Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Contrarian

As much as I don't like it, I'm turning my training philosophy on its head during my quest for the Badwater finish line.

The hard/easy method espoused by famed coaches Arthur Lydiard and Bill Bowerman? Ha! To hell with easy days...they all seem hard.

Hit the trails instead of the roads? How will I condition my legs for the pounding dished out by the Death Valley highways? I haven't seen dirt in weeks.

Low mileage? Now, that I can deal with!

Sometimes, breaking out of one's comfort zone--no matter how uncomfortable that comfort zone might be--is needed in order to shake things up a bit. Even ultrarunners, extreme athletes of all stripes, and the super-fit or super-athletically gifted can benefit from mixing up the training regimen from time to time. And that's exactly what I'm doing.

I haven't hit the roads with this much vengeance in the last 5 years or so. But it's really starting to feel good, even though I'm in the midst of my highest mileage weeks. Something about steel needing to be tempered in the red hot fire, perhaps. I'm not sure. But I am sure that the hard, long miles are starting to show their benefit in ways I hadn't expected.

For example, I noticed a significant slowing of my metabolism and ability to "magically" produce muscle fiber about 4 or 5 years ago. Gone were the days of dropping pounds at will, when I just "wanted" them to go away. But this Badwater training, which often has me draped in numerous layers of clothing to attain some semblance of a mental training benefit, easily is helping keep me lean and mean.

I've talked with many people about how much extra weight a good ultrarunner should have on their frame before a key race. Is the "hungry" look just too fragile of a physiology for the long, grinding miles of a 100+ mile ultramarathon. I think the jury is still out on that one. But there's no amount of leaness that my taper won't be able to cure. If need be, I can (re)pack on a few extra pounds in the weeks just before the race.

Enough about weight loss and gain. It's time to hit the roads, doing away with conventional wisdom with every step. I wonder what long-held theory of mine I can turn upside down today?

1 comment:

olga said...

Well, then, I think I might want to rack some layers on myself - if it'll result in a few pounds lost:)
I don't think any jury can have a verdict on this one as there are so many different examples...there are lean Ann and Scott and not-so-lean Nikki and buff Bev and Dean and quite normal Tim...I mean, I was the fattest girl on the course of WS 2005 yet I was right next to those skinny athlete type ladies next morning...