February 08, 2013

Hibernating 101

After three full weeks away from running I'm chomping at the bit to get back at it again.

Why three full weeks off this early in the season you may ask?

Well basically my season breaks down to HURT which happened on Jan 19th, then UTMF which at 156km is all but 100 miles, on April 26th, and finally UTMB at 168km on August 30th. My goal is to do well at all of these races, to stay healthy throughout the year, and to learn from past mistakes.

After HURT in 2010 I went straight back into training the following weekend as I was riding the high of a successful race. Within the month however I got sick, and I stayed sick for the better part of four weeks. When I recovered from that flu I hit it hard in preparation for the 2010 Miwok 100km on May 1st. I was unknowingly well on my way to my first ever DNF and a forced month off of training as I was suffering from over training symptoms and iron levels that were border line anemic.

Tracking back further than this, while trying to establish a pattern here, in 2007 after my adventure racing team returned to Canada from a successful expedition race in Baja, Mexico, where we'd slept just 90 minutes in 72 hours before snagging an unofficial 2nd place overall (a much longer story as to the unofficial part). I was also riding a high from that experience and I got back to serious training within days. Three weeks later and I was so sick that I ended up with bronchitis which seriously compromised the following two months of training and impacted my entire summer.

As I sit here closing in on the end of my forced three weeks of downtime I am indeed fighting a minor head cold, though minor being the main word here. Had I not scheduled in this downtime I would surely have ended up decently sick for a month or more. I can't afford to lose time to illness this year, just as I can't afford to lose time to injury. Dare I say that I might just be learning from past experiences here.

Following HURT my body surprised me in the fact that it was definitely the best I've ever felt post 100 mile run, heck I didn't even lose any toenails this time, which I was almost looking forward to:) I very easily could have gone about training within six to seven days and though I know better I could have successfully raced the Orcas Island 50km race on Feb 2nd, where I decided to volunteer and drink beer instead. 

Jamshid showing off the greatest ping pong table ever made

The view from atop Mt. Constitution

Starters shot

In the 19 days since my 100 I believe I've run a half a dozen times, and 50% of those have been with my run clinic that I help coach at NSA on Tuesday nights, which is to say I didn't have a say in the matter:) My longest run has been all of five miles and my total mileage is probably 30 miles...actually it's less than 30 miles, wow. All that to say, I ain't kidding when I write that I've effectively shut it down for the better part of a month.

I am confident I've made the right decision though, and for a few reasons, predominantly because I'm pretty fired up to get back to training again. As of Monday Feb 11th there will be exactly 75 days until my next 100 miler, the UTMF in Japan. I'll likely start off with a 50 mile week to ease back into things and follow that up with 60 and then 75-85 mile weeks depending on how things progress. All in all I feel great right now and am somewhat impressed with myself in the fact that I put a plan to paper, in terms of scheduling in this rest period, and I've actually stuck to it without issue. 

It's time to get back to work again though, and I couldn't be more excited about the path that lays ahead. It's time to start dreaming about racing in Japan!!



Olga said...

This is so on the money! I wrote about it as well, had the same pattern in prior years, and last year after a high-ride from Blackhills 100 went straight back into training - and after 2 months broke down, and another 2 months later was deep into overtraining and low numbers across many borders. I promised to do what I preach to others:)

garobbins said...

Practicing what we preach certainly seems to be more difficult than it really should be:)


Ian MacNairn said...

Ahhh, Japan. Enjoy UTMF, Gary! It's one race I've been dreaming of doing since its inception. Would make for a wonderful trip to Japan, maybe coupled with some amazing days of ski touring!

garobbins said...

I've always dreamed of skiing in Japan!

A. B. Reese said...

Hey there I am a Washington ultra runner looking at running the west coast trail and recently did the wonderland with my brother (John Reese has the unsupported fkt). I would like to swap info with you sometime. Interested?