Let’s focus on the crap. The 10% rule. First off. It has to be the dumbest rule for running ever. I never once heard my track coaches say don’t increase your mileage by more than 10%. In stark contradiction, we would often jump more than 40% and the team did not suffer a rash of injuries or tired legs. In fact, we had very few injuries or tired legs as a team. Is this simply because we were young? Does the 10%R not apply to high school runners? Or just high school runners who have not heard of the 10%R?
I’ve always ignored this stupid rule. I’ll continue to do so as I train for my ultra. Point and case: two weeks ago I ran 21 total miles (a low mileage week comprised of a 3M run, two 4M runs, and a 10M run). Last week I ran 44 total miles (a 10M run, a 12M run, and a 22M run).
I’m not a freak of nature. I’m not those rare injury free runners. I’ve been injured before, but it sure wasn’t because I callously disregarded the 10%R. I think runners are best suited to determine how much their body is comfortable adjusting up their mileage. And if you feel comfortable enough to increase your mileage by 100% then do it.
Now, to the running stuff. All of my runs last week were on RtoT trails (nice and kind crushed limestone). Of particular beauty is the NEST, a 71M trail that I was only able to run a small part of. If you ever get a chance I strongly suggest you run this. Strangly, as I begun to slow my runs down—aiming for an 8:30/M to 9:00/M pace—I’ve developed this awful habit of rocking my right hand. What is up with that?
Perhaps the best thing I’ve read from all the ultra info is this: “You are an experiment of one.”FN1 That said, my first major long run of my ultra training was a 20M to 22M run on the Lakelands trail. This was the first time I incorporated the following things into a long run (or ever): wore recovery socks (like this excellent runner); carried a phone, carried toilet paper, and wore a Camelbak (first time ever). Also, Sunday was the first time I ever attempted a long run where the weather was in the high 70s to begin the run.
My approach was to incorporate at least one walk per 10 miles. But to take two to three walk breaks. Starting a long run at 5pm and heading directly west into the sun was not easy, but I need practice doing runs where I’m uncomfortable to begin with. At mile 4 I had to stop in order to figure out exactly how to use the Camelbak, and then to retrieve my Yurbud which fell off. At mile nine I slowed to a comfortable walk and emptied my shoes of the plethora of little rocks which had joined me for my run. I resumed my run at mile 10. At mile 15 I was feeling pretty tired, so I allowed myself a mile walk break at mile 16. Then another at mile 20. My walk times were 16min, 17min, and 17min. Almost every mile I ran was in the 8:20 to 8:35 range except for my first two miles and mile 13; all run at an 8 flat pace ±3 seconds.
That’s the good news. The bad news. I’m still running too fast. I’m struggling to slow things down. I'm rocking my hand. I never felt it, but got a huge blood blister on my right big toe. I ran out of water during my last walking mile. I failed to bring any salt tablets. Experiment of one. I love making mistakes—so long as I learn from them. And I’m excited about getting back out there and on a more challenging trail.
Lastly. I wobble back and forth as to how difficult this will be. Sometimes I am overrun with the attitude of: “Eh, it is only one mile more than double digit miles.” At other times I laugh and think: “How are you going to run 80 more miles?”
FN1: I’d credit this but I forgot where I got it, and I’m not really willing to reread all of that awful crap to let you know exactly where I found this nugget of wisdom. Deal with it.