Monday, December 8, 2008

The Long Run (or lack thereof)

A week away from my most important event of the year, and I have to ask: Am I ready for Hellgate? Have I put in the training to get me through 66 cold mountain miles?

The chart below shows that in the last 6 months, I have had a total of 4 runs over 14 miles. The longest run was 18 miles, in August. Following the standard ultramarathoning mentality, that ain't gonna cut it. But, what if there's more to it than just the long run?


What if the guys at Crossfit Endurance, or the guys behind the best selling book Run Less Run Faster are on to something, and quality is much more important than quantity?

Can I finish my 6th Hellgate on a long run of 18 miles (and a more recent long run of just 11 miles)? Since the end of August, I've only run longer than 10 miles twice. Is it possible? It's been done before. Can my determination and experience win out in the end? Will my knowledge of the course, my experience with race nutrition, and my general strength and fitness get me through?

I ran three time trials in the last three weeks. First an 11-mile tough run up to McAfee's Knob and back on the AT, in what might be my fastest time ever. Then just two days later, a 5K in 18:44, my fourth fastest recorded 5K time. Yesterday I ran a favorite 5.6-mile trail in my third fastest time ever. My fitness is there. What about my endurance?

Only time will tell.

3 comments:

Sophie Speidel said...

Man, if you kick my butt at Hgate on those long run miles, you will be my hero. 18:55 for 5k? Not bad for an ultrarunner!

See you Friday!

Neal Jamison said...

Thanks Sophie. I am really looking forward to seeing you there at the best pre-race meal in Hortondom.

ncultra said...

I predict your endurance will be there for you on Saturday, Neal. I think endurance persists much longer than the kind of fitness you get from shorter runs. You built up tremendous endurance the first half of the year. You'll have a good run.