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.
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.