Come the Fall when I attempt the Ghost Train ultra, I am going to draw upon my training like no other time before. The trick is, I know how to train for a marathon. I’ve learned how to train for 50 miles and for 50 kilometers. I have never trained for 100 miles. This is new territory.
For the last several weeks, I’ve been sticking with my tried and true training, with the addition of some pretty long back to back runs each weekend. The problem with that approach is that I’ve been running those long runs at a pace I typically train for a marathon (we always go back to what we know!). I’ve had moments during these runs where I feel like I’m hanging on by a thread and that there’s no way I’ll be able to do more than what I’m doing that day. A discussion with my coach (aka: my very wise husband) has made the light bulb finally go on.
I will be walking a lot at Ghost Train. Therefore, I must train for that. Simple.
The last fourteen or so years of “serious” running (no, you didn’t miss an alert of my change to elite runner status; by serious, I mean, incorporating running into my lifestyle instead of just jumping into races and wondering why it’s no fun), I’ve done what everyone does – always reach for the PR…the BQ…. With Ghost Train, I may be reaching for a new distance, but that’s a PR enough for me. I have a 30 hour time limit and, if I train properly, plan to meet that with room to spare.
I began implementing a run/walk ratio into my long runs. And, as much as I enjoy friends’ company during these long runs, I’ve had to start declining and going solo. It’s not them, it’s me! I tend to fall into step with them instead of following the run/walk I had planned. At this point in my training, almost all of my longest weekly runs are at least 25 miles. That leaves me out there for a really long time – if I do it right. And that’s success in my eyes. It’s time on feet I’m after. So time on feet I will get. That sort of takes me out of the playing field for a little while as some of my friends will be training for other distances. It’s a bummer because I love my running friends, but Ghost Train will be here in no time, and I will live to run again with friends very soon!
With a race of this magnitude and it being my first, I truly have no time goal (except to meet the 30 hour limit of course). My goal for the race, just as it is for my training (now that I’ve seen the light) is patience. I actually don’t worry about getting to the finish line as much as I worry about getting to the start. I believe that my quest for slow will get me to the start line.
With fourteen weeks to go, I need to make these training runs count. I must be patient and embrace the time on my feet. Yes, I could be doing a million other things during a 4-6 hour training period. But that won’t get me what I need. What I need is to be able to tuck these long run/walks into my mental and muscle memory banks so that, somewhere during the midnight-to-3:00 am time frame during the race, I’m able to make any emergency withdrawals on those memories. Just enough to get me to the next turn-around….