Maintaining my Endurance
Over the past 4+ months, I trained more than I had ever trained before. My mileage was higher than it had ever been, my legs were stronger than they had ever been, and I felt great. After the trail ultra, I gave myself somewhat of a break (if you call running a 1/2 marathon the next weekend a break), and didn’t push my training too hard during normal weekly routes. I’ve also committed to cycling more this summer in preparation for RAGBRAI, as well as the fact that it gives my legs a break from the impact of running.
However, it occurred to me in the past week just how much I liked being at the fitness level I was at, having trained successfully for an ultra-marathon. I enjoy the runner’s high I get every time I get back from a run. I enjoy tracking my distance and coming up with new and creative routes to mix up my routine. So, although I don’t have a huge number of races planned for the summer months, and there aren’t as many longer distance races within driving distance anyway, I’ve decided to commit myself to maintaining my training level. I will continue to push, between running and cycling, to keep my endurance levels up so that I could theoretically head out at a moments notice any weekend to run a marathon, or even more!
Some of you probably think this is a tad crazy, and lord knows training for this past race was crazy enough, but training continues to give me a sense of organization and control in my life that I enjoy a great deal. By throwing in cycling, I probably won’t run as many miles as I had been, but this just means I’m working my body more completely. It also means spending more time (via cycling) with friends and a wonderful partner, which is always a bonus!
With this new motivation and goal in mind, I hit the ground running this week (well, more like hit the road cycling). I road 50 miles for the first time this past Monday, which I felt great about. Although I enjoyed that fact that I could say I had run further than I had cycled at any given time, it felt great to know I was capable of longer distances, and that I can keep pushing myself. The gorgeous view from the High Trestle Trail bride, which rests 13 stories above the Des Moines River, didn’t hurt either! I followed that up with a 20-mile run yesterday with a good friend, which I felt a bit more sore afterwards than in the past (probably because I wasn’t cycling before!), but enjoyed immensely. There really is just something about heading out for a run or ride, and knowing you are comfortable enough that you could go just about anywhere. It’s very liberating, wouldn’t you say?
So, I may not be currently registered for another marathon or ultra-marathon (I’m planning my Fall race schedule right now), but I’m going to train like I am every week, and enjoy the personal satisfaction that comes along with it!