March 6, 2012

Reality Cheque

Running success does not require a sophisticated program — what is essential is a sensible program, done daily, for seven to ten years. – Gordo Byrn

To improve endurance, for example, I think you need at least five years training! – Ueli Steck

Prior to this past weekend I didn’t think I would need to write this article; that should have been a warning sign. Combine my slack attitude with a sub-par event organization and it could have spelled disaster. Instead, a few things worth jotting down…

  • I had been doing fasted workouts beginning 8 days out from the race. The only normal eating day I had was the day before the race and race day.
  • The above was very helpful for handling the lack of two planned aid stations at the race, and, you know, running with no water refills for the second half of the first 40km… in warm weather.
  • I did a huuge week prior to the GR10xtrem and that race, all 93kms of it, were fun. This race had very little large volume build-up and it shows. I think I am learning what needs to be done. (I know you can read to learn these things, but where’s the fun in that?)
  • I went out with a group that was holding the pace I wanted to run, but the lack of volume prep, the fasted workout stress and poor rest leading up to the race meant I should have dropped to a 7km/hr plan right from the start. In the end I averaged that for the race, but we ran the first loop at 8km/hr.
  • I have been managing a banged up left big toe (+/- broken) for the last few weeks. After repeatedly kicking stones during the first 30k, I managed to bargain with myself to stay in the race and not drop out at the 40km point (when we returned to the race start/finish before the 2nd half). Mentally this was tough, I know I was running a bit different to protect it, but in the end we all survived.
  • I’ve had 3 nights post-race with 4 hour blocks of serious out-of-it sleeping.
  • I was able to run on Sunday and Monday after the race (Saturday).
  • I ran really well down a ~2km downhill section of singltrack near the end of the race. There’s no way I could have done that last year at that point in a race.
  • Following the previous comment, my physio outlined that my legs were doing quite well and much better than after my first few races. He mentioned how it takes tendons longer to get strong. Thinking about it, in my experience it has taken about 3/4 of a year for them to get really tough. Bones take longer…

So why Reality Cheque?

A great day for a looong run.

3 days removed from the race and it is clear that cardiovascular recovery is going to be tougher than usual. I prefer to head out easy and finish strong, but this race went the other way around; I dug a little deeper at this race. I don’t think I went to the well, but I’m paying for overreaching. Perhaps it will be a beneficial workout as I head into a phase of strength building.

The reality is that a power phase is needed, but the quotes at the beginning of this post must be heeded…