So where did my fall running fall off the wagon? To no surprise, it all comes down to training. I started my year incredibly strong. I managed four consecutive months with mileage over 120 miles, and my long runs were feeling comfortable and regular. Over the summer things slacked off tremendously, but I still managed to pull out some 70-80 mile months.
The problem was that almost all of these high mileage summer and fall months were due to long races. Since the end of May (20 weeks ago) I have only had two weeks over 20 miles that were not due to long races, and only 4 other weeks over twenty miles. During those 20 weeks I have had 12 runs that were two digits, and 50% of those were races. Contrast this with the first 22 weeks of the year when I only had 4 weeks without a double digit run.
Training makes you a better runner, and when you don’t train you just end up relying on your base that you’ve built up during the previous training cycle. I had a pretty solid base built up going into Zumbro 50, and it managed to keep me going pretty strong throughout most of the year. Even my showing at the Afton 25K was strong and enjoyable. But that base can only last so long.
I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve used up that base, and I need to get it back again before I try any more ultra distance races. I need to get back into regular running, stretching, and strengthening that was what helped me with such a strong start to 2016. This means getting my legs feeling better, loosened up, and out on the trails for shorter distances while I slowly build my endurance back to where it needs to be. When I attempted the 50K yesterday, I felt great at the beginning, but that was all my body was ready to handle, and I need to spend the time in boring morning runs to get back to where I previously was.
So that’s where I think I’m at with running right now. I’ve also had to deal with some very minor injuries this year, which always throw things off. The goal moving forward is to keep moving forward and regain what I had at the start of 2016. It’s going to take time, and I can’t just jump right in (which is the hardest part), but I’m sure if I can get a solid base back up again, 2017 will have some exciting possibilities for me.