Barely past the halfway point of Run Rabbit Run 100 last September, my legs and feet rebelled. Stiff muscles, achy joints and soles so tender that I winced with each step conspired to abort yet another attempt to run. Dejectedly hiking in the fading light of dusk on a gentle stretch of trail above Steamboat Springs, I said to my pacer, Jacob Kaplan-Moss, “Sorry, this is all I can manage right now.”
Browsing: Training and Racing
When I first found out I was pregnant, I googled “running while pregnant” and was disappointed in the lack of information out there. There was information about Olympic athletes and information for recreational runners, but not much for someone who fell in between these two categories.
The Memorial Weekend Western States Training Camp is a three-day un-timed event wherein runners cover the final 70 miles of the Westerns States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Here are my top ten reasons to do it!
I once heard someone say that two horses pulling together can pull more than the sum of the two horses pulling separately. I found the idea intriguing and went to the internet to see if this was true (because of course everything on the Internet is true). It turns out that this is a real thing!
There are many aspects of the ultrarunning community that I love, and one of the most important is the fact that at 99% of races 99% of the folks out there helping the runners are volunteers. It’s easy to take this for granted and just assume that races are volunteer run. But have you considered how a race might differ in atmosphere if the folks handing you water or issuing your bib number were paid employees?
My first experience with significant overtraining from running occurred during my two years of collegiate running for CU-Boulder. I was a decent, All-State high school runner in Colorado’s second largest school class, but my talent and experience were years behind many of my teammates like Dathan Ritzenhein, Jorge and Eduardo Torres, and Steve Slattery. Totally pumped by the simple fact that I had made the team in the annual tryout for a few walk-ons, I dove enthusiastically into my training.
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?
Over the years, I’ve seen numerous runners who, in my opinion, have put undue focus on a race. They become totally fixated on doing well at a particular event that they almost feel that they should not enjoy the training, as if in some way suffering through hard training is part and parcel with doing well on race day. This is totally wrong.
By understanding the physiology behind thermoregulation, we can be better prepared for our summer events. Here’s what you need to know about what causes body heat to increase, heat loss mechanisms, why athletes perform worse in the heat and factors to improve performance in the heat.
There is no question that fatigue is the result of physiological compromises in a host of bodily systems (muscular, nervous, hormonal, skeletal, respiratory, cardiovascular, etc.) during an endurance event. However even more critical to this weakening of the systems is the perception of fatigue being encountered. It is the brain that continuously monitors endurance performance and it this organ that eventually determines how far fatigue will be endured.
Back in my day, I had to thumb through printed magazines to locate obscure little ultras and go to register with pen and paper and pay by check that I mailed FROM A POST OFFICE! I didn’t get no fancy tri-blend shirt, elevation tattoo, battery powered finisher buckle, or handcrafted microbrew!
No one watches the long-range weather forecast like an ultrarunner. Whether we are planning some long training run or preparing for an event, nothing weighs as heavily on us as the forecast. Of course, it really makes little difference if we are headed to a race. Having invested our children’s inheritance in the entry fee, we’re going to go no matter the weather.
A few years ago, I started pulling a tire back and forth over a local bridge as part of my endurance training, and as you can imagine, it encouraged some interesting remarks from passersby. “I think there’s something chasing you,” to “Let me sit in there,” to “My dog would love you to pull him around,” were the norm.
Just because I don’t have a snowball’s chance of hell of ever winning an ultramarathon doesn’t mean that I don’t set goals for myself. In fact, I might set multiple goals for a single race. Or I may a single goal for an entire year’s time period. The point is, goals help you keep motivated to improve and give you a benchmark to evaluate your progress.
The inspiration to write this piece comes from a lifetime of loving dogs and living in their love. I have watched throughout my life, some of the happiest moments occur between humans and their wet nosed soil-sniffing companions. I’d argue – that some of the strongest bonds of love found on this planet have been forged between the two and four-legged.
At this time of year, how did you go about planning your races and schedule for the upcoming year? Also, how did you approach these winter months? I’m getting stir crazy and want to be out there, racing long out on the trails, right now. How do you approach and handle this?
The father had always been old school and a bit old-fashioned. He was a man who could easily handle both a stethoscope and a shotgun, his life shaped by time tending patients in emergency rooms in Roseville, California, and in caring for horse riders, and then for runners, on the Western States Trail.
This is the first in a series of articles on what happens to your body during an ultra, focusing on the sparse but growing scientific literature that exists. However, physiology is extremely individual dependent, so please interpret this column with caution, as we are all different.
I circled the high school track, loop after loop, hour after hour, mile after mile. For 100 miles, to be exact. It was July in southern Utah, where summer temperatures feel like you’re standing on the sun. The high was 107 degrees. I tried to think of some profound response when people asked why I was running 100 miles around a track in July. The best I could come up with was “Well, it seemed like a unique challenge. And I had some glazed donuts I needed to burn off.”
I’m a nurse and work 12- to 14-hour night shifts. Depending on my schedule and how exhausted I feel from working nights, I’m able to train a lot some weeks, and almost not at all in other weeks. Any advice for those of us who can’t adhere to a traditional training plan, and whose weekly mileage must often vary dramatically?
The glare of florescent lights is blinding as my eyes strain to make out the man standing over me in a white lab coat. Crap. I’m in the hospital… again. The man in the white lab coat is obviously a doctor, and now that my eyes have adjusted, I can see his critical gaze. “You may want to consider not doing this again,” he says, shaking his head, muttering something about CK levels before leaving the room.
As Old Man Winter makes his callous return, those of us who’d rather forgo an alternative winter sport must make the transition into cold-weather running. And it’s not always easy. Harsh climates can make it tough to get motivated for long hours of ultra training, but with the proper planning, gear and mindset, running in snow and icy conditions can actually be pretty amazing.