Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How do the elites do it?

Yesterday marked the beginning of week 2 of mega mileage.  I ran 68 miles last week - a new weekly mileage PR by 8 miles.  Other than the Thanksgiving Day 10k, which I raced at 6:31 pace, all of the runs have been slow.  But slow does not necessarily mean easy.  I'm trotting it out like no other.
How do the elites do it?  70 miles per week is maybe what someone running the 5k distance at a professional level may do, and those doing the marathon may even do double that distance.  I am fully aware that the professionals have the following advantages:

  • This is their full time job. 
  • They have access to therapists and masseuses 
  • This is their main focus per day.  
  • They have sponsors who help supply them with proper nutrition
  • They have access to world-class facilities
And here I am, not even at sub-elite status yet, trying to wrack up considerably high mileage, certainty high for an amateur.  It can be very exhilarating, knocking out that kind of mileage.  On the other hand, it is friggin' tiring too!  My legs definitely feel it, and while a singular 8 or 13 mile run wouldn't accrue that much soreness, doing then in back-to-back succession does the trick!  Sunday morning I ran 13.5 miles, and that was definitely a shuffle.  It's so funny how you can have speed on one day, and then just a few days later struggle to run 2 minutes slower per mile than race pace.

Aptly timed, Kara Goucher posted a video about her life as an elite marathoner: http://innovationforendurance.msn.com/videos/running/96  Way different than mine!  

Today was a single day of running: 8 miles, which I waited until the end of the day to do.  It was nice and cold, but not raining (which it had been doing all day), that I knew I wouldn't get too hot.  My legs felt a little tired, but not as much so as they had in the past few days.  I've lately been doing a lot of my runs around campus, rather than the Mall.  They are much hillier that way, and I have a lot less traffic to deal with.  Anyways, I was at mile 5, going up a very steep hill, and then there was that magic moment.  My legs "unglued" - you may know the feeling - where all of the soreness evaporated and I felt like I could go on forever.  It's moments like that when I know I am a distance runner - that it takes over 40 minutes/5 miles to warm up and feel good to go.

Anyways, I always love trying new things in regards to running, and I am enjoying the mega mileage experiment.  I don't think I'll ever run out of new things to experiment with.  I've been at this for four years now, and still am learning new things each season.  

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