Today I am running on my favorite trail at Murphy Hanrehan Park this year. It has not been open all winter due to cross country skiing. I will run for 2 hours on the most challenging sections I can which for me comes out to about 11. 5 miles for those who like to rack up miles.
Three and a half years ago before I started training with Jake of Trail Transformation I would never have dreamed of going out and only running 11 miles. I had it in my head that I had to do 20-30 miles every Saturday and Sunday in order to build up for the long ultra marathons that I love to do. Back then I would have been starting today with already tired legs due to probably having done 2 hard workouts during the week. Today my legs felt great and my only goal was to have fun running for 2 hours on my favorite trail.
It took me a while of working with Jake to wrap my head around how this was supposed to work, but now I realize that less is actually more. I do plenty of hard workouts now but I am fully recovered in between so that I can give 100% to the task at hand.
I have been doing ultras for 6 years and at first I did keep getting a little better each year by always doing high mileage of 70-100 miles a week for most of the year. I also always had sore spots, and was on the edge of complete breakdown from injuries and burn out.
Now my times all distances of 50K or more have gotten much better, but more important I have much more fun doing it. I run less than half the miles I did before, but even more important is that when I do run I have a purpose for every run, and enjoy every minute of it. I no longer have lingering repetitive injuries, and I know that for whatever time that I am running today I have to make the best of it, since it seems to get over much too quickly until tomorrow. I may not even run tomorrow; it could be a rest day. Now there are some hard workouts that really challenge me, but those are really great also as I can focus completely on the task at hand.
Many times when I am having a hard day whether it be a race, or hard workout I have to think about my initial consultation with Jake when I had to state what I wanted to achieve out of the coaching service. My whole goal was “To be the best that I can be.” After three and a half years I still don’t know if I have found that, but I sure do enjoy the process.