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Do The Work

I hadn’t felt like writing lately and I’m not one to force my posts, so sorry for the gap in updates! Truly the last two runners, Clark and Bill, literally covered their miles in what seemed like a cake-walk. Throughout Clark’s 180-miles in 7-days and Bill’s 200-miles in 9-days they each individually had about 4-miles of their whole segment that was trying for them… 4 MILES! If you do that math that’s about 2% of their entire segment that was tough, meaning 98% of they time they simply enjoyed exactly what they were doing (which is, in case you’ve forgotten, running consecutive marathons for a week or more!).

So what gives? How do we determine if a runner is going to struggle out here or if they are going to float across the pavement?

For me I feel there are two major determining factors: endurance base and training. Both Bill & Clark have done their fair share of marathons prior to signing up for the Relay. That’s not to say you have to be a marathon runner to do this; I certainly wasn’t before I ran the country, and Chellie & Michelle both ran their FIRST full marathon mileage on day-one of their segment. But I do feel that prior endurance training definitely helps. Simply running the distance isn’t enough. Without proper training running a marathon is doable but likely very painful during and in the aftermath.

If you check out the marathon and ultramarathon running scene you’ll likely see more middle-to-older aged individuals than twenty-something’s toeing the line. As a body continues running year after year, adding more miles, those miles count. Those miles are an endurance base. Though I wasn’t a marathon runner before my crossing I had been running literally my whole entire life so that made for a pretty wide endurance base at a younger age. If you’re new to running that’s not to say you can’t do this event, but it does mean that training is all that more important (though really training is important no matter who you are and how wide your endurance base is…).

Training is the hard part if you do it right. Training is the time alone out on the road when no one is watching; likely crack-of-dawn early or after-dinner-late when the last thing you want to do is train. Training is time, literally, just time on your feet moving forward in that methodical rhythmic running motion. For ultras you can do speed work to keep up your fitness level, but back-to-back hours on consecutive days without concern of pace is a must. Training needs to be done when you’re motivated, and done when you are completely mentally drained. Training is done in every weather system, rain or shine, snow or sleet. Training needs to be done when all your family and friends are doing something cooler and more relaxing. Training is done months in advance before the excitement of the event even grazes your schedule. Training is the hard part.

I find it amusing that though the Relay and each runner’s segment seems like it would be the ultimate effort, in actuality the true effort and example of their dedication is displayed at home, among work-life, family-life, and social-life, when they lace up their shoes and head out for a run with no one to cheer them on but their own ambition.

  • by ashleyk
  • posted at 9:20 AM
  • June 13, 2013