Race training is all about dealing with unforeseen challenges

25 Feb

Training for a race is seldom without its challenges.

Just when you think things are going well, life gets in the way or a new problem emerges that makes you re-think your plans. So it’s been for me the past week or so.

Heel blister.

Heel blister.

I now have 5 weeks to my first ultramarathon, a 50-miler in Pekin, Ill. But over the past 10 days, my training has been interrupted by a short vacation to New Orleans and a 5-day business trip to San Diego. It’s hard to log long miles while in unfamiliar towns.

I managed to run on all three of my usual days while in New Orleans. I didn’t run as far as I had been, and my long run was just something over 11 miles. But a cutback week wasn’t too bad.

But I skipped both midweek runs while in San Diego. That two-hour time change to Pacific Time plays hell with my internal time clock, and I came down with some allergies that exacerbated things.

And then Sunday’s planned long run went down the tubes. I’ve been flirting with a blister on my heel for the past few long runs, but I had avoided major problems. Today, I put a large bandage over the trouble spot before heading out, but by mile 5, I knew there were problems. When I checked, the bandage had fallen off. Rather than risk an even bigger problem, I cut my planned 20-miler to just 6 miles.

By stopping before the blister got too bad, I’ll be able to hit the road again sooner, but losing a long run at this point is troublesome.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon reading up on blister treatments. I knew blisters could be a problem in ultras, so I guess this episode has just forced me to do a bit more studying.

One of the best resources I have seen is a by runner named Jonathan Savage, who goes by the handle of fellrnr. His post on taping blisters can be found here. In the past, I’ve had a hard time getting quality supplies in town, so I ordered tape and adhesive from ZombieRunner, which caters to ultrarunners.

I hope to be able to hit the road for my next scheduled run on Tuesday, but I’m not sure what to do about the lost miles. I may try to extend my mid-week runs and slightly lengthen the next long run. But I don’t know if I’ll be able to handle the volume.

Unfortunately, there are no sure answers in race training. There are some fairly standard practices, but even the methods of the great coaches vary. And when you throw in a thousand different variables, finding the “one right answer” becomes near impossible.

In the end, we are all an experiment of one. Here’s hoping I can find a good answer for my latest training challenges.

8 Responses to “Race training is all about dealing with unforeseen challenges”

  1. runnershealth February 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Thank you for the link.


  2. marylouharris February 25, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    You are so right there are no sure answers with training – and no way of knowing what roadblocks injuries and schedules will throw into the road. I’ve lost a week of training and will soon have to make the decision whether to cancel my next race, Gotta stay flexible.


    • msmidt February 25, 2013 at 8:36 pm #

      Here’s hoping that you can stay with your next race … or set a new goal that’s just as satisfying!


  3. Achilles Niggle March 1, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    have a look at http://fixingyourfeet.com/ the Fixing Your Feet blog contains more good info about feet and blisters than it is decent to know about πŸ™‚ Good luck with the training.


    • msmidt March 1, 2013 at 1:11 pm #

      Thanks, Achilles, I will do that. I could use all the help I can get in this subject. It’s definitely something that has me nervous about the ultra.


  4. janeyand2bigwhitedogs March 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    How is the training going? I, too, have had to scale back – training for Boston in April and then my 1st 100 miler in August and recently developed a painful heel issue (that only bothers me when I run), so my mileage has dropped significantly. It is a challenge to back off, I can attest to that.


    • msmidt March 6, 2013 at 9:49 pm #

      I seem to have developed blisters on both heels lately. But since I stopped on the training run on this post, I have been able to bandage them and keep them under control. The foot care site I link to on my blog has been wonderful. The tincture of benzoin really keeps the bandages adhered to the foot.

      Now after my latest weekend double, an old hamstring attachment injury has flared again. This kept me out of marathons for three years, but I think I can keep it under control enough to manage the 50.

      I’m not fast enough to qualify for Boston nor tough enough to endure a 100, so I really admire the dedication and talent of those who can. With that in mind, I hope you can keep things on track.

      Thanks for the comment and thanks for asking. πŸ™‚



  1. GPS drawing: 50 miler pending | in the deed - March 28, 2013

    […] This post details a battle I’ve had with blisters. […]


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