do in my normal life. Tracking calories, the actual act of writing down every thing I put in my mouth, makes me not want to write anything down…so I don’t put it in my mouth. Its very powerful for me, so I started using MyPlate on Livestrong.com to calculate the number of calories I want to consume each day and my progress toward that goal. Since it was a rest week this past week I set my goal at 1,641 net calories per day. Net calories are (total calories – calories burned while running), so far this week I had 3 days where I burned more calories running than I took in all day, one day of net 340 calories and another where I went crazy and consumed 1,400 calories more than I burned (on a day I didn’t run and the only day I exceeded 1,641 total calories). 1,641 calories a day won’t be enough when I start a full running schedule again this week but I’ll slowly add calories to get to the point my energy level is adequate and then maintain that level by tracking every damn calorie, right down to eating 2 almonds and plugging it in the system. Looking at my eating this past week it’s very normal for me to eat every hour starting at 3 a.m. when I wake up to run. But each hour is 100 – 200 calories tops so even though I’m constantly feeling like I’m stuffing my face the total calories at the end of the day is not great. Anyone wanting to drop a few lbs. or a lot I would encourage you to visit LIVESTRONG.COM, it has a wealth of good sound eating advice, no fad crap that you see everywhere else.
On a sad note, I had to say goodbye to some dear old friends this week…my LaSportiva Wildcats. We traveled over 700 miles together on the local trails with never an issue but all good things must end. Of course I replaced them with a new pair of Wildcats (I have other lighter racing shoes but these are my primary training shoes) and the difference was amazing. I didn’t realize how broken down my old pair was until I stepped into my new ones and felt support I had completely forgotten about. This is not a popular shoe in the United States but its a shoe that fits me perfectly and since I’m dropping those 10lbs. I mentioned above I can afford to continue training is shoes that weigh 4oz. more than my friends shoes.
Lastly (stop cheering !#@*&!), here’s an updated map, with a rest week this week the new circle didn’t grow a lot but I promise to make up for it over the next 3 weeks before my next rest week. Until the next time…have fun and be safe!