Save time: run and shower simultaneously

Today around dusk I ran an easy 8 miles around Pennington NJ (my hometown) in somewhat unusual weather for late December: 53 F and absolutely pouring rain. I don’t care if it’s a cliche, what an amazing feeling it is to get out there and just force yourself to stop giving a shit if you get wet. This minor discomfort, that minor discomfort – is there really such a thing as perfect running weather, or perfect weather, at all? Sometimes it takes circumstances that look extra trying on the surface, to make you realize that there is no such thing as a perfect day, and then you break through and start experiencing the reality of the present moment which had previously been blocked from your perception. The first few times I ran through a deep puddle and soaked a foot, I swore… but after my first loop around town I was really just lobin’ it. I hope to experience that feeling of release in a major way this summer. I’m sure the weather will comply in being completely beyond my control.

So although one of the big ideas behind the trip is to experience circumstances beyond my control, it would be foolish not to take control of the circumstances that I actually can. That might sound contradictory, but I’m talking about the things that are going to ensure my survival, i.e. intelligent preparations, packing and training. I’ve been working on getting my route worked out, and I’ll post that later, but the training is probably the biggest challenge in terms of getting myself to a level where this is going to be possible and safe.

Is there such a thing as adequate physical preparation for the act of running across Canada, averaging 30 miles a day? (To be clear, though, it’s fine by me if I feel like I have to walk a few of those miles whenever necessary). My view is that you can’t simulate that sustained, never-ending sequence of back-to-back endurance efforts without working up to a point where you’re not capable of keeping up with anything else (i.e. school, work, etc.) I’d say the whole enterprise is going to necessarily involve a leap into the unknown, and of course that’s part of the appeal. But I’m just interested in decreasing the risk of injury this summer by safely, gradually increasing my weekly mileage and the length of my weekly long run to a point where that leap is less physically impossible.

I’ve been more or less comfortably and habitually running 40-50 miles a week for a long time, so now I’m planning to increase that by 10% maximum each week until I reach about 100 miles a week, around the end of February. For the months of March and April, I’m going to mostly keep the weekly mileage around 100, occasionally a little bit higher. I’ll continue doing my one long run each week, which for the past few weeks has been in the 20-25 mile range. I’m going to gradually increase the length of that run to around 50k (31 miles) so I can get to a place where a run of that length feels pretty normal. Frankly, I don’t see a lot of speed work happening this winter/spring.

This week my target is 55 miles total, with a marathon (26.2) as my long run. I’ll probably do that in Van Cortlandt Park (NYC) on New Year’s Day and see if I can comfortably, easily do it in around 3:35. As I increase total weekly mileage, the long run mileage is going to increase at a slower pace – I’m going to concentrate on spreading the miles out more throughout my week.

I’m aware that my level of fitness and experience within the world of distance running is not one where you’d expect that running across Canada is the next logical step. But who is at that level? It’s just a slightly crazy thing to do, no matter who you are or what credentials you have. At least I have rock-solid legs, legs which have never suffered an injury in years of doing stupid things like running a 50k after a month of zero training. And probably just as importantly, I am a stubborn, driven guy with recurring dreams of running across the rockies. Sometimes I suddenly get a feeling that it is not only possible, but necessary, to do something that I’ve never done or thought possible before. I always do these things when I get that feeling. I just have this feeling that now is the time.


~ by edmundmilly on December 28, 2011.

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