Staying fresh. It’s not easy. Here’s my theory – when it comes to training, we runners can easily end up like a piece of fruit left up on the counter for too long. In other words, don’t expect to stay ripe all the time, because you can end up rotten when you need to be fresh the most.
This last season was a lesson for me on being “on the shelf” for too long. I trained and raced for nine consecutive months, grinding through 3,250 miles from February to November. Completing four races; a 100k, two 100 milers and a 50 miler. By the time I was done, I was feeling like forgotten banana at the back of the cupboard.
The races were the easy part. The hard part? Staying motivated. There were times when I struggled just to lace up my shoes and go for a run. My body was holding up, but my motivation was slowly waning. I even tried to mix up my training. The excitement that normally courses through my veins was getting thin. What I learned is this: once the fruit is ripe, I can’t expect it to remain that way for very long.
The coming season has me a little worried. As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve got four 100 mile races over a four month period starting the end of June. This makes last year look like tiddlywinks. So I’m planning on doing things a little differently. First, its January, and I’m not running much at all.
Sounds crazy, but I’m not going to get sucked into a serious training regimen until I know I can sustain it well into the summer. That would start around March and will take me through April, May and then into June. By then, my fruit will be just ripening and, if I treat it right, will remain that way through all the mountain miles before me.
Great post. I think the benefit to doing races closer together like that is that you can race, give yourself time to recover, and then race again while still being able to maintain your fitness. You don't have to do a lot of training between races...just maintain.
Or at least that's what I'm telling myself as I go into a busy race season.
Agreed. I've seen potentially great ultra trail runners train way too hard and/or early, leading to disappointing race results.
Having said that, if you feel you need to do something other than watch tv daily, cross training is a great way to cheat the overtraining monster!
Nice pic from France btw.
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Good on 'ya Will.....focusing on speed and form and taking care of family and business now will pay HUGE dividends later....
Sounds very familiar. So far I wasn't able to abstain long enough...year after year wading into same mistakes.
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