This was big. Running the Boulder Marathon in September will feel anticlimactic. I’m even willing to admit I scheduled that run simply as an excuse to run 100 miles in one week as training. I’ve always wanted to attempt a massive mileage training plan and now I’ve done it. The higher distance weeks – 90 and 100 miles – were easier than I expected. I started at 60 miles and climbed my training echelon with 10 mile steps until I reached 100. I lost confidence somewhat between 70 and 80 but suspect that was heat related. The standard advice is to increase your distance every week by 10%, which mirrors my plan. I won’t have a sense of how effective uber distance training is until I run the marathon. I’m not expecting to run faster, rather hoping to run more comfortably. Specifically over the final 10K. If you’ve ever run a marathon, then you know how unpleasant those last six miles can be.
The waiting period between ending my massive mileage training plan and determining the results feels miles long to me. I’ll have to find something else to blog about for the next four weeks. My taper plan isn’t nearly as well defined as my uber distance plan. The actual miles will be serendipitous, 35 to 50, and ideally faster. Likely 8 mile runs on weekdays rather than 12. I won’t bother making up lost miles when I miss a workout due to a long work day. I’m not concerned with losing my conditioning. As for the weekends, I’ll be hiking Longs Peak with my neighbors. And I have a trail relay coming up. There’s always something.
My feedback on having trained massive miles is the following. I suspect most of the fatigue I felt was due more to the summer heat than lack of recovery. I felt great on cloudy days. With that said, running Saturday mornings after a late Friday afternoon run was always my most difficult workout. So hard for an older man to sufficiently recover with less than 24 hours. My best guess is I averaged a 9 minute mile pace; a bit slow for me but fine for my objective of distance over pace.
I also have a sneaking suspicion I’ve become addicted to the endorphin effects from running. I certainly have not experienced euphoric highs. Running is not morphine. For me it’s more of a calming and analgesic effect. I hesitate to say addicted, but the thing is, despite some brutally painful runs in the heat, I totally look forward to my daily runs. People have commented to me they are so impressed with my motivation to keep going but honestly, it’s become a fast moving train that’s hard to jump off. I’ve subconsciously prioritized it above so many likely more important things. Ultra distance running is quite possibly a disease. I’ve also become addicted to fruit popsicles. There are no popsicle guidelines published online but I suspect four after dinner is too many. I have no plans to abate my consumption but I do recognize the problem.
I believe I’ll see the benefit from running two to three hours at a stretch in my form. The repetition leads to optimal form. I imagine the opposite could be true. If I had a serious defect in my form, the longer runs would have quickly led to injury. Question is, will I be faster or slower? My stride length is set in concrete now. My cadence varies based on the heat index. Sort of wish I would have worn my Garmin during this training program. I didn’t see the need since I knew my distance and wasn’t expecting fast times. Pace wasn’t and still isn’t a goal, but I’m a bit interested in terms of expectations. I’m certain I’ll be able to run the marathon under four hours. Hope I run under 3:45. I recall my last Boulder Marathon being around 3:55. It’s a slow course.
Finishing up my 100 mile week with a 20 mile run was less than glorious. Combination fatigue from Friday afternoon’s 12 miler and this mornings’ heat. I walked a bit. The cold water irrigation ditch where I typically dip my hat with 3.5 miles remaining was dry. Started vomiting at 19 miles. Scared Karen after I dropped to the kitchen floor with cramping thigh muscles and screaming. I diffused that situation by sending her on an IntaJuice smoothie run. This photo is me afterward recovering in bed with my banana-strawberry smoothie. Mostly better now.