OK, the title is a little dramatic, over the top, and maybe not 100% accurate, but that’s how I feel right now. Over the past 10 days I’ve managed to blow off two runs and cut another short. While not completely unprecedented for me, this is not the best way to train four weeks out from a hundred. Actually, let me backup and provide some context.

I’ve got 3.5 months between races this cycle, which is a pretty long break for me. I got through December after Devil Dog with fairly low mileage weeks (11, 26, 26, 26). Just chillin’. My plan was to ramp up for two months and then use the early part of March to taper into Rabid Racoon. The ramp up part went well with 45, 46, 42, and 55 mile weeks in January. February started with a 54 mile week, but since then it’s been 36 and 45 mile weeks. And the latter including a 20 miler on Saturday so not much volume in the days leading up to it. I wasn’t planning on doing a long run this week so maybe I’ll hit mid-40s. Then probably only one other 50+ mile week before my taper.

While halfway decent volume, I had been peaking about 10 mpw higher over the past couple years with a lot more weeks in the 50s. The best thing about a 10 year base of ultras though is I don’t really need to train for them at this point. It might be a little arrogant to say, but I’m always in hundred mile shape. Especially considering I’m all about completing rather than competing. It helps that the farther you go, the less pure fitness plays into the outcome and the more you can rely on experience.

Less is More

Despite my familiarity with the snooze button, I’m not sure it’s adversely impacted my running fitness. I say this based off my 20 miler last weekend. I managed to run it a little quicker than my prior long run (8:55min/mile pace vs. 8:59). Not only that, but I was able to run it with even splits. 8:55 pace for the first 10 miles and then 8:55 for the back half. I was +20 seconds per mile slower for the second half the first time I ran this route last month and +10 seconds a couple weeks ago. It’s possible I was pushing harder, but I don’t think that was the case. Maybe lower volume weeks just agrees with me. Or I’ve discovered the true secret of running!

More likely the truth is something completely different. Perhaps my strength training paying dividends for me. I’ve historically run a lot of junk miles. That being lots of miles at a very easy pace. I’m not one for workouts so I’ve typically traded effort for more miles. Not because I necessarily thought this was the best way to get faster, but because that’s how I wanted to train. Do what you want to do, and you’ll do more of it. And consistently logging miles will beat a perfect plan that’s not executed all day every day.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a bit more loafing to do.