As a runner, you’re supposed to listen to your body. Muscles more sore than normal? Take an extra day off. Something starting to feel a little off? Cut back your mileage for a week. Sharp stabbing pains every time you lace them up? Schedule an appointment with your doctor of choice and take the rest of the summer off. I used to think I was OK at this, however I’m starting to wonder if my body is mute (or I’m going deaf). I’m about 10 days out from BR100 and my legs feel pretty good. But they definitely didn’t have as much endurance as they should have during the race.
And looking back at my “recovery” after my prior two races provides an explanation. After NJ Ultra Fest, I took a week off and then was back up to a 20 mile week with a long run of 20 miles the following week. My mileage picked up a little quicker after Bighorn since I only had 6 weeks between it and Burning River. I rationalized this away as I only did 48 miles at that race at a walking pace (20 minute miles), but it was high effort for me considering the altitude.
So I’ve basically had seven straight months of hard training and racing with no break. My body isn’t screaming at me for a rest, but it’s definitely due for one. I have 3 months until my next focus race so it’s time to do the smart thing and hit the reset button. Sometimes you need to plan your recovery periods just as carefully as your training blocks and that’s what I’m doing here. There are three parts to my plan:
- Low mileage – Nothing over 1 mile per day for the first 2 weeks, nothing over 5 miles for the first month, and no long runs until mid-September. I’ll wait to add consecutive days over a mile until September as well. Just gonna chill.
- More core work – I completely stopped doing core exercises in May. I don’t know if this has impacted me, but it definitely didn’t help matters. Time to get back into the habit of doing a little bit every day.
- Increased hiking mileage – I would like to get in 50-60 miles during August. This is a good, low impact way to get some mileage in and still maximizing my recovery.
While this is absolutely necessary for me physically, this is really more preventative in nature. There’s nothing obviously wrong, but I can hear the ominous music in the background. So I’ll do the smart thing. Well, the smart thing would have been to do this a couple months back so I’ll just call it the right thing. One bonus is that I’ll be able to sleep in more often, which will provide increased opportunities to dream of future races.