Keeping the balance between doing enough training to continue to progress towards your goal but not training too much to avoid injury, fatigue and boredom is tricky. It doesn’t take much to tip the scales too far in the wrong direction. Kat tells us how she is managing this ….
My life is more or less consumed by just two things at the moment – running and my Masters thesis which is due at the end of February. My thesis has allowed me to combine my love of ecology with my love of the outdoors as a specialisation in Biosecurity and Conservation has seen me doing my field work on two beautiful offshore islands. I am pretty excited to get my thesis finished and lose the monkey which has been sitting on my back for the last year making me feel guilty whenever I start to have even a little bit of fun. For me running is the perfect escape from writing, I use it as a way to clear my head and take a break.
While I am pretty elated at the thought of handing in my thesis I am simultaneously at a point where I need to rethink my run training approach. At the beginning of February I was starting to feel a bit flat when I was training, speed training was out of the question – I just didn’t really have the energy. As I struggled my way through a Friday long session I was asking myself why I was even training, running is supposed to be fun, not a chore and certainly not something I should be forcing. It was during that run that I came to the conclusion that I was heading for the over-training territory and if I didn’t start listening to my body I could do some serious long-term damage.
In saying that I need to dial things back, I have just spent two days as a support runner for Malcolm Law on the High-50 Challenge where he is attempting to do 50 marathons on 50 New Zealand mountains in 50 days. It was an inspiring couple of days and reminded me why I love New Zealand and why I love running. The first day I ran was up Mangaweka in the Ruahines, we covered 32km and 1970m of vertical climb, spending a lot of time on the tops in mist and blustery winds. The second day marked the longest day I have ever spent on my feet. We covered 50km and 2650m of vertical climb and we were going for 14.5 hours in an epic adventure which took in Mt Holdsworth in the Tararuas. These two days were exactly what I needed to refocus my ideas on training and exactly why I am so passionate about trail running.
The general training plan for me now is to take a few days off and recover from my High-50 support days and then work my way back to my usual training schedule. Importantly, I need to make sure I listen to my body, taking more than one rest day a week if I need to and mixing some more cross training, mountain biking and road cycling if I feel I need an easier day. A pretty standard week for me would be two shorter 40/45 minute runs, two 1 hour runs, one 2 hour plus run, a cross train/strength train and a rest day a week.
Most important for me at the moment is that I go into Hillary well rested and injury free. If that means I have to dial back the miles a bit I think am ok with that.