The hardest phase of training

I always thought peak mileage training weeks for a 100 were as tough as it gets for ultra runners. Dragging yourself out the door for the second in a back-to-back set of long runs, sacrificing most of your weekend day just to workout, the need to eat and recover and ice in rapid succession. I think it takes a lot more strength mentally to train for a long race than to actually do one. And now I have a new standard for what’s tough. Injury.

I can’t wait until I have to run 50 miles in a weekend, seeing as I’ve run about 50 miles in the last six weeks combined. Being injured is so much more challenging mentally than any peak training week ever has been. It’s fun to put in an hour run- there’s endorphins, there’s the calorie burn, there’s the feeling of accomplishment that comes with it. But an hour of PT? Not even remotely fun. It’s boring, repetitive, unrewarding, you can’t do it with friends, you don’t get to see beautiful places, and you have to pay for it. The only reason you do PT exercises is because you know you have to. And like any good behaviorist, I recognize how unmotivated that makes me. I’ve skipped more days of PT exercises than I ever would in any normal training plan simply because it’s a chore. I know many people feel that way about running, and I always tell them I only run because I enjoy it. I don’t enjoy PT. I don’t want to do PT. But I have to do it if I want to return to what I love, and that makes it just worth it enough to not give up entirely.

Spring is here- people are racing, exploring, getting amongst it as we say, and I’m inside doing leg curls on an exercise ball. It sucks. Luckily, the toughness I’ve built from many days worth of grueling slogs up backcountry trails, or middle-of-the-night neverending fire roads helps me shut up, dig in, and do one more set of fricking leg lifts.