Friday, October 28, 2011

C25K, How about 5K242K(marathon)2Ultra

I have been thinking about this for a long time.  How would I move from a 5K to running a Marathon to running an ultra?  I would do it just as I did back in 1979 when I ran the Azalea Trail Run, my first 10K.  Oops, I missed the 5K part!  Well, that is what I did.  I started with a 10K.  I ran that first 10K, in April of 1979, followed by every 10K in the Mobile, Pensacola area I could find.  I threw in a few 5Ks too.  I ran an 18 mile race in October and my first marathon, the First Annual, Barq's Root Beer, Panama City Marathon in December of 1979.  I won't suggest anyone try that training schedule.

I ran occasionally after high school, usually for two or three miles and no more.  I might go two weeks between runs then I might run two or three times in one week.  Between 1968 and 1978 I never never ran a road race.  I thought those were for really good runners and I was not a "really good runner."  My final semester at the University of Texas at Dallas I met some people that had a running route out the back of the campus for 3 or 4 miles and back.  The course went across the Texas A&M Experimental Farm, directly behind UTD, then followed Frankford Road to where we turned around.  Frankford Rd. was like running in the middle of nowhere.  All there was along the road were pastures and cows.  I wonder what it looks like today.

I felt like I ran pretty fast, at least faster than most of the others runners at UTD.  I was too busy trying to get out of school and find a job with an accounting firm somewhere along the Gulf Coast to enter any races.  I wanted to move to the coast so I could sail.  (Have I mentioned before that I love sailing - of course, I don't have a sailboat and don't have time to sail if I did.)  Occasionally I do check the internet for a J22 or J24.  At that time we had a Hobie 16 and raced almost every weekend at Lake Dallas (Now known as Lake Lewisville) or at regional races.

I found a job with an accounting firm in Mobile, Alabama and after graduation I was off to Mobile.  Within a few months I found an O'day 25 sailboat, sold the Hobie, and running took a back seat to sailing.  Then my neighbor told me about a race called the Azalea Trail Run in Mobile and he was going to enter.  He was definitely not a runner, so I decided to enter too.  I began training about 4 weeks before the race.

The following is how I trained as best I can remember, but it is pretty accurate because I used the same training pattern for years.

1.  I went out and found a 3 mile loop from my house. (Close enough to call it a 5K.  Good place to start.)
2.  I ran the three mile loop three times.  The first time it was not too hard and, of course, I don't remember how fast I ran but I probably ran about 21 minutes or a 7 minute pace.  Two or three days later I ran the 3 mile loop again at about the same pace.  This time it just about killed me.  (I remember thinking this is pointless.  I could never run six miles.)  Two or three days later I ran the 3 mile loop again and it was even easier than the first time.  (Maybe I can run 6 miles.)
3.  I added one mile to the course and started the process again, still running at the same 7+/- minute pace, and the results were the same.  Run number one of the four mile loop was not too bad.   Run number two - I thought I would die before I got back home.  It was terrible.  I was sure now I would not be able to run he race.  Run number three, what can I say?  It was once again easier than the first time I ran the four mile loop.    Maybe I can actually run the Azalea Trail Run after all.
4.  I added one more mile to the loop and again followed the same plan but I seem to remember that I did not get all three runs in before the race.
5.  A few days before the race I went downtown and ran most of the course.  I was not sure where the course actually went but I think I ran most of it.  I decided I could actually finish the race but I was afraid I would be embarrassed at how slow I would have to run.
6.  I ran the 10K.  As usual, the first mile was way too fast and it scared me to death when I saw how fast I was running.  I think I hit mile one at about a 5:20.  I was sure I would have to walk the last mile or two.   I was able to held that pace for about four miles then began to slow.  Mile four to mile five was the hardest.  Even today, the forth mile is the hardest for me in a 10K.  At mile five I realized I only had one mile to go and psychologically the run became a little easier but it still hurt.  Then there was the final 0.2 of a mile.  It felt like half a mile.

So is this my best suggestion on how to get from a 5K to a 10K.  NO!  Please remember, I ran the mile in high school and continued running "more or less" for the next 10 years.  I could go out at any time and run 3 miles at a 6 to 7 minute pace.  I would never suggest anyone try to advance from a 5K to a 10K that fast.  Over the next few weeks I will give my best suggestions on how someone should progress from "running" a 5K to "running" a 10K and on to a 100 mile ultra.  The quotes around "running" are to emphasize that I mean run the distance, not walk.  If you are planning on running an ultra you have to run.  With very few exceptions, every ultra, whether it is a 50K or 100 miles, will require you to run at least half the distance or you will miss cutoffs and be forced to drop.

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