For many of us who are truly addicted to running, race day coming and going does not at all mean that the training season’s over and we can look forward to a nice, long hibernation. No, when one big event ends, we still have another one right around the corner that we were probably already building up to at the same time as the first big race. (Raise your hand with me if you’ve ever run a “tune-up” race!)
Training-wise, this past week was a little in-between for me: I wanted to give myself a break from the high-intensity Spartan workouts and burpees, but at the same time I didn’t want to slack off too much because this was also the week I had planned to do my longest training run for my next big event!
So my exercise this past week basically looked like this. Normally I like to do more cross-training for preventive maintenance purposes, but since I felt fine after the Beast, I figured I could get away with mostly running just this once…
Monday: 5.7 mile run
Tuesday: 45 minutes on a stationary bike
Wednesday: 8 mile run. 65 degrees and breezy at 0:dark:30, 50 degrees and threatening to rain by nightfall. After last week’s brief cold snap, autumn seems to finally be here. I made this messy pasta bake with broccoli in the evening so that I would have healthy comfort food for the next couple of days.
Thursday: Nada. Packed a gym bag to strength-train after work and make up for not going to Pump on Monday, but I felt too sluggish to do anything the whole day. Blame it on the cold, damp weather?
Friday: Since the clouds and rain from Thursday had cleared out, I was off for Veterans Day and I’m always happy to have an early start to my lazy rest-of-the-weekend, I ran 24 miles at Harbison!
Saturday: Nada again, just because.
Sunday: Nothing yet, but I’m planning on 2:15 Pump followed by yoga so that I can “just run” (rather than run and Pump) tomorrow morning.
And now that I’m in my taper, I have some time to reflect…
This year, I actually ran the FATS 50K to help prepare myself to run longer at One Epic Run in December. It was my third time running FATS, and I’ve run there on other occasions, so I know the trails pretty well by now.
Yep, a 50K was my tune-up for One Epic Run.
Last weekend’s Spartan Race was a fun interlude (if you haven’t already, check out my 2017 Spartan Trifecta medal at the end of this post!), but truth be told, I’ve pretty much been building to One Epic Run since I started ramping up for FATS back in August. After FATS, I planned out my next two months of long runs to fit around the Beast and did some Spartan workouts and burpees to prepare for that as well, but now I just have One Epic Run ahead of me.
It feels weird sometimes, when that one big goal – hurdle, obstacle, whatever you knew was around the corner but you had other things to deal with first – is staring you in the face, and all the other distractions that preceded it are gone.
One Epic Run will not be my first 50-mile event if I succeed in running that (and distance runners, we all know that anything can happen before or during the race), but 24 hours come-what-may is uncharted territory for me. It’s going to start at 9:00 on Saturday, December 9, and whatever distance I’m able to cover in that time on their 3-mile loop is what I will get credit for. If it were a known distance like a normal race, then it would simply be a question of how long it will take. When that question is already answered for you and the distance is for you to decide, the question is no longer “do you have 50K (or 26.2, or whatever) in you?” but “what do you have in you?”
Some more seasoned ultramarathoners than myself will be going for a 100-mile finish, but I know I’m not ready for that. 50 miles is my goal because it’s the longest distance I feel reasonably certain I can complete before I up and decide that I’M DONE.
When I trained for my first half and full marathon back in 2006, I had a running coach who encouraged all of us to set gold, silver and bronze goals for ourselves for those first big races (and there were a lot of us first-timers in that training group). I pretty much have these down for familiar distances, but the whole 24-hour thing somehow makes that kind of goal-setting a bit trickier. I guess I would say that for One Epic Run, the goals look like this:
And with that, my training goes on…
Do you have any big races coming up between now and the holidays? What distance, and what are your gold, silver and bronze goals?
Let me know in the comments!