It should not take any one long to discover my favorite race and event of "ALL-TIME" is the Ice Age 50 mile. I ponder it everyday from about November to race day. Primarily I'm always tweaking training thoughts on what I should be doing. If anything it gets me out the door. For whatever reason, my willingness to train changes as does my reason for being out there. I like the years I get motivated to race. Some years it just becomes more important. I thought the urge would gradually fade away as I aged, but it just keeps coming back. Sometimes you just want to be in the mix.
If your looking for info on hydration, eating, supplements, et cetera, I am not the guy for that. You think I'd try and study this, but for the most part I seem to do okay taking something at every station, drinking regularly, and staying on top of my electrolytes every hour. When I'm running out there, I just try and achieve a certain feel and wait for a hot spot the last 15-20 miles. That is what my training is pointed at.
I don't feel over the hill, but myself and many of my contemporaries stuggle with doing too much, not knowing when to rest, or back off when an injury seems iminent. This is reality. I'm not going to be pounding out 80 mile weeks. I just can't or won't do it on a regular basis. It is really all about surviving the day and having something for tomorrow (Grabowski). This fits my running style, habits, tradition, or whatever you want to call it. I like to run everyday and feel like I made progress. It just seems to make me mentally and physically stronger. Sure I take days off, but more so now because it seems like the best decision.
When I tell you I have literally trained about everyway I can think of, I am not lying. I tried a put it all in the long run last year philosophy, which was basically one weekly long run, 3 shorter runs, and 3 days off. It didn't pan out for me. So, I've been pouring through the training logs trying to mine out what may produce the best results. This is what I've concluded.
1. Don't get too far ahead of yourself. Keep it fresh. Slowly increase the weekly miles. Get used to running everyday. The main training should take place starting at the end of February. Get there in one piece.
2. Get some longer runs in, but don't become a slave to them. Try and remember your running the next day. Slowly get used to the idea that Wednesday should eventually be near 2 hours. I don't need to be there right now...stay a bit hungry.
3. When you run the occasional 50k before the training begins in earnest, do it in a manner which mimics training and not throwing down the gauntlet. Stuff like this will compromise your training for a couple weeks if your not careful. Not to mention it will make Dave a dull boy.
4. Sometime in January it is okay to do some up tempo work (Grabowski language). Maybe only 2-3 miles a couple times a week, but at a solid effort. Just get used to the idea of legging it out a bit.
5. Maybe transition some of this to a weekly hill work like 4 x 2:30 up hospital hill. Again, not like the old days of blasting them, but a real solid effort...the kind that fits me and usually by myself.
6. When it is 11-12 weeks out from Ice Age, have a set plan on what you expect to do over that time. Write it down and execute. You can't run everyone else's workouts.
7. Keep these things in mind concerning the schedule.
- I won't need a run of 3-5 hours every weekend.
- I have to maintain the mid week long run.
- Resist the urge to run twice a day just to get miles in the log book.
- When I do my two faster runs a week, don't worry that the run that day didn't cover a lot of distance. Don't become a slave to the watch.
- On the easy days...run easy. I don't have to prove to myself everyday I can run fast...and don't add in extra miles.
- The day after the long run, get used to the idea of running easy for 1:00 - 1:30.
- Race sparingly.
- Train at Nordic often and consider doing 1-2 of the long runs by myself. I tend to get a better idea of what I can do rather than watching someone set the pace or go buck wild. It gives you a better feel for your personal ebb and flow. After all, at Ice Age you basically are left to your own thoughts, so get used to it.
- Lastly, don't be afraid of a little rest. At some point in time your body needs to absorb the training.