a girl’s guide to ultra training

24 11 2013

Yes, there’s been a long silence on this blog – I’ve been through a lot over the past year and half, having torn ligaments in my ankle three times within a matter of months. It hurt.  Badly.  See picture of the damage below!

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I discovered that the best method of recovery was not to cross-train, but rather to eat copious amounts of bacon and donuts (bacon-covered donuts were really the best option here, killing two proverbial birds with one stone). I always used to justify my donut habit with “10 miles in training = 1 extra donut,” but that flew out the window with an ankle the size of a small elephant.  So, it became, “10 days of no training = self-medication with as many carbs as possible” instead.  Did wonders for my mental state, not to mention my self-image.

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Having gained roughly 10 to 20 pounds and growing to two sizes bigger than I was when last running ultras, I’m finally getting back into shape.  And I am, obviously, the expert on such topics, so I figured it was time for me to share with other ladies how I “get serious” about ultra training.  After all, I win so many races, yes?  The following are the secrets to my success!

Tip #1 – save money by only buying one pair of shoes.  This way, you always have an excuse to skip a training day if your shoes are still wet and muddy from the day before, plus you can “odorize” your entry way with “foot perfume.”  Your husband will appreciate this.  Even better – purchase a really butt-ugly pair of shoes at a minimal price from the outlet mall, hence providing an embarrassment factor that keeps you off the roads as frequently as possible, even more so than due to stench.

Tip #2 – again, budgeting is of foremost concern at all times, so be sure to only own two pairs of shorts.  Wash them as little as possible, which will ensure that all of your laundry will smell like stinky crotch…which means that your husband will fold laundry as quickly as possible.  This doesn’t really have to do with training at all, but it’s kind of a fun tip nonetheless, don’t you think?

Tip #3 – why waste money on a watch?  Instead, run by “feel.”  This way, you can make all of your running friends run more slowly with you (hence, burning more fat, of course!) as you gauge training pace by “conversational pace.”  You can always fake “sucking air” if you had a late night the night before.  And when you run a 10K, your pacing strategy will make you feel mildly superior to others, even as the leader in the 90-95 age group passes you like you’re standing still.  YOU CAN STILL TALK.  He can’t.  See how good you are at pacing?  At controlling yourself?  Pfffft.

Tip #4 – during cross-training sessions at the gym, make sure to lift less than half the weights that your training pals lift.  Look for the old-fashioned dumb-bells that are super-big, but only weigh 10 pounds.  If your friends “call you” on it, simply claim you’re doing “more reps,” and then distract them with chatter.  Again, feel mildly superior when your friends are sore the next day and you feel fresh as a daisy.  You worked hard, yes?  You’re just that more in shape.

Tip #5 – milk those ligament tears for all they’re worth.  Pun intended: get some real mileage out of your excuse!  Feed the injury (mentioned above), and when your ass grows, say that you’re “gaining muscle.”  Don’t EVER run on hard trails – they’re hard after all!  You don’t have to anymore as you’re permanently “injured.”  Now you have an excuse even on roads to run more slowly than ever.

Tip #6 – get a friend to literally “run errands” with you.  There’s a mall two miles down the road?  Run there and back.  You can eat Kit-Kats en route, bonding over shared chocolate (every girls’ favorite past-time), or even drop by happy hour for jalepeno poppers and a quick drink, all while having a partner in crime.  Oh, and be sure to wear your most flattering spandex, and swing by the gaming store so that you get checked out by a group of pimply-faced awkward pubescents (“it’s a woman…what do we dooooo?”), knowing that you’re being worshipped by larpers.  It makes the run home so much easier, floating on the air of your over-inflated ego, talking about how “hot” you are with your friend.  This, by the way, makes for the most serious workout of a weekly routine.

Tip #7 – this one follows on the tail end of tip #6.  Work running into your daily routines, such as getting pedicures.  Run to and from the nail salon!  It’s infinitely practical and saves you gas money.  Plus, you can ask for a 40% discount, since you only have six toenails anyhow.

Tip #8 – hydrate well and often.  After any gym workout or cross-training session (see tip #4 above), you’re extra tired as you’ve been working those muscles in a different way than during running…so you need more nutrition!  Locate all bars within a five mile radius that have a good microbrew selection and happy hour specials on nacho appetizers.  Be sure to replenish all fluids lost (remember, “drink before thirst”) and calories (“eat before hunger”).  Extra guacamole especially helps in replacing electrolytes.  Just sayin’!

Hope that these great tips help you achieve all of your ultra dreams!!!

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