Crazy Running Challenges and Other Exciting Adventures

Blog, Sue Cloutier

So, remember that post I wrote last week about all the crazy running that I want to do, but how I was going to rest instead and keep my focus on fall marathon training? Well, I decided that 11 days was enough rest for now, and I’d actually really like to try something different before buckling down with more marathon training. 
Enter the 10×10 Challenge! It’s pretty simple: ten consecutive days of running ten miles each day. I was reading a post on Reddit about the summer of Malmo – using short blocks of high volume of running to boost fitness – and I decided that now is actually a really good time for me to try such a feat since my endurance is pretty good right now, but I’m between training cycles.

I thought this was a very good idea until I brought it up on the podcast, and my co-host Meagan was genuinely alarmed at the thought of my running 100 miles in ten days. I laughed it off, but she seemed serious that I shouldn’t do it, and I started to reconsider.

Was I about to do something incredibly stupid? It really didn’t seem like it to me. For one, I had just run a really great marathon, and had no real post-race soreness to speak of, which I thought was proof that my body was able to handle some distance without a lot of damage. I rested for a week and a half, and was feeling good. Shins were back to normal, weight was down, and I was itching to get back out there again. But a huge jump in mileage is something to consider. Sure, I can run 10 miles no problem. But the cumulative load of 100 miles could be too much for me. I had to ask myself, How much mileage can I actually handle? How big of a jump is too big?

The last two weeks of my marathon training I ran 56 miles, followed by 44 miles. 100 miles in two weeks. Is it that big of a jump to go from 100 miles in two weeks to 100 miles in ten days? When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem like such a big jump after all, especially when none of my runs will be over two hours long.

Having finally convinced myself that, yes, I can do this, and yes, I really want to, I had to address the second part of my challenge, which I had yet to disclose here. All of this will be leading up to attempting to run a 50K ultramarathon trail race on Sunday, May 28th. Because after running 100 miles, what’s another 31?

Honestly, I don’t see myself following through on both ideas. 131 miles actually does seem quite excessive for me. I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid. Not THAT stupid, anyway. The question then becomes which do I want more? The 100 miles or the 50K? Is there a way that I can have both without completely jeopardizing my fall training?

I want the 50K more. I want to complete an ultramarathon. I want to call myself an ultra marathoner. It’s that simple. One compromise I can make to complete these two challenges, then, is to run 7 days of 10 miles, rest for a few days, and then complete the 50K to hit the 100 mile goal. That is the current direction I am leaning. If the next week of running does not go well, I also feel okay with stopping at any time, and resting until the 50K. This 10×10 Challenge doesn’t rank anywhere near my other running goals, and I am happy to give it up at ANY hint of possible injury.

Like I said, not stupid. Just crazy.

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