What training plan?!

Get ready to clutch your pearls….my first 100 miler is in 5 weeks and I don’t really have a “training plan” to follow.

I mean, I have an overall idea of how I want my training to look….but a plan? Nah.

Here’s the deal–after my 50 miler I had an epiphany of sorts. Now don’t get me wrong, I keep up with weekly mileage and vertical gain. In my mind I assess weekly volume and compare my long runs. But I don’t follow a prescribed plan. After my 50 miler I decided to change my approach a bit and I’m really excited about it.

My endurance is where it needs to be. I spent months and months building up a nice base. So far this year I have completed a couple of 50K’s and my first 50 miler. Note–this is not my first year of ultrarunning though! I’ve been completing ultras for a couple of years now and I’m slower than molasses… Just to give you an idea of what we’re dealing with. I don’t do crazy amounts of high mileage each week either. I know some people frown upon that, but you gotta do what works for you.

For this 100 miler I am choosing to focus now on learning to run better on tired legs. I have been simulating this by lifting heavy again on my lower body and then performing back to back long runs. I will be working on longer back to back runs before I begin to taper for the 100 miler. I’ve also been in the gym doing rowing, cycling and lifting as heavy as I can. Fatiguing my legs and then running on them as much as I can (while still preventing injury) has been my primary goal.

So far I feel great! I can tell that I am adjusting to running on tired legs. I recovered within just a few days from my 50 miler and I knew then that my endurance was where I wanted it to be. I just needed to work on fatiguing my legs more and more.

So if I had to sum up my so called non-training plan for this 100 miler, it would be as follows –

1. Focus on recovery

2. Run on tired legs

That’s it! The burning question is will this actually work out for me? Who knows! I’ll let you know in about five weeks or so 😁

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Rest. Sleep. Eat.

My motto this week: rest, sleep, eat!!

I’m 4 days out from my first 50 miler. This week I’m refueling my body by focusing on non-running activities (hiking, climbing) and proper nutrition. I took a short run this past weekend and will probably loosen up my legs with another one tomorrow.

Tapering doesn’t have to make you crazy if you fill it with other fun activities! And sleep. I can’t overstate the value of true, quality rest. It always makes or breaks my ultra experience. Early to bed each night this week–no partying for this girl!

So what else do I usually do during the week when the countdown is on for a big race? Here’s a list…

• hydrate early and hydrate often

• make sure to eat extra antioxidant-rich foods, healthy fats, omega 3’s and complex carbs

• daily cbd oil, bone/joint supplements and turmeric

• sleep, sleep and more sleep

• foam rolling, yoga and light activity

• limit alcohol consumption

That’s it. It’s pretty simple and overall very similar to my normal routine. I used to not do anything in regards to preparing for a race… But when I took the time to properly rest and fuel, the difference was overwhelming. I’m not out there to win it–by any stretch of the imagination–but I am out there to enjoy myself. And I found that these simple little things can make my experience so much more enjoyable.

What do you do to prepare for a big race?!

Cross Training and Blisters…oh my!

One of my very favorite ways to cross train has nothing to do with trail running. My second love is climbing and bouldering. I joined a bouldering league with some of my buddies and we’ve been having a blast. Last night, however, I managed to rip my hand open during a fall, resulting in a nasty, gaping blister.

And today was supposed to be a running and strength training day. I decided to grab my new Skin-On-Skin blister dressing pack out of my trail running bag and give it a whirl. It’s made by 2Toms–the ones who make the best anti-chafing sport shield on the planet. I’m lucky enough to be an ambassador for them this year and they kindly sent me this kit to try out. I was a little nervous because I don’t always get blisters on my feet from trail running… but lo and behold I was given a chance to try it out!

The dressing kit comes with this really cool blue sheet of water-based gel material that you can cut to fit the size of your blister/chafing area. It cools immediately upon contact and provides a nice cushioning buffer. Then you can cut the adhesive tape to fit just right and hold it in place. Since this kit is so customizable, I was able to fit my blister really well and get it prepped for some strength training today.

