Saturday, March 28, 2015

The long Run

A core component of any training program for long races is to practice running long.  Really?  Although obvious, it can be very disappointing to anyone who dreams of running a marathon and was hoping to find a training program where the longest run is only 1 kilometer.  After a few decades, I got tired of telling people that the long run is the key component of ultra training and central to remaining healthy after finishing a long race.  I now encourage ultra neophytes to run short, but to string a bunch of them together.  This is similar to the 9 in 1 method (I think you run 9 minutes, then walk 1 minute), but instead, you run a short distance, then you run the same short distance again.

The beauty of this method is that you can decide how far you want to run!  The formula then dictates how many times you run the short distance.  Let's take 100 meters as an example.  Bob (the name of a fictitious runner, not the name of some race along a canal in New York) wants to make 100 meters his long run, but wants to train for a 50K.  Simple!  I tell Bob that he can choose any day of the week (Bob chose Saturday) and he can go run 100 meters on that day.  Bob is stoked!  He can train on the high school track near his house.  I then tell Bob that he needs to run 100 meters, 350 times on Saturday.  This sounds like a lot of runs for one day, but at least Bob never has to run more than 100 meters.  Simple!

Bob no longer speaks to me.

Lee Anne and I are training for the Pick Your Poison race.  We are both registered for the 50K.  Yesterday, we set out on my long run.  It is also Lee Anne's long run, although she added 14K and runs long again, today.  Please stop reminding me that I married her.  We ran a very hilly 36K course, which includes a 6K hill.  Yes, 6 kilometers long.  Strange things happen to your legs when you run uphill for 40 minutes.  After reaching the top, it takes a few minutes for your legs to adjust to running flat terrain; they feel ungainly.  No kidding!  Fortunately, we didn't have that problem, as the top of the hill is also the top of the Niagara Escarpment.  With -8C temperature, 50 kph winds and intermittent white-outs, we couldn't feel our legs, saving us from experiencing the strange feeling normally encountered at the top of the hill.  So nice!

What kept me going in such insane elements was imagining what other runners / ultra friends would think, had we asked them along for the run.  The imaginary consensus was that Lee Anne and I were trying to kill them.

My running is improving, beyond a doubt.  I recently ran 30K on the indoor track at Base Borden.  I am running better than I have in years.  But, running 36K, including some major hills, in an inhospitable climate?  What was I thinking!  I know what I thought before yesterday's 36K training run started.  I think the word is hubris.  I ran 30K on an indoor track.  How much harder would a 36K hill run be, outside?  Ask my quads this morning.  They are not talking to me either.

As a humorous note, after the run I mentioned to Lee Anne that it would be 2 weeks before I recovered fully.  Her reply?  "Oh, you'll be back to normal after 2 days".

Yeah, right!

1 comment:

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