Last Updated on August 27, 2018 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
Patience is not a virtue I have been blessed with. Instead, I was born with a sense of urgency that is far too common in our instant gratification culture. I want to do things, and I want to do them now. This is one of the many reasons that I…and plenty of other runners…often struggle with maintaining motivation for the entirety of a 16, 20, or even 30 week training plan.
It’s easy to have motivation in the beginning, when the theoretical ink isn’t even dry on the race registration application (just translate that into 2018 ultrasignup.com digital speak). It’s also easy to find motivation when you are only a few weeks out from the race, and the “uh oh, I hope I’ve done enough” panic sets in. It’s much harder to maintain the motivation during those middle weeks and months, through crappy weather, through crazy work schedules, through family and friends saying “my goodness are you STILL training for that race?” It’s difficult to ensure that everything goes perfectly for nearly 200 days, I rarely see an athlete who bats a 100% on a training program.
But damnit, this time I’ve almost done it. Almost.
There’s been a handful of missed runs due to unexpected travel, but I’m not losing sleep over those. And of course, there’s still 6 days left of peak training, and 19 total days left until the Barkley Fall Classic for something to go wrong, but let’s not focus on that quite yet. The point is, it’s been a long summer, and a long training cycle, and while I’m still absolutely terrified of what lies ahead for me at Frozen Head State Park, I feel strong. And it’s a damn good feeling.
68.16 miles run/walked/climbed
12,035.81 feet elevation gained
18:15:19 spent training (this includes cross training and classes)
I won’t lie, friends: I’m tired. Surprisingly not sore, my body is holding up really well to the incessant training, and recovering quickly from workouts. But emotionally and mentally, I’m tired. I have had more fitful rest than normal, which is a clear sign that I’m pushing the limits of what makes my body happy…but that’s peak week (well, one of two peak weeks) for you. I expected this.
I’d love to give you a more entertaining report of the week, but my focus just isn’t there. This post is boring. If you are still interested despite that enthusiastic disclaimer, here’s what my last training week looked like:
- Leg day – strength training, all lower body and core.
- Taught a full body strength training group exercise class
- Climbed on the treadmill for an hour @ 15% incline
- Climbed on the stair climber for an hour at varying speed intervals.
- Ran 4 miles on the trail with friends.
- Went to bed utterly exhausted.
- Climbed on the treadmill for an hour @15% incline
- Taught a 45 minute plyometrics class (and did all of the exercises, they like when I join in on the fun)
- Went for a 7.5 mile trail run. Sat down a few times. Tired.
- Taught an hour long spin class
- Climbed on the treadmill for 30 minutes @ 15% incline
- Climbed up and down the stadium stairs for two hours, or 110 total flights of steps. Half of those were done with a 25 lb ruck, and it was an all around pretty miserable workout.
- Complete, 100% rest day. It was glorious. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.
- 26.2 mile run. A marathon for one. The weather was “cooler” (I guess it’s all relative – it was below 90 degrees) for once, and despite the fact that I had to run the entire thing on pavement, I felt really good.
- 4.27 more miles with friends on the trail. I tested out Geoff’s Orange Mud
jetpackhydraquiver for the first time. My legs were tired, but they kept moving.
- Taught a 75 minute spin class. Pushed pretty hard, it felt good to sweat with zero impact on my sore legs. Followed it up with a protein powder filled Acai Bowl at Costa Bowls with my friend Felicia. I felt so trendy, of course I instagrammed it. That’s what you do, right?
- Impromptu 4.27 mile run in Wilmington. We had headed up to meet with some friends, then cheer everyone on for the Copperhead Beer 20K relay. However, we missed our first meetup, and with time to spare before the race, I decided it would be wrong to NOT run on the local trails. So I did two loops around Abbey Nature Preserve, and really enjoyed stretching my legs out.
- BIG bridge repeats, for ten miles. My friend Felicia and I headed down to Charleston, SC (technically Mt. Pleasant) and ran up and down the Mt. Pleasant side of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge over and over again for 90 minutes. The climb itself is exactly 0.75 miles, and ascends around 200 ish feet. A grand total of 10 miles and 1,127 feet climbing (seriously, that’s it?) put the finishing touches on my climbing legs for the week.
WHAT’S UP NEXT:
6 more days of peak training, then it’s time to hop on the taper train. This week I hope to focus on much more elevation gain, and less running. I know I can run. I know I can cover a 50K (or 45 miles, as it may actually be). What these sea level legs need to have beat into them is the ability to climb…and climb…and not stop climbing, no matter how tired they get.
The fine details, the logistics, the gear, all of that, is on hold for taper weeks. I need something to keep my mind busy while my body relaxes, and to be quite honest, I don’t have the energy to think about it right now.
19 more days…
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.
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