When life or health issues get in the way, one of the hardest choices runners must make is whether or not to run a race. Sometimes it’s for logistical reasons that are out of your control, such as starting a new job or the timing of a new baby. But when it’s due to injury or not being well-prepared, it’s tough to make the right call.
Author Ian Sharman
I often get asked if there’s a secret to maintaining consistency. This question usually has the undertone of having your cake and eating it too, i.e. doing excessive training and getting away with it. Yet, it’s a fairly simple formula that I instill in those I coach, as well as in my own racing.
At the end of the year, most of us back off training and allow for a little downtime and reflection, plus, family commitments are especially time consuming (and fun) during the holidays. What should you consider when thinking ahead to next year to allow yourself to keep progressing and improving your running?
As we get into the middle of summer, many races involve running in severely hot weather. The most experienced runners use several tricks to deal with this, which are most evident at two Californian races renowned for their searing heat—Western States 100 and Badwater 135.
Summertime means the mountains are open for runners and hikers, and the majority of the high alpine races are during this time of year. However, many runners, especially city slickers, don’t have equivalent climbs where they can train. Fortunately, there are ways to prepare for the more mountainous races no matter where you live.
One of the simplest improvements a runner can make to his or her training is to approach every run with a simple question: “What am I trying to achieve today?” It sounds obvious, but it’s all too easy to get caught up aiming for weekly mileage targets for no better reason than because they sound impressive.
No matter what mileage you run per week or how many races you have in a year, it’s helpful to have an off-season, and this is the time of year to consider how to get the most from this phase of training. This article lists some of the advantages of down-time, plus tips for getting the most from it.
One thing I’m frequently asked about is how I incorporate weight vests into training, since it’s a tool I use for myself and for those I coach. It was especially key to my attempt at the 2013 Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, where I ran 100-milers close together and had to get the most out of training while focusing on recovery.
Ian lays out tactics for optimizing your performance for racing multiple ultras with less than a month between.