It happens to the best of us: you sign up for a race and despite your best intentions you find yourslf with less than a week to go and are in no way ready. In my case, I signed up for my first trail marathon as a training run for the Tahoe 55k I am doing in July. I planned on building on the amazing base I built for Boston and cruising right through the trail marathon. It was supposed to be a breeze and so I never made a training plan. Then I missed 3 weeks of running after Boston and had another easy 2 weeks of running to ease back into it and to start triathlon training. Then I went to to Norway for 2 weeks and now here I am, 4 days from my first trail marathon and I haven’t even run 26 miles in a week since April. So what should I do?
Well usually my advice to someone else would be to forgo the race, or just run the half, but I have a 55k at altitude to run in just over a month so I really need to get my ass in gear. Also, I feel the responsibility to really put this new training regimen of mine to the test so that in case it turns out to be a miracle plan I can share it with the world.
My plan for survival is to just go super easy. People run 10 minute miles all the time and it doesn’t kill them. Ok so I am being a bit of a smart ass, but really I think going for it in terms of mileage and time on my feet will be good but I will certainly have to sacrifice pace because of my lack of fitness, and I will have to be ok with that because I have not done the work.
However, since I am doing basically nothing right for the race I figure I might as well break pretty much every cardinal rule of racing.
I got new shoes that I will be hreaking in. I really have very little choice here as my old trail shoes are in a Norwegian garbage dump after having been thoroughly soaked and muddied while experiencing the worst weather in over 70 years (also it was time to let them go).
I am going to be trying some new fuel options. I will be on my feet for 4+ hours and will need more then just gels. I have some cliff pizza flavored baby food like stuff I am going to try. I figure my legs will probably welcome the bathroom break if things go awry.
I have not looked at the course info at all, not even when I registered. I saw the course goes through my local parks and that was enough for me to sign up. I should probably look it over, but most likely won’t. Surprise is the spice of life right?
When I am cursing my lack of training for this race I will go back to one of the epic places I got to see in Norway:
Luckily my body is actually feeling good an despite of the lack of miles, I did get in a bunch of strength work and some really good climbing in Norway. I am totally recharged and ready to crush the next couple of months.
Here’s to winging it.