I recently did a very scary thing and signed up for my first 100 miler in December. Immediately, I started panicking on what training plan to do. How many races do I do going in? Would I be ready? Was 2 years of ultra running enough of a base? Have I gone insane? I obsessed over plans. I obsessed over races. I started comparing my times to friends on Strava, and Map My Run, and Garmin. Then I realized something…I needed to slow down. Literally.
Last training cycle, I found I started to break down whenever I hit the 40 mile threshold. I was constantly battling injury and my max mileage was 160 going into Devil Dog 100K. With the heat of summer, I started to slow my usual long run pace by a lot and I noticed that I hurt a lot less. I was eyeballing the 50 miles per week max plan for a training plan and realized I was already overshooting the mileage and I felt pretty good. I was pretty shocked when I realized I hit 50 miles last week and was in one piece. I started to put together a new plan of attack. Slow it down.
I’m going to purposely slow my pace down considerably and build my mileage base up through the summer and then when the humidity drops, I can start to pick up my pace naturally. I hate running in the summer and vaguely recall nearly blacking out after most of my Cross country meets when I lived in Florida. Summer running makes me a tomato faced human salt stick and I’m reasonably sure I could drown myself in my own sweat if I passed out on the trail. Since heat acclimation isn’t needed for a December race, I’ve decided by increasing my distance base during the hot as balls months, I can start working on adding a modicum of speed work going into my October Marathon (my first actual marathon) and start picking up the pace going into my November 50 miler.
By the way, I hate going fast. Hate. Sure I can suck it up and do sub 9s in a half marathon and I can move my ass into the 7s if there is an angry squirrel involved (or a 5K ), but I hate that panicky, I can’t breath feeling. This is why I like ultra endurance, you can slow down, enjoy nature, and eat snacks. I like snacks.
So consider this my public declaration of slow.