Tag Archives: Goals

Some things I’ve learned along the way

Recently a friend who is going to be running in her first 100k race the Gorge Waterfalls 100k, asked me for some race day advice.  I also ran this same event last year as my first 100k race and I learned a lot from the experience.  I gladly shared some of my insights as I wished to help her as best I could.  This spurred the idea that I should share with others as well.  I’ve learned so much from fellow runners since I ventured into ultra running and I don’t think I would have made it this far on my own without their generosity.  Certainly not without a lot more pain, angst and slower progress.   This is by no means a comprehensive list, but a few important things that have been key in improving my race day performance.

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Racing in the S.O.B. 50 miler in 2015.

Run your own race.  When starting out in a race it’s easy to get caught up in all the excitement. Adrenaline is flowing, everyone is rested and happy and it’s oh so easy to push harder than you should.  If you are not paying attention you won’t even realize you are clipping along way faster than you should be. Know what your race pace is and stick to it. Following someone else’s pace or simply running too hard up that first hill climb will eventually catch up to you towards the latter stages of the race.

Be consistent in your training.  Putting in consistent mileage, time on your feet, week in and week out helps prepare your body for the pounding it will take on race day.

Listen to your body.  If something starts niggling at you don’t be overly stubborn and just keep pushing through it. This can lead to injury.  Better to ease back on training a bit before something becomes a major issue.  Be sensible in your training.  Don’t get obsessed with reaching a specific mileage every week but instead be flexible as sometimes you get sick, get a minor injury or are just plain tired and on the verge of over training so know when to take an extra rest day.  Better to miss a work out or two so you avoid injury and come back to your next run well rested and refreshed.  And don’t forget to get enough sleep.  You are pushing your body and it needs plenty of time to recuperate and it can’t do it properly without enough rest.

Practice using your equipment prior to race day.  The first few hours of my first 100k race was in total darkness. The trails were single track, tight and rocky with sections with sheer drops down steep slopes. My headlamp of choice was lacking in a major way. It was great for rummaging around in a tent, but did hardly anything to light up the trail before me.  I was extremely happy to see the sun come out later that morning.

Same goes for fueling needs.  Know what you’ll be using and have it thoroughly tried out before the race.   Also know what may be available at the aid stations, but realize that supplies run out and other things happen so not everything will be there as advertised.  Don’t try eating or drinking something new during the race. You just don’t know if it will cause you stomach issues later down the trail.

Train on similar terrain as you’ll experience in the race.  If it’s a hilly course, verify the amount of elevation gain and loss and prepare for it.  Will it likely be a warm day or cool?  High humidity or relatively dry? Expect the worst and hope for the best in what mother nature will throw at you.  Better to have that extra layer of clothing or rain gear and not use it than to be stuck out in cold, windy, wet conditions and suddenly find yourself extremely uncomfortable or even hypothermic.

Seek advice from those who’ve been there. Don’t ignore the old coot in your local running group who looks like he could be your dad or even grandpa. He may very well have decades of experience and sage advice to offer. At one time he might have been able to run circles around you before time slowed him down.

Stay inspired. Set personal goals, daily, weekly and yearly to help motivate yourself.  Have multiple goals set prior to a race.  My first goal is always to just finish and have fun.  My second goal is a finishing time that I think my training prior to the race makes realistically attainable.  Lastly, if I’m really “on” during the race then I shoot for the last goal which may be a PR for that race or distance, or finishing in the top 20% or top three in my age bracket, etc.  By having multiple goals and being flexible with them during the race will help you keep moving when things get rough.  When in such a rough spot you will have to acknowledge that a PR is just not happening today, but you will realize you can still enjoy yourself out there and finish with a sense of accomplishment.

Use social media to your benefit. Strava, Facebook and others can help you connect with other runners, find new trails, see how others train and get involved with running groups.

Read, read and read some more. The library, magazines, online blogs podcasts and websites can all be a wealth of information.  Just be sure the source is a credible one.  In my town one local shoe store carries books you can check out like a library.  They have books available that my library may not and if I really love the book I can purchase it from them.  Also, if your local library doesn’t carry a book you are interested in ask them to obtain it on loan from another branch.  You might even be surprised that they may be willing to purchase it to add to their collection.  I will list specific books, publications, web sites and podcast that I’ve found helpful in another post.  For now try reaching out and exploring on your own.

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Taking in the beauty of the surroundings while on a training run.

Lastly, have a life outside of running.  I believe it’s helpful and healthy to have other interests.  Sometimes these can be complementary to your running.  I myself have enjoyed photographing the natural landscape for years before running came along.  I currently don’t pursue it as I used to, but I am not hesitant to spend some time photographing even if it means stopping during a long training run to pull out the camera and taking a few snaps of the scenery in front of me that I find so inspiring  I also believe we need to be mindful that we don’t become so obsessed with running that these other parts of our lives begin to suffer such as your job and especially your family and friends.  They often help us make running and attending races possible.  They may have endured countless hours of hearing about our latest training runs, injuries, races, new gear we’d love to have etc. So be sure to give back plenty of love and friendship as well.  They deserve it.