I’m sure at some point I will be needing this during a trail run so I plan on always keeping this in my hydration pack. Awesome product! I was provided this kit free of charge, however, all opinions are my own. And the blister was hard earned 😉

For 20% off your 2Toms purchase, use code ALB20:

https://www.medi-dyne.com/estore/2toms-brand

So You Want to Run a 50K…

Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion. -Simon Sinek

I am in no way an ultrarunning expert. I have successfully completed 5 “official” ultras in the last couple of years, DNF’d my first attempt back in April of 2016 and I’m preparing right now for my first 50 miler. I’m a close-to-40, special needs mama to 3, total back-of-the-pack runner and I run ultras for the pure love of the trail. I didn’t even start running until I was in my 30’s.

I love climbing mountains and pushing my body to its limits and care nothing about placing or stats. I get it done with a smile on my face because this is what I love to do–what makes me happy to be alive. It wouldn’t matter to me if I was first place or last… As long as I’m on those trails and climbing mountains.

I’ve had a lot of people who are in similar life circumstances as me, wanting to know how I make it happen. So in this post I’m going to give you my tips and top secrets–which are really just the things I’ve learned the hard way over the past 2 years!

1. Find a training plan, use it…but adapt it to your REAL life.

A simple google search will reveal tons of training plans. I actually look over several plans and then create my own. I came up with a plan that is realistic for me and works along with my crazy life. As a mom to three special-needs kiddos, my weekday runs are mostly treadmill or around my neighborhood. Sometimes I can squeeze in one night trail run with my running group. The weekends are for my long trail runs and I take full advantage.

Look at this high tech training plan I hang on my fridge! 😉

2. Add in yoga and strength training when you can.

Being injury-free is obviously a vital part of any training plan. I hope to be a lifelong runner. Staying healthy and injury free is one of my biggest goals. I incorporate strength training and yoga at home when I’m not running.

3. Whenever possible, train on the terrain you will be running for the race.

When I have a very difficult ultra coming up, I like to actually do training runs on the course (or on something as similar as I can find.) There’s nothing like knowing exactly what has to be done on race day–especially when it comes to elevation gain and technical trails.

Training runs on the actual course will go a long way in preparing you to complete the race successfully, especially if you are back of the pack like me.

4. Nutrition matters

When you are pushing your body to it’s limits, you need to make sure you are fueling it properly. Adequate protein along with adequate rest is vital for me. But nutrition during long runs is just as important! Use long training runs to prepare for the nutrition you’ll be using on race day. No surprises! Get your nutrition and hydration plan squared away long before race day. I typically use a combination of “real food” (i.e. pb&j sandwiches, salted potatoes, trail mix) and energy gels. I also use salt capsules instead of electrolyte drinks (see number 7 below.)

5. Recovery is part of the plan

Learn to listen to your body. Pushing is good when training for an ultra… but pushing beyond your limits is not. When I’m training, I like to make sure I get plenty of rest at night and take an unscheduled rest day if I need it. No guilt in missing a day of training here and there.

6. Just know that you’ll have to enter the “pain cave” at some point during your ultra.

You’ve trained, you’ve prepared and now it’s race day. But eventually you will probably hit a wall and enter what I like to call the “pain cave.” Everything hurts and you question your sanity. Why in the world am I running? Why did I do this to myself? I’m never running again! You will feel like you cannot go on and that you are physically depleted. This is when the race becomes all mental. One foot in front of the other and you push yourself towards the end. I have found that as my training progresses and my experience grows, the pain cave fades away. But I sometimes still throw a pity party for myself out on the trail. You’ve got to gain the mental toughness to push yourself forward even when your body is revolting. Long, tough training runs with friends are a good way to prepare for this!

7. Good gear can make all the difference.

Nothing can ruin a long run quicker than chafing, dehydration or blisters. These are some of my favorite tools for dealing with these long run spoilers! One reason I chose to be an ambassador for 2Toms is because it works, every time!! Their products are the only thing that prevent chafing for me, especially under my sports bra. Every ultra, every time.

psst…use code ALB20 for 20% off your 2Toms purchase of sports shield or blister kits!!

So there’s my list of tips for preparing for a 50K. What else do you wanna know?!

Recovery!

Last weekend was a fun 50K. Next weekend is the Mount Mitchell challenge – 40 miles of mountain running up the tallest peak in the east! This is what I’m doing in the meantime…

Psst…. use code ALB20 for 20% your purchase of a Range Roller! https://www.medi-dyne.com/estore/