Sooo…I’ve officially survived my first month of intentional AZ200 training! I am using the term “training” rather loosely as the last month has been a lot of testing my legs + body + brain to see how they’d hold up to higher miles without putting too much pressure on the mileage or terrain or…anything but “get yo’ self out there gurl” type of running.
The results? My body is happy! My brain is happy! I might actually survive training + racing!
Rather than dig into every single run or tally out every tenth of a mile I want to focus on the overall month of running — partly because that’s boring and partly because that starts to put pressure on the performance of every single run I head outside for, which is exactly what I’m trying to avoid. As for the month in general? Here are a few things worth sharing…
My body didn’t hate the jump in miles!
Against nearly every running book + forum + advice column out there I went from months of 0-6 mile weeks to a 38 mile week…and then a 30 miles week…and then a 50 mile week…without any nagging aches, pains or even lingering tiredness. Would I recommend this? Eh, probably not, even after happily surviving it I’m not sure it’s a fantastic idea.
However, the miles I covered during those weeks were not strenuous in anything but distance. I didn’t do anything where my pace mattered, I didn’t force myself to go faster or harder and I if my body wanted a breather mid-run I took it! I stretched, I too legitimate rest days and I truly enjoyed my time on the trails. Those little factors probably play a bigger part in my success in healthy survival than my overall “omg, look at my muscles + endurance” ability.
But not every mile was easy, I may have thrown a few fits…
I’m not going to lie to you — I struggled to get myself outside more than once. Some days it’s just plain hard. It doesn’t matter that you’ll feel better during/after your run. It doesn’t matter that the weather is awesome. It doesn’t matter that you told so-and-so that you’d be there at 8am. It just doesn’t, damnit! Sometimes you just want to be whiny and not love running. Those days happened…they weren’t necessarily pretty but I survived them. Heck, they may have even been good for me because it was on those days I decided to run with my roommate who was running slower/shorter distances — boom, recovery run!
And in the interest of full disclosure, honesty and all that jazz…last week was a rather sad training week. Every single plan to run long last weekend got derailed so I didn’t get my miles. Sure, I could have buckled down and pushed my way through late night runs but I didn’t want to…so I didn’t. Because of this I may never be very inspirational or awesome but that’s me and when training for something like 200 miles the whole “I’m doing this for me” spiel is extremely is important to me!
Cross training…wait, what’s that?!
While I may have rocked my socks off running in January I failed miserably at cross training. I had the best of intentions [aka, a gym membership!] but did not do a very good job of it. And by that I mean I did nothing cross training related… Earlier this week I did 25ish squats while brushing my teeth and spent the next three days whining sore muscles.
Yes, my ultra runner legs are so wimpy a few freaking body weight squats made them hurt. It is crazy to think I can spend hours upon hours on my feet using my legs to propel me forward but basic muscles still get their butt kicked with a few reps in my bathroom. That needs to change, soon! And by soon I mean NOW! It was weak hips + stability muscles that jacked up my body during my 100 miler training…that can’t happen again!
The next few weeks of training are going to be fun…because I said so! In reality my next few weeks of running are going to be an interesting mix of standard trail running, mountain top misery training and a long weekend of “let’s see if I survive” bushwhacking. Spoiler: I plan on surviving and even enjoying some of those training trips!