Changing the Race Distance: Staying Fit While Being Sensible

Well, I’ve been quiet around here on the running front. I lost my running mojo, even after deciding to train for my first trail ultramarathon (well, first ultramarathon overall). Then I got my butt back in gear and got back into training mode, pulling a midweek 10-miler out of nowhere and then running almost 30 miles over a weekend.

My old calf injury started to flare up, but did that stop me? No. Has moderation ever been my strong point?

So right after that 30-mile weekend (which I hadn’t properly built up to), I participated in a boot camp class to kick off PlanetShoe’s #Fit4Fall campaign. High knees! Jumping! Sprinting! All of it! I ignored my aching calves and Achilles tendons.

Later that same evening, I could barely walk. I could only skate around our apartment, sliding my feet on the hardwood floors. Next day, too.

I couldn’t run all week.

The following weekend, I was supposed to run 26 miles one day, 10 the next. Since I am actually not quite as big an idiot as I may appear, I knew that would be a bad idea. Sure, if I’d stuck with my ultra training plan from the get-go, then it would have been OK. But I hadn’t. I was jumping in full-bore, midway through.

I’m not ready to train for an ultramarathon right now. I’m just not. I’m starting too late, and my calf isn’t fully healed. I don’t want to cause more or long-term problems. Plus, I missed too many long runs, and I’ll be at a conference next weekend, which means I’ll miss another long run (26 miles). Between adjusting to the kids’ new school shedules and trying to get all of my own freelance work done, I just don’t have the time right now to train for an ultra, frankly.

So my new plan? To run a trail half-marathon instead. The race I was going to run, the TARC Fall Classic, is a great trail race with several distances to choose from, from 10K to 50K. I’m switching to the half marathon, which will certainly ease up my training schedule (since I can run more than 13 miles now) and (hopefully) avoid injury. I’d like to go for the full marathon, but not until the calf has been pain-free for many months of running.

An ultra? It will have to wait until next year.


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