Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ultramarathon Training – trouble getting your shorts on?

I remember an article in Runner’s World from years ago which said that the most strenuous part of your training for a marathon was putting your shorts on.  What they meant was actually having the drive to get out there and run. If you put your shorts on the chances are you put your trainers on, and before you know it your running down the road.

This morning I had set the alarm for 5am, with the plan to get out for a couple of hours, see the sunrise from the top of Mount Tinbeerwah and then be back home in time for breakfast. The trouble was that when the alarm went off I woke to the sound of torrential rain and what sounded (!) like a really cold wind.

 The view from the top is spectacular, but then my bed was warm and cosy, so I got back in and then wrestled my conscience for 15 minutes. This time I got up, checked the weather forecast, mixed up some sports drink, made a cheese spread sandwich for my planned pitstop, and then put on my shorts. Normally I would have been off and getting wet, preparing responses to the “You must be mad” comments I’d get on my return.

This morning was different, even after all the preparation, I stayed put.  It was at this point I got thinking as to why I didn’t just suck it up and put up with being cold for a few minutes while my body warmed up from the run.

Put simply had the circumstances been different I would have gone, and the conclusions from this are worth noting.

Currently I am about 16 weeks out my next event (Glasshouse Mountains 100). I’ve got a good base fitness from completing the North Face 100 last month, and as you will know from previous posts my training plan allows for plenty of flexibility.

I’ve actually had a quiet week for “formal” training sessions as I’ve been very busy manually labouring, so have been getting a workout more akin to cross training than running. This has been very demanding so I am physically tired, and burning plenty of calories anyway.

Finally, at the moment I am training alone, so I am only accountable to myself.  Had there been a running partner expecting me to turn up at 5:30 this morning, I would have been there in a heartbeat. I'm far more concerned about letting someone down than I am about letting myself down.

So if you want to get motivated, get a training partner. Guilt is a great motivator! At the same time don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t completing every session in your training plan. A missed session often does you more good than harm, allowing for more recovery, tissues heal, carbohydrate stores recharge, and you get a psychological break from the shackles of the training programme.

My alarm is set early again tomorrow; I’ll let you who is more persuasive, the running angel or running devil on my shoulders!

Until then...

Happy Running,

“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” – Winston Churchill


  1. Sometimes the rest is better than the run. Given all the work you've been doing, I'd say rest was a good idea. Happy running :)

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