Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
In my training routine, nearly each day of the week is a unique type of run. Saturday is long day, Tuesday is hills, Thursday is speed work, Sunday is a long bike ride, at a modest pace, to recover from Saturday’s long run. Monday and Friday are the only “normal” runs, but since I only do that type of run 28.6% of the time, can I call it normal?
Wednesday is long-ish. Similar to the “normal” runs, but longer, though not quite as long as the extra-long run on Saturday. When in full training for a marathon, normal runs are around 16 km, the long run is about 35 km, and the long-ish Wednesday run would be somewhere around 25 km. It’s good to have a mid-week challenge.
In training for a 100-miler, those numbers have increased dramatically. Slowly over time, but the weekly total distance is nearly twice what I’d do for a marathon. I'm now running over 100 miles/week, and since you're supposed to replace your running shoes every 500 miles, I'm in need of a new pair each month.
Last week, my long-ish Wednesday training run was 36 km. A mid-week training run was greater than the longest training run I’d do in preparation for a marathon. Back in March, I had to get myself pumped up to run 18 km.
The increase in distance has kind of snuck up on me. It’s almost like I hadn’t realized I’d be out running for 2.5 hours on a typical weekday, nor that I’d burn 2,000+ calories in the process. I was wise enough to bring a light with me, since it would go from bright and sunny to pitch black by the time I finished, but it didn’t occur to me to bring anything to eat.
Things were going well for the first 30 km or so. Thankfully, the drinking fountains in Blue Hole Park are back on after being shut off for most of the summer. Water will keep you hydrated, but that’s it. Without consuming calories, even the best endurance athletes will eventually run out of energy, literally.
After sunset, the evening became pleasantly cool and my pace sagged dramatically. My legs weren’t tired and I wasn’t out of breath; there simply wasn’t any gas in the tank. I managed to trudge my way home on the dark Winters Mill Trail, with periodic walking breaks along the way. I didn’t mind so much, since it allowed me to take a closer look at the frogs who’d come out at night.
Next time I run that far, I’m bringing food.
Only 3.5 weeks remain before the big race. Only one extra-long training run, 50.5 miles, this Saturday. After that, I’ll start tapering down. The following Saturday is only 50 km...which is still considerably longer than a marathon.