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Reflections on training

(But first, someone found my blog by googling "3 mile run in 90 degree heat, is it safe?" I'd like to address that. Yes, it's safe, provided: 1. you are heat trained (or heat training), 2. you aren't doing speedwork, 3. you dump water on your head/body, 4. you are well-hydrated, 5. you pay attention to your body's signals and know when to quit. I've done much longer runs in the heat and know of many ultrarunners who run even longer distances in much hotter weather. Yes, it's safe. But be careful.)

My "duh" moment stayed with me yesterday morning, and I got up and went out for another 5.2 miles. This gave me 13.8 miles in the first three days of the week, which is pretty fantastic for how I've been going. Those 5.2 were very slow miles - on asphalt, I average 13-minute miles. I haven't been that slow since I started running two years ago! I blame it on not topping my glycogen stores properly the night before (a short, but hot, run) and not having enough PowerBar Endurance drink with me while I was out running that morning. I just didn't have enough fuel!

I realized last night that my body was not sore. I was surprised by this; I felt like I should be sore, after running 14 miles over three days after last week's run/hike at the Grand Canyon (photos are up!). It dawned on me that I was doing two things: 1. doing yoga to help my body recover, and 2. actually getting in shape! (Or maybe it's because I was so slow...)

If I were able to continue slowly building my base (in other words, if I didn't have a 50k looming next month), I think I would safely and in good time prepare my body well for the upcoming fall marathon Kiera and I have registered for.

Alas, I registered for the 50k and bought my plane tickets that fateful week this past February. The week I decided I wasn't going to date, so I would have plenty of time to prepare. The week I decided on a whim to go along with my friend's spur-of-the-moment invite to a party. C walked in the room, our eyes met, and the rest was history. Granted, my general laziness plays a much bigger factor into the whole not-ready-for-my-race thing, but I like the our-eyes-met-and-the-rest-was-history story better.

I wrote in a comment on someone's blog recently that I was anticipating a DNF at the 50k. I started thinking about it in the shower yesterday morning. Anticipating a DNF?! Isn't that like setting myself up for self-fulfilling prophecy? I was incredulous at the fact I wrote that, and even more so at the fact that I actually *was* preparing myself for that. Going into it as a training run for the marathon, thinking that if I went for 20 to 25 miles, it would be a great long run in preparation for the other race. But doesn't that de-value the whole experience?! Isn't the point of registering for a race to see if I can go the distance?! That seems almost disrespectful to go into knowing I wouldn't run the whole thing. I started feeling that I would be letting the volunteers down, letting the race directors down, taking up space in a filled-up race knowing I wasn't going the whole distance. Doesn't that just seem selfish? But then I thought, isn't the whole idea of training that much and racing that far kind of selfish anyway?

I decided I was uncomfortable pursuing that train of thought, and I washed it out of my hair and down the drain along with the foaming lather of the shampoo and turned to shave my legs instead.

I bring it back up here specifically for debate, for talk. I still don't know how I feel about it. I still don't know if I will push myself to go the distance, even if I end up hurting myself too much to recover well for the marathon. I feel like I would rather save myself for the marathon; I care more about that race - it's my first marathon distance, it's with Kiera after I begged her to do it with me.

What do you think? How do you approach racing? Distances?


You are allowed to change your mind. Maybe going to the race as a volunteer would be more rewarding for your psyche at this point.

That being said, it's good to see the consistency in the training as of late, especially with the weather.

I don't think I have enough experience with longer distances to really answer that. I will check back to see what others say. :>)

You can enter the race and just run as far as it feels good, then stop if it gets too painful. Make it a long training run, complete with aid stations. If your goal race is truly the marathon, then there's not much shame in a DNF for a longer distance race that is earlier on your schedule, that you haven't trained for.

I think if you go to a race not being mentally fit to meet your goal (time or to finish) then you already have the cards stacked against you. If you participate in a race as a training opportunity then I don't think it really matters if you quit early as long as you paid the fee and aren't taking a slot away from someone else (e.g. when the race has a limit on the number of participants). Personally I would probably go on to the finish even if I walked, but this is more of a pride issue.

Personally I havent competed in any organised sporting event in several years. As far as distance goes, over the past year I've stopped paying close attention to mileage and started running for 1-2 hours for my short runs and 4-8 hours for my long runs. For me this works better then mileage tracking and trains my body to get used to the extended effort required of a long run or climb or whatever endurance stuff I choose to do.I concern myself with directly finishing.

So right now if you plan on running a 50k, thats roughly 36miles or so. @13minute miles it will take you 7-8 hours, just ask your self if you feel prepared to commit to giving that kind of effort. That run is also at elevation and the pct can be tough so you may be looking at 9hours or so.

If I was prepping to run that kind of mileage on the pct I would be slowly ramping my long runs to about 6 hours or so then 3 weeks out taper off so your body can rebuild from training. I acknowledge that this doesnt work for everyone.

It should also be noted i am not training for racing.

If you choose to do it do it. Set your mind to it and acheive the goal you set regardless of any adversity. 90%mental 10% physical. Good luck and try and have some fun.

Yes, you're setting yourself up for failure. I think if you signed up for the race and plan on going then you should have every intention of finishing the race. Pain is temporary, forget about it. You can do it and be prepared for a fall marathon as well.

Belief will get you a long ways and it will certainly get you through a 50k on minimal training.

BTW, I say all of this with love of course.

Angie, I think that if you want to finish the 50K you can. You have done the distance before and your mind and body know what it takes to get you through if you are committed. If you are treating it like a training run I think that is fine and if you end up feeling like you need to drop to save yourself for a more important goal, I think you should make that assessment on the course. I, personally, would have a problem going into a race with the intention of dropping early if it is a filled race and others with the desire to do the full distance couldn't get in. However, you signed up first and paid the fees so it is well within your rights. Your conscience will is the one you have to answer to on this.

When I read that comment, I thought that you had no chance if that's what you were already thinking. That said, go, do what you can. If that means half or 3/4 or even 1/4, then that's what it is. As Rob said, you can walk it out if you need too.

Is the 50K PCT? Olga's race? Eric and I will be volunteering there. If you decide not to run you can hang out with us!

If I'm reading your thinking right, you are not saying that you intend to go there and do half the race and drop. You are saying that you are going to try to finish the whole race, but you recognize that you may have to stop if your body runs out of gas given you current level of fitness. That isn't defeatist, it is intellegent.

Finishing at all costs is just a macho reaction. People who do that then wonder why they end up injured or sick for months. You have the right idea...this is supposed to be fun after all.

If I felt I would not be able to complete the race, I'd pick the distance I'd want make *before* the start, then stick to that. For instance, decide I was going to run 30K, not 50K.

I think it's too easy to "wimp out" early if you go by feel. Pick a goal, and stick to it, even if it's not the full race.

And I wouldn't have any guilty feelings about "wasting" an entry spot. You paid a fee, right? If those other runners really wanted to run the race, they'd have committed to it and registered early enough.

You paid your fee for a spot in the race. What you do with that spot, is up to you. Did you feel bad when you left the movie early? No, it was your right to do, even though you paid for it. Run as much of the 50k as you feel you should, enjoy the experience and live to run another day.


Thanks for tagging me.

I don't really have much experience with a distance I'd DNF at so I can't really add much to the discussion. Just remember mental preparedness is part of the battle, but don't give it more weight than it deserves.

well, you know ME and my race attitudes! So I would say just go for it, try it, give your best, and hey, if you feel like stopping then that's ok. maybe you'll be surprised and just finish? sometimes it's better to go into a long run without the pressure of having to finish and finsh!!!!

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