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American River 50 Final Thoughts & Burnout

April 2, 2012

American River 50 is quickly approaching this Saturday and even though this is not my “prime race”, I still have some goals that I would like to hit. This is a unique race in that you run the first half of the race (Miles 1-26) on the road before switching to trails for the final half. One mistake I do not want to do is go out too fast even though it will be easy to and burn out once I hit the trails, which is also where most of the elevation gain is.

I’m counting on the fact that most of this course is runnable, lower elevation gain and supposedly one of the fastest 50 milers. I usually don’t like to post goals for races because anything can happen race day, but I think this will hold me accountable and motivate me to reach them!

Goal A Finish under 9 hours (PR)

Goal B Finish in between 9-9:19 (PR)

Goal C Finish under 10 hours

Goal D Finish

Though this is an aggressive approach (for me) to the race, I think it’s doable given the lower elevation gain compared to the other 50’s I’ve done so far. My last 50 mile PR was at Mt. Hood last July with higher elevation and I’m putting in a lot more mileage now than I was back then, so I feel fairly comfortable with these goals. However, if my injury flares up again, like it did at Avalon, I will have to re-adjust accordingly. I had aggressive goals at Avalon as well and it completely blew up in my face. However, I didn’t know I was injured when I ran Avalon so I wasn’t taking the necessary precautions going into the race. Since then, I’ve been really monitoring the pain and doing all the exercises I need to help strengthen the groin muscle. I also carry some Tylenol with me now during long runs just in case things start to feel bad.

Taper week workouts:

Saturday: 21.5 miles

Sunday: Was going to go out for another 20, but decided against it with AR in 6 days even though legs felt great. Instead ran/walked 8 easy

Monday: 8 miles

Tuesday: 5 miles AM + track workout PM

Wednesday: X-train or easy run or yoga

Thursday: 5-6 miles AM + 5 miles PM

Friday: Rest

Saturday: 50 miles!

Sunday: Depending how I feel, I’m hoping to go out for 15 miles easy recovery

Though this may not look like a taper week for some, I have to keep my eyes on the end goal, which is Zion in 6 weeks. AR will be a good training run for me, and probably my last longest distance in one day before Zion. I only have one month left to really train my hardest before tapering off the last 2 weeks. March was a bit of a lower mileage month for me, I got into a major burnout funk last week and it was really stressing me out.

It’s inevitable to face burn out (mentally and physically) when training for a long distance race. Even though I’m getting enough rest, my mind just wasn’t there. Case in point: Two times last week I drove to my usual running spot, ran less than a quarter of a mile from the car before turning back and driving home. As pathetic as it sounds, I really need to get out of the “all or nothing” mentality. Both times I had high hopes to run 10 miles and once I started running, I just couldn’t stand the thought of running any longer. It wasn’t that my legs were tired or any other excuse, my mind just wasn’t in it. I tend to have that negative mentality where ” if I can’t run X miles, then I don’t want to do anything at all.” I forget that sometimes even walking, weight lifting or x-training are just as good workouts, or rest! I gave up the first time and just called it a rest day, but the second time it happened, I was determined to work up a sweat somehow. So I hit the gym and walked 2 miles at an incline with light weights in my hand followed by a strength workout. I felt great even though it wasn’t the 10 miles that I was hoping for and my legs were well rested for a hilly 21 miler the next day. So lesson learned, taking more and one rest day a week is not going to kill me and sometimes it’s really what I need the most.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jack Rosenfeld permalink
    April 3, 2012 10:29 am

    Should be a fun weekend along the American River. I like your aggressive goals. But shoot for D and if you hit C, B and possibly A along the way it will be a great day. 🙂

    I am also going about this race aggressively. My A goal is sub 7:30 and my B goal is sub 8. C goal is PR (sub 10:02). 😀

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