I took five days off, then tried to run the Surf the Murph 50K: 12 good miles, 11 bad, 1 limped and a DNF. Then I took off a week to recover. Today I tried to run. My legs and back were stiff at the start and I had sharp pains in my right hip (opposite one from the one that's given me trouble this year). I managed a couple of miles at 9 1/2 min./mile, then my knees wouldn't let me go downhill. I walked a few minutes, then tried to start running again. I'd hoped for a long run and managed 4 miles.
Maybe this break should be permanent. Every couple of years, I think it's time to hang up the shoes and this time the feeling's pretty strong. It's not just the injuries or the fact that I don't seem to recover before the next one hits. Most runners have 10 good years, get an injury and quit. My 10 good years were 20 years ago.
Usually, I get out of this funk after coming up with a plan for another race. That's not happening this time.
A couple of thoughts:
When shouldn't you run on an injury?
If the pain gets worse the further you go, you shouldn't be running. If the injury makes you change your gait, you shouldn't run. If you start getting other injuries because you're babying the injury, you shouldn't run. If you have a fever of 102 or more, you shouldn't run.
Different plans for 100
There's basically three ways one can prepare for a race. First, do what everyone else does. Second, do what's worked for you in the past. Third, follow some esoteric plan concocted to get results and test it. That third one's a killer.
The problem is finding out what other people do to train to run 100 miles. One hears of runners who do 140 miles per week and others who claim to do only 15-20 (note the word "claim" - they don't count the almost weekly races they do). All the different plans seem to have a few things in common, so one can make a sort of schedule.
The important feature is the long run. Typically, those who finish 100s run a four week schedule. The first Saturday, they run 20 miles; the second, 30; the third 20; the fourth, 30, followed by 20 on Sunday. Every other "double" can be substituted with a 50 mile race. The miles seem to be constant, regardless of speed, though the time on one's feet gets pretty long for slower runners. Faster runners often include several miles at marathon pace during the 20 milers.
The other days appear to average an hour running, often with one off day per week.
To this is often added speedwork on Tuesdays, typically repeat miles or half-miles, often done on hills. Faster and younger runners tend to add a short tempo run on Thursdays. These faster days are often longer than an hour, typically 90 minutes.
Those who do low mileage appear to do the above, except that the easy one hour runs get substituted with other aerobic activity. Those who do high mileage do the above, but add a second run most days.
Of course, first you have to be able to run more than 4 miles without being reduced to a walk.
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