In my opinion, there is no “magical” number in terms of the number of miles runners must run each week to be ready for a race. In fact, opinions vary widely as to how much is necessary. I have friends that routinely log 120 miles per week, and others who have completed tough 100 milers on less than 40 miles per week. This being said, the number 100 just sounds nice. I feel that if I can log 100 miles over a 7-10 day period leading up to a race, I am “ready”. Even if this is just a mental boost, it seems to help me.
I am lucky to have a job that allows me to have 2 weeks off over the holidays. I used this time to log some big (for me) miles over the past 10 days. It all started with a trip to Bandera with 3 of my cross country runners who will be running the 25K race in January. I wanted to give them a tour of the terrain they would encounter. I felt like junk for most of the 10 miles we ran, but it was yet another chance for me to run in Bandera, something I have grown to love. The following 2 days found me in the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas with my friend Dave, where we logged a tough 34+ miles over 2 runs in the rugged mountains. After a rest day and easy run on Tuesday at Friedrich, I hit Bandera again on Wednesday for 15+ miles. Looking back, this might be the run that changed my mental state leading up to the race. I have never felt so good on a run in Bandera, running way more than usual, including up and over each of the 3 Sisters (I did hike a small portion of the first one). Travis and I pushed the pace and ended up logging 17.5 miles on the day. I felt like going more, but I decided to save the energy for another day.
Thursday was a rest day, as I had a friend from college in town, as well as my parents, who had driven in from Memphis for the holidays. Friday was my long day, and Travis, Tom, and myself hit the hills of Bandera yet again for 25 miles of fun. I felt great almost the entire time. Although we didn’t push as hard as on Wednesday, we ran a respectable pace, leaving me feeling good about the upcoming 100K in January. Saturday was a cold, rainy 16 miles with friends at Government Canyon. Yet again my legs felt surprisingly good (running with fast people sure helps too), and we ran most everything (including the uphills). Sunday was a “short” 10 miles at Eisenhower, which seemed easy after the running I had done over the previous week.
So much of ultra running is mental, especially for me. I find that the mental and physical aspects are tied together. When one is working well, the other usually follows. When one hits a wall, things can often snowball out of control. I know that I haven’t had a week of training like this (in terms of quality and quantity) since early summer. I feel confident and ready to tackle 62 miles in Bandera on January 7. Now if only the weather will cooperate J