This is gonna leave a mark.
I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I signed up for a mid-January 50K. It may have been that a nice long run would be a good way to kick off C&O Canal 100 training. Or maybe that a 50K in the middle of winter would be a fun new challenge. Or it may have been that this must be an awesome race since it sold out last year so I’ve got to run it this year no matter what.
Two days out from the race and I’m now thinking that I’m an idiot. You see, my training has pretty much just started after a 2 month hiatus. I’ve done only 2 runs over 10 miles in the past 3 months. The most miles I’ve ran in a week over this period is 36 or only 5 more than what I’ll be tackling on Saturday. I’ve done no hill repeats. No speed work. Heck, after my first double digit run, I went to Florida with the family and basically took another week off. To say I’m undertrained would be an understatement.
This race will be a great way for me to determine what my base level of endurance is. I’ve been training consistently for 3 plus years now and hopefully I’m at the point where I can go crank out a marathon or 50K with little to no preparation. This doesn’t mean that I have any chance of running a PR or a strong showing. But I hope to finish the race and be able to walk the following day without a limp or any significant injury.
And that’s the biggest risk for me with this race. I’m planning on taking a week off training (i.e. no long run the following week) afterwards to help prevent injury. I have some new twists that I’ll be adding to my training this winter (speed work!), but I won’t be able to tackle them unless I’m 100% healthy.
So I’ll run this as an easy long run and try not to race it. I’d hate to jinx myself, but I think I’ve gotten better at using races as training runs over the past year. It’s tough to keep it dialed down though after pinning the number on your shorts. People are flying by you and you don’t feel that bad so the temptation is to go with the flow. Well, the flow will kick your fanny if you let it. I’m going to go with my patent pending method of not going above a 150bpm heart rate. Ideally, I would target something in the 140s this early in my training cycle, but I know I’m not capable of running that slow for longer than 5 miles or so. The higher HR keeps me out of the red zone, but still lets me run a decent amount.
The weather is looking better and better, too. Several days ago the forecast was an overnight low of mid-20s, high of 40 on Saturday, and freezing rain. Can you imagine? It now looks like high-30s as the low on Friday, getting up to 44, and no rain. Not quite ideal running weather, but better than you could hope for during January. I’m starting to get very excited for the run. New trails are always fun to explore.
How much does potential weather impact which races you sign up for?