It’s eight weeks until race day, but it feels like crunch time is approaching rapidly.
Scratch that. It doesn’t feel like crunch time is approaching rapidly; crunch time really is here.
Eight weeks until race day means six weeks until taper time, which means the most important training — mileage, weights, hill repeats, etc… — have to be taking place right now.
That was the case this week. The plan called for adopting a strategy that is preached by friend and veteran ultra-runner Danny Miller: Run 10 miles per day, day after day, until you have covered the total distance that your race calls for. In this case, that means five straight days of 10-milers.
My previous personal best for miles in a week was 36. I started the Five 10’s on Tuesday and concluded yesterday, giving me 50 miles for the week and 65 total during a seven-day period going back to last Sunday.
Each day was progressively more grueling, although my times were consistent. The fastest day — day four — took 1:55. The slowest — day two — took 2:05.
The purpose of the routine was to train the body to bounce back quickly, adapt to pain, and keep going when it wants to stop. Actually, that’s only half of it. The other half, and probably the more important half, was to train the mind to endure and keep going.
Day four marked a significant mental breakthrough, as indicated in part by the time. My pace wasn’t any faster that day, and it was the second most painful day of the five, but I simply didn’t take any walking breaks when a knee, ankle or hamstring would begin to scream at me. Eventually the temporary flare-ups would fade away.
This week’s training elevated my mileage base. The goal of the next week will be to recover, get stronger, and put greater emphasis on climbing since the Leadville Silver Rush 50-Mile Run has about 7,300 feet of climbing with six climbs up to 12,000 feet. The Saturday or Sunday long run likely will be replaced by a half marathon on Ogg Road for extensive climbing — and downhill — training.
The following week’s long run will be a time-on-feet training day of five to six hours. After that, more climbing practice, more time on feet, and more counting down to race day.
Crunch time is here, and it’s just beginning.