Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Don't Be a Stupid Runner
Trails covered with snow and ice? That's OK, I'm a tough trail runner. Heck, I'm an ULTRA runner! No problem. Yes, problem. You are stupid. You risk injury and will not gain that much fitness. You'll gain a little mental fortitude, but not enough to risk a real injury. How about hitting the roads that have already been cleared? Or that treadmill? Or just skip a day and recover so you'll consolidate all the gains you've made in your previous training efforts?
Too often I've made the stupid mistake of trying to be too much of a "real" "tough" "ultra" runner. I'm too old for that shit now. I can't risk injury just to be tough. I prefer to be a wise runner. I push it when it's feasible and I pull back when it's necessary. Older, wiser, smarter. Of course, even old dogs need to be reminded of the classic wisdom they have gained from past experiences. This past Saturday, we had about 3 inches of really crappy snow and ice on my local trails. I could have done a road route...or gone to the gym...but I stubbornly went to the trails and stumbled through 10 tough miles. Mentally it made me tougher...but physically it beat the hell out of me. My knees were sore. I can't make stupid decisions like that when I only have 39 days until the Umstead 100 miler. Most of the hard training is behind me and I simply need to keep that endurance for the next 5 weeks. Sure, with spot-on training, I might be able to enhance my fitness just a bit...or completely blow it all up with a stupid injury. Better safe than sorry. I have one more race (60km on March 9), then basic "hold onto that fitness" type training until April 6. No room for mistakes. I'll do some long hikes (time on feet is important), and a few short progressive aerobic runs, but everything else is just easy efforts. I won't lose any measurable fitness and I might gain cognitive and emotional capacity to push through when it gets tough that night of April 6...and early morning of April 7. A rested body and mind are capable of extreme performance.
I think I survived this latest bout of stupidity. My knees only have a hint of soreness. I dodged a bullet. No more stupid runner hi-jinks for the next 39 days. I'd really like to race smartly too--so no stupid runner decisions for 40 days!