Some athletes give themselves gifts for the holidays. New tech or gear… a race sign up or two… Maybe some shoes (curse you Running Warehouse…). I, however…
For the last 3 years I have given myself miles for Christmas. Last year this backfired and I had to take a month off. Hopefully I have learned from that experience. I sincerely doubt it though.
Like the college student who swears to be good and not drink at the party, and does a great job resisting… for the first hour or so, and then one thing leads to another and you black out and wake up in the bushes outside your apartment (not that this has ever happened to me… just sharing the experiences of a friend), I found myself looking at a very decent mileage total for me for 2014. On or about December 1 I had 15 miles to go to get to 1200 for the year. That’s awesome. With my standard 25 mile week I could easily get 1300. No. Wait. I would need a few extra.
No problem. Three or four miles extra per week and I’m good. No more than that.
But I need to start ramping up mileages for marathons, 50Ks, etc. next year, so maybe a few extras. One or two long runs… but that’s all. I swear.
Then I blacked out…
Instead of the bushes, I woke up this morning 3 days into a “challenge”. The 12 Running Days of Christmas. Twelve miles on the 13th, eleven on the 14th, ten on the 15th… etc. Until you either collapse, blow up, get hurt or make it to Christmas. Now, granted, NEXT week will be a piece of cake (or two). This week, well, sucks. The whole challenge is 78 miles in 12 days. With the majority (63 miles) coming in the first week.
…wait. I just said 63 mile week. Or, over twice my usual mileage.
What could possibly go wrong?
Lessee… Ten in the rain today. Then the temperature drops. Nine into the dark (I have to start late afternoon) tomorrow. Eight cold ones on (and not the good kind) on Wednesday. Seven fairly normal miles on Thursday and then it snows.
If I’m going to do this “Ultra” crap, this will kind of be normal. So what is the strategy?
Slow the hell down.
That’s pretty much it.
It’s all about time on my legs now. Pace means nothing. It’s almost like starting all over again. Being able to run 3 miles at 6:45 is great. But now I’m looking at running (any pace… just running), for 5-6 HOURS. It’s a totally different mindset. A completely different kind of stupid. And the whole goal is to simply avoid the bushes…