Marathon Training VS Ultra Training

With 5 weeks down and 19 to go, I am quickly realizing that ultra training is independent from the training you take on for a marathon. I took on this quest knowing that the 24 weeks ahead would be demanding, but no matter what books or articles I read prior, they did not prepare me for this.

The Worst is Yet to Come

So far, my mind and body have been challenged in a manner that I never thought possible. It does not help that I am nearly a month into summer and the hottest days are yet to come. My long run for the weekend will be 18 miles and 90 degree weather is in the forcast. I am already dreading what is most likely going to be a uncomfortably hot and sticky run. I feel that no matter my preparation, it will not do much to keep me cool. All I can hope for is that my brain is capable of working through the sweat, pain, and exhaustion.

Sure, I could run on the treadmill, but I live in a very old house. The central air is not ideal in our gym room and it will more than likely feel close to what it would outdoors. In the very least, I feel like I am actually going somewhere by running outside in extreme heat.

Still, heat burdens all runners; whether you are training for a 5k or a 100 mile endurance race. For me, to have the heat on top of training that I have never touched before has only added to my present challenge.

Walking Happens

I have stressed it before and will again, running an ultra is not just about running. For those of us who are not considered elite (the majority of runners), we will never run an entire ultra. So it is important to me to incorporate walking into my long runs.

Although I have allowed this, I am constantly defending the reason why I walk. And only to myself! No one else cares. Just me! I feel weak when I choose to walk a hill. I feel like walking is going to slow me down in other endevours. Will my overall pace suffer? Will 5k, half marathon, and marathon times be slower because I am walking in my ultra training? Will I not be able to stand hills when I do resume normal runs after the JFK is over? I feel like I am losing fitness rather than gaining it by doing something I am not used to and it really bothers me.

I may come back from a long run or a trail run feeling completely beat. My muscles will be past the point of exhaustion I have ever experienced before, but somehow I will conclude that because I walked, I failed myself. I don't know how to get over that guilt!

Finding an Inspiration

Last week, I bought Eat and Run, a book written by Scott Jurek, who is considered one of the top ultra runners. I thought exposing myself to his take on ultras would help me overcome some obstacles. I read a great portion so far and I must admit, I feel slightly better. He doesn't make his adventures sound like they are all sunshine and rainbows. Even the elite have moments of defeat. Jurek details how he lay dry-heaving in 100+ degree weather while competing in the Badwater 135. He contemplated reasons and excuses as to why he found himself at this point, wanting to throw in the towel. Though I am not running Badwater and I am not even a fraction of the runner that Scott is, I am understanding that this is not supposed to be easy and there is no way one can expect what is going to happen next.

We Can Rebuild Her. We Have the Technology.

This adventure is going to be a challenge whether it is 90 degrees on a long run day or 19 degrees on race day. I will smile, laugh, bleed, and cry during this entire process, but in the end, I will be victorious. I will be thankful for the hardships and become a brand new runner. I look forward to it. I want this training to transform me. I want it to rip me to pieces and rebuild me. Still, it will suck, but I am positive that the good will outweigh the bad. I just need to learn patience...

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