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My son helping finish. My family supports and inspires me!

Hopefully some of you found some of this useful and feel free to leave your own comments with further suggestions.  Until next time, happy trails!

 

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2016 Race Schedule

Planning a race schedule for the upcoming year is never an easy task. There are many variables to consider. Personal goals and desires verses actual current physical conditioning, time to train for the events and financial costs all come into play. For me several personal goals swayed my decision.

When I ran my first marathon in 2010 all I wanted to do was finish the race and did so in a time of 4:45:00. After finishing my second marathon the following year I decided I would persue a Boston Marathon qualifying time as well as see if I could break the 3 hour barrier too. In 2014 I finished the Avenue of the Giants marathon in 3:19:58. This qualified me entry by five minutes into Boston and my best time to date. So after not running a road marathon last year I decided to give it another go and will be racing in the Eugene marathon on May 1 st. I feel quite capable of doing it in a time of 3:10:00. For the first time I have employed the assistance of a coach, who himself is a very accomplished runner, to write me up a training plan. I began it just this week and can see the benefits already. Depending on how my training goes the next two months leading up to the race I may just decide to run for a sub three hour finishing time.
My second key race of the year will be the Siskiyou Out and Back 50 miler. Affectionately referred to as the SOB. I ran this race last year and the 50k distance the previous year and I really enjoyed myself. The organizers put together a great event in a stunning location with a good chunk of the race running along the Pacific Crest Trail.


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/107069890″>SOB</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/haydenteachout”>Hayden Teachout</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

My family and I turn it into a vacation as we go camping the week before the race and it is located near the town of Ashland Oregon which is a lovely town to spend time in. Also this race will serve as serious training for my final key race of the year: Pine to Palm.  From their web page.

Course:
A remote and rugged classic point to point course traversing the Siskiyou; Mountains Range in Southern Oregon. Starting in Williams, OR the course winds it way east to Ashland, OR on a mixture of single track trail, dirt road, with less than 4 miles of pavement. The course boasts over 20,000ft of climb and 20,000 ft of loss with 3 epic climbs to 7,000ft and fantastic views of Mt Shasta and Mt McLaughlin.

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I’ve been thinking of doing a hundred mile race ever since completing my first 100k race last year the Gorge Waterfalls. To truly call myself an ultra runner I feel I must complete one of these races of 100 miles or more. Although I have some doubts I feel I can and will be prepared to succeed at this distance.
After running three 100k races and a 50 miler last year I feel it necessary to cut back a bit so I can not only finish my races but do them as well as possible. Last year I found myself simply trying to recuperate from race to race and not improving as much as I’d like to. Hopefully this strategy of running fewer races and increasing the distance of each race as the year progresses and some assistance from a coach will set me up for success. I may run a couple other races as well including the Dirty Half Marathon in the spring and possibly the Headwaters 50k Trail Race near Mt. Shasta after Pine to Palm. But these three races will be my main focus this 2016

May 1st: Eugene Marathon 26.2 miles
July 23rd: SOB 50 miles
September 10th: Pine to Palm 100 miles

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A trail racing season comes to an end

With the completion of the Waldo 100k race my tired body will get a rest from any more long races this year.  This race was my third 100k race of 2015.  The Gorge Waterfalls 100k being the first and Quick Silver 100k the second.  If I include The Siskyou Out and Back 50 miler I completed my own personal grand slam.  Not even close to the Grand Slam of Ultra Running which entails running four tough 100 mile races in one year, but I am proud of my own accomplishment  regardless.  This being just my second year running ultras I almost bit off more than I could chew.  But that’s what drives many of us who run these challenging races.  To test ourselves physically and mentally.  To see what are limits are.

Trudging up a steep, rocky section during the Quicksilver race. So fun!

Trudging up a steep, rocky section during the Quicksilver race. So fun!

I’ll spend the coming months reviewing how my races went and try to figure out what went well and what didn’t. For example was my fueling strategies adequate, how was my running pace, do I need to concentrate more of my training on hills etc.  It is a good time to reflect not just on the past year but also what the future may hold.  I will start considering what races I may try to get into for next year.  Two races on my bucket list are Western States 100 miler and the Lavaredo 119km in The Dolomites of Northern Italy.  The stars will need to align just right to make either of these happen, but who knows. That’s the fun part of race planning. Imagining oneself taking on even greater challenges in new locales.

The Dolomiti along the Lavaredo ultra.

The Dolomiti along the Lavaredo ultra trail.