Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Journey to a Barefoot 50-mile Endurance Run - Week 1 of 18

This is the first of 18 weekly installments as I train and prepare for my first 50-mile ultramarathon.  This will be the longest distance I have run with or without shoes and of course, I plan to do it barefoot.

My goal race is the American River 50 Endurance Run on April 7, 2012.  This week (of December 5, 2011) marks my first week of 18 weeks of training to come.  Each week I plan to write a short summation of my training for the week and a look toward the week to come.

My training for this race is based on the schedule produced by the Santa Clarita Runners website for ultramarathon training.  It is a schedule based on successive days of running.  I will be running Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.  Long runs are back to back on Saturdays and Sundays.  It's a fairly simple plan, but definitely rigorