Parenting

Ultra running training: Week 3

After a few weeks of training for her first ultra distance running event, Jennifer shares what she’s learned so far

On Sunday I needed both sunglasses and a headlamp, thanks to daylight savings!

I’m three weeks into my training for the Tread 6 Hour Trail Run and I’ve already covered 106 kilometres. While this number is amazing to me, it’s on the low side for what some of my wacky ultra distance friends rack up. What else is amazing to me is that I will only be out there longer and longer. I won’t lie — I’m a little nervous.
 
Each week I learn a little bit more about what goes into surviving high mileage weeks and I’ve already made a number of mistakes. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:
 
It’s like learning to run all over again
Nothing is the same. What I wear, how I feel and what I eat. Anything that I wore, felt or ate before might as well be tossed out the window. My running pants chafe, I was very depressed last week for a few days (more on that in a follow-up post) and I can’t eat the same foods anymore without, um, GI distress. File all of this under the mistake column.
 
Other runners want you to succeed
For the last three weeks, at least once a day, I’m throwing questions on Facebook and Twitter to my running friends. And every single one of them is full of great ideas to help me get over a hurdle. Runners are wonderful folks.
 
I was more tired than I thought I’d be
Last week I passed out each night before 9:00 p.m., most often facedown in a Curious George book in my daughter’s bed.
 
I’m less sore than I thought I’d be
For newbies like myself, the key to surviving an ultra marathon is not just lots of running, it’s running when your legs are tired and sore. What this means is a long distance run — for me, this was 19K this past Saturday and then 13K the following day. I was scared I’d barely be able to lift my legs out of bed this morning. But I feel amazing and hardly sore at all.
 
I love the comfort of having a training schedule
I’m very much a spur of the moment type of person. In all of my years of running, I’ve never stuck to a training plan, mostly because I would find something more fun to do than track or hill repeats. I’ve hit every single run workout so far, even when the weather is not co-operating. Remember that huge windstorm last week? Yup, right after supper that night I put on my gear, buried my chin in my chest and slogged out seven kilometres. 
 
My dog is a running machine
Murphy has joined me on every run. At six years old, she is no spring chicken and I do worry about how she recovers from these adventures. Truth is, she loves it (especially now that most of the trails have thawed and she can explore the woods). As our mileage increases, I am going to be extra vigilant to make sure that she stays healthy and injury-free.
 
This is what my training schedule looks like this week:
Tuesday: 5K
Wednesday: 10K
Thursday: 6.5K
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 22.5K
Sunday: 13K
 
Do you have any races coming up? What does your training week look like?