Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Man With a Plan

Yep, I've got a plan for my training and it's been going great. I don't think I've ever felt so focused and dedicated as I am now. My plan is pretty simple: run/pull the sled ever other day and every 3 days, do the workout and planks. It's pretty basic, but easy for me to stick to, which is critical. As many of you know, the toughest part of training is being consistent. Life happens and there are many things that suck up what little free time we have.

Why run every other day? Well, first off, it's easier to do than every day (genius, right? ha, ha.) I know many will argue that it's not as effective as training every day. However, my philosophy is this: Make the most of your every-other-day runs and skip the "garbage" miles in between. Personally, when I ran every day, I'd consistently have to follow up long or hard days with an easy day. Makes sense, right? You're legs are tired and need to recover. My thought then is, why bother running at all then if you're just going to run easy and, in a sense, put in junk miles? Why not give your legs a full day of recovery and hit them hard again. To me, training for ultras is more like weight training. Now, if you're weight training properly, you're not going to lift using the same muscles every day, are you? If so, you'll end up just tearing them down in the long run because you're not giving them enough time to recover and rebuild. In addition, I'm not focusing on the cardio as much as I am on strength and endurance. Therefore, to get endurance and strength, I need to put in long runs and difficult ones, like in the snow, on hills, etc. I may be way off base on this philosophy, but it works for me. That's the beauty of ultrarunning - there's no defined way to train for it.

Anyway, enough philosophy for now. My past week of training went famously and I put in 4 solid runs totalling 31 miles. Monday I got to run in the daylight since the wife and kid were home for MLK day, so I went to work early and hit the river valley trails. On Wednesday I did two 5-mile loops on the snowy and icy sidewalks of Burnsville at night. Friday I literally ran some errands in the sub-zero temps. First I ran to the Burnsville City Hall and dropped off my water and sewer payment. After that, I continued on to the public library and returned a DVD on Qi Gong that was due on Saturday. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone, eh? I swapped a long run on Sunday for 2+ hours of sled pulling at The Murph. It was a nice crisp day, which made the trails more suitable for training. For the most part, they were a bit rough, but I managed to find some decent "grooves" to pull my sled through. I also had to do some gear adjusting. I found that crossing the poles from the sled to the waistpack did indeed give much better control of the sled's tracking. In addition, I had to tweak the length on my new Black Diamond poles. Overall, it was a great time out on the snowshoe/horse trails all by my lonesome. Not a soul was out there - beautiful!!

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