In one week. When I first set out on this journey I’ll admit I arbitrarily landed on the number 140 as my maximum weekly mileage after reading a few books and analyzing the numbers (outlined here). I pegged myself as highly competitive (competitive against myself, that is – just to be clear!!!), therefore needing a max mileage of between 128 to 144km according to Hudson and Fitzgerald (Run Faster), and knew that Daniels (Daniels’ Running Formula) recommends 112km to 240km per week for optimal performance. I really liked the sound of optimal performance (and still do)! But I didn’t know what one hundred forty kilometres would actually feel like. Or if it was even doable!
It is doable… And it felt hard. Yet just fine all in the same breath. I ran twice per day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – only once on Sunday, Thursday and Saturday. To be honest, I was scheduled to run twice on Thursday, but when it came down to it, I didn’t make it out the second time – I fell asleep on the couch instead, the exhaustion of Wednesday nights intense tempo/interval workout finally catching up with me. I had arrived to work that morning ready to nap, but of course I had to work. So falling asleep the minute I got home was almost inevitable. All in all, 140km in one week was wasn’t nearly so crazy as I’d originally imagined when I came up with the number in early January.
While I figure I am likely capable of more, I will not attempt such a thing this round. I’m sticking to my pre-planned schedule, with its max of 140km. There are other things to focus on. For example, ensuring the quality workouts are indeed quality. I hit my paces for each session this week, although some of that may have been strategic. The wind yesterday for Saturday’s workout was ridiculous: 64-69 km per hour. I was to do 4 sets of 6 minutes at tempo pace after a 5km easy run, then 1 hour easy, followed by 20 minutes at tempo pace, and finishing with 5km easy. I strategically placed myself running into the wind and up any hills when the run was supposed to be easy pace. For the tempo’s I would turn around and fly along with the wind, easily (relatively) hitting my tempo pace. To be fair, my easy pace was slightly slower than usual because I was fighting the wind!
One hundred forty kilometres. I suppose I think it sounds impressive. And for me, so it should. If only for the fact that it is proof I can accomplish anything I set out to do – no matter how crazy I might think it originally sounds. No matter how crazy most people around me still think it sounds. I think that’s the biggest lesson I am learning of all – that you can do anything you want in life no matter how crazy you or other people think it sounds, that you are the only one who stands in your way, that success equals hard work. I am the only one who stands in my way. Here, it is about running 140km in one week and an ultimate goal of qualifying for the Boston marathon, but this lesson applies to every other area of my life. I am learning to step out of my own way and allow myself the joy of success.