Now with the run only about 5 weeks away, my preparation is as much about heat training as it is mileage. Luckily, it’s getting hot here in St. Louis. A question I get more and more is: How are you training for a run like this? Do you have to run a million miles a week? Not quite…
While I don’t do the same thing every week, this past week is as close to “typical” as I’ll get. Going forward, the mileage will probably taper off a bit (although I’m going out to Death Valley this coming weekend to run different sections for a total of 40-50 miles) as we get closer, and I’ll focus on just being in a heated environment to round out my training. So far this year, I’ve run over 860 miles, and knock on wood, my body is still holding up!
Sunday- Double duty today because I had to go out of town for a conference. So, I ran 8 miles in the morning with no heat load (basically running like everyone else out there). I was lucky that the hotel I was staying in had a dry sauna, so I spent an hour in a 150 degree sauna. I took breaks (to go out and get water) totaling 1 min 30 sec, so stayed in the extra 1:30 at the end to get a full 60 in the heat. Oh, and I read a few articles and did 100 crunches while I was in there (you’d be surprised how boring sitting in a sauna for an hour can be).
Monday- Usually it’s a “rest” day, and the conference was sponsoring a 2 mile fun run, so I did that and not much else.
Tuesday- A more serious day than Mondays in general. My goal was to do 10 miles with a “medium” heat load (basically a long sleeve running shirt and sweatpants inside). I gave myself credit for the 2 miles from the previous day, so did 8, but was sweating quite a bit, so felt like I had done what I needed to do. The only problem was that the conference started at 7:30 eastern time, so to get it done I had to get up about 3:30 local time. I’ve seen 5 hour, but do they sell 15 hour energy?
Wednesday- Max heat load day. 10 miles starting at a 1% grade for mile 1, 2% for mile 2, etc. up to the halfway point and 5% at mile 5, then dropping by 1% down to mile 10. Total elevation gain- 1320 feet. For this, I was in my wetsuit pants, thermal top, silver pvc suit, thermal gloves and thermal hat. I got the room up to 85 degrees and got going. Gloves and hat lasted the first three miles, then I had to get rid of them. After 6 miles, i had to take off the silver top and stop the heater, but kept everything else on. After 8 miles, I turned the heater back on and put the silver pvc top back on for the last 2 miles. I took three 2-3 minute breaks during the time, but stayed in the room. Overall, it took me 2 hours 46 minutes to do 10 miles. Hot and slow…
Thursday- Light head load, 10 miler. Because of time constraints, I had to break it up into a 6 mile run in the morning and 4 miles at night. Strangely, I felt much better running today than yesterday! So much so that I ran my fastest 6 miles ever taking just over 48 minutes for an 8:04 pace. 4 miles on the treadmill at a 9:15 pace finished the day.Friday- Sauna again. 160 degrees, no crunches, just getting through it. Brought in a book- The Heart and the Fist. Great story about a guy from St. Louis and his experiences before and after becoming a Navy Seal.
Saturday- 20 miles. Half outside with no heat load, half inside with medium heat load, but a bit of a climb…Did the first 10 running through the Loop and Clayton. Then back home for 2 miles at no incline, and then 8 miles at an 8 degree incline to simulate the climb to Father Crowley Point. The climb starts at mile 72.3 and 1,970 feet and goes to mile 80.2 and 4,000 feet. I ramped the heat up to 91 degrees, full nylon sweatsuit and gritted it out. The 8 mile climb I did at an 18 min/mile average. A combination of running and walking (oh and sweating a bit too)
Sunday- Tomorrow, I have a 10 mile run in the heat of the day. It’s supposed to be 96 tomorrow, so no worries about getting enough heat!
So, technically that’s 8 days, but hopefully you get the idea. It seems like a lot, but I keep reminding myself that the kids have a real struggle, mine’s manufactured. It keeps me moving forward.