This past week I spent my time resting, recovering, and rethinking my ultrarunning season. That's not to say I'm disappointed with my results thus far. On the contrary, I'm quite pleased with my progress and am reconsidering what my focus on the rest of the year should be. My initial plan was to slowly work my way up to mastering 50 miles, throwing in FANS as a litmus test as to whether I could possibly do 100 miles. However, after reflecting upon how well I handled Ice Age and what my strengths and weaknesses were during that run, I've come to the decision to approach my racing and training from this point on differently.
Here's what I plan to do:
First, I will alter my race schedule. FANS will be taken out so that I can get a couple of months of solid training in before Afton. I also may not run Voyageur because it is so close to Afton. But, we'll see how Afton goes first. I really want to do it though because it will give me a good test of how I will handle Superior. The biggest change in my schedule will be my determination to run the 100 instead of the 50 at Superior. I really want to run a 100 before the end of the year and why not at Superior? Yeah, the course is brutally tough, but that's what intrigues me about it so much. That's why so many of us run ultras, because there's the chance we might actually fail. Anyway, that's my intention at the moment until someone comes along and tells me I'm crazy and stupid, which might not deter me anyway.
The second change will be in my training. While running Ice Age, I felt my weakness was twofold - hills/strength and recovery. Until the Ice Age, most of my training has been spent on the roads, since most of the trails have been snowed/iced up deep into the spring months. The problem with that is trail hills are much shorter, but yet much steeper than road hills. Yes, I walked most of the hills at Ice Age like one should, but I felt I walked a few inclines that maybe I should have been running instead. Not only that, but I need downhill work as well. I noticed after the Ice Age that I didn't have much soreness walking up stairs as I did walking down them. Again, the nature of shorter but much steeper trail hills. Afton, Voyageur, and Superior will be very hilly and I feel that the strength gained from hillwork will be invaluable. In addition, I will start doing some interval training. I need to start improving my cardio so that I recover more quickly after efforts. In addition, I also feel the need to increase my base miles, which has been a struggle ever since starting to work again. My choices have been to either run very early in the morning (I leave for work by 6:15 am, so when I say very early, I mean VERY EARLY) or to run at night. The problem with running at night is that I have two choices: One, run at about 8 pm after my stomach has settled dinner, or two, run when I get home and forego time and dinner with my wife and almost-3-year-old son. Of course, my 3rd option is to do two-a-days, which aren't quite as good as one continuous run, but nonetheless better than nothing. I guess I'll have to try out a few things and see what works best.
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