The Road To 50k: Signs Of Life

The Spring Equinox is here and the Midwest is finally starting to show signs of life again. The days are getting noticeably longer and hints of green are starting to emerge from beneath the ever-present muck of this year’s cold, wet winter. While it’s too early to pack up my running tights for the season, I’m happy to report that I haven’t needed to wear my headlamp on my after-work runs for nearly two weeks. That’s a small victory, but I’ll take it!

My Strava summary for the week of March 11-17, 2019 ... my first 50-mile week in over a year.
My Strava summary for the week of March 11-17, 2019 … my first 50-mile week in over a year.

I’m now 18 days out from the Mohican 50K and I’m of two minds about my training. My workouts have been encouragingly consistent and I’ve observed a steady increase in both mileage and intensity since December. Last week, I ran both my first 20-mile long run and my first 50-mile week of 2019. I’ve looked back through my logs and this 20-miler was my fastest-ever training run at that particular distance with an average pace of 8:03 minutes per mile. Last night’s speed workout was similarly reassuring with a 7:34/mi average pace for 10 miles. I’ve run 407 miles and spun 507 miles so far in 2019, which – coupled with regular strength training and stretching/rolling – has definitely made me faster.

As a roadrunner.

The downside is that my trail runs have been increasingly few and far between in 2019. Between planned closures due to hunting season and unplanned closures due to this winter’s relentless rain, it has been nearly impossible to get in any meaningful off-road runs lately.

I think my endurance is probably at an all-time high, but I am painfully aware that road runs and trail runs are two very different animals … so I have no idea how things are going to go race day. Considering how wet and windy this winter has been, I am also curious if any course adjustments will need to be made at Mohican State Park. This 50K’s river crossings seem far more daunting when you consider the amount of rain we’ve received lately.

As my run-specific Strava data illustrates, it's been a steady climb to 50 for the last few weeks. I don't think I've ever been so consistent during a winter training season before.
As my run-specific Strava data illustrates, it’s been a steady climb to 50 for the last few weeks. I don’t think I’ve ever been so consistent during a winter training season before.

I’m expecting to spend 6-8 hours out on the trails on April 6, which is a far cry from the 3:15-3:25 full marathon pace that I’ve been training for with BERunProject. It seems a waste to squander all of that speed work, so at this point my main goal is to finish this 50K without major incident or injury so that I can move back into my road race training sooner rather than later. As long as I can finish my first 50K, I’m guaranteed a PR on April 6. I’d love to follow that up with a full marathon PR this spring, as well.

This Saturday will hopefully see me complete my longest training run before the 50K – 22 miles if all goes well – and then I’ll taper during the two weeks leading up to race day. These 50-mile weeks can take a toll when you work full-time, so I’m looking forward to a few down weeks before the race … but I’m mostly looking forward to that damn belt buckle.

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