So it's been about a month now, and I'm well into my training program for the Ice Age 50 on May 11, 2013. Yesterday was an 18-miler and after death-marching it home the last two miles, I wonder how I can possibly do 50 miles? I'm feeling quite aprehensive at this point. Then I remind myself that I'll be running a much slower pace (even though my pace slowed down about a minute from the beginning of my run to the end of it yesterday). But it'll also be on trails, and I haven't had the opportunity to get on the trails since last year sometime. And I haven't run anything long on trails, either.
My previous experiences with trail running were discourarging, to say the least. I felt sore afterwards, and I thought it was hard on my feet to be sliding around, unbalanced, negotiating dips, roots, and rocks. Hard on my knees, too, the sudden ups and downs of the trail. I'm hoping that if I can get more consistent running in on the trails, I will be able to adapt to it and it won't be an issue during the race. I'm most definitely not a trail runner. Not that I'm unwilling, just haven't had much opportunity. I expect that going from roads to trails will be similar to going from the treadmill to the roads. That one winter that I ran on the treadmill and then went out and raced a 5K on the roads taught me a lesson. Treadmills don't allow some of your stabilizing muscles and tendons to get a workout because the treadmill does the stabilizing for you. I vowed never to seriously train on a treadmill again after hurting my knees that spring training for my first half marathon.
I expect going from roads to trails is similar. There are some stabilizing muscles and tendons that probably are not strong enough because they aren't used on the roads. I hope that I can strengthen them as I get more into the trail runs and I won't experience the discomfort that I did when I ran on trails sporadically.
I also need to start practicing my run/walk technique. I know I will need to decide upon some kind of ratio to run/walk. Running a whole 50 miles on trails is not practical, for me anyway. I'm thinking that I will walk all the uphills (I keep reading that in every book or article I read about Ultras), and then I'll use a 25/5 or 20/5 run-to-walk ratio. So I have to start practicing that. I've never utilized a run/walk technique so this will be new to me. I will probably start utilizing it during my first 20-miler. I don't know at what point to start the run/walk in the race, though. I've read articles where some people start running and then after several miles they start their run/walk. I also know there are people who start their run/walk right away. So how will I do it? I don't know yet. I need to do some trail training and get some practicing in. Unfortunately, the trail is snow-covered for a while, so it'll be several weeks before I can get on it.
Also dealing with some shoulder pain after my long runs. Not sure if it's a muscle thing or a pinched nerve or what. It's the right shoulder, and the pain will decrease after a few days, but immediately after a long run I can barely find a position to sleep in that doesn't cause absolute agony in my shoulder. Last night it hurt, but not as bad as my last long run. I tried working it a little bit during my run, rotating it and trying to keep it loose. I wonder if that helped? I also tried stretching it afterwards. Maybe I should try doing some stretching before my next long run and see if that helps. It's hard to move and especially hard to sleep with it hurting as bad as it does.
I'm entering into hard/easy/hard/easy weeks now, so next week will be a 12-miler. The week after that is the first 20-miler. More on the training as it happens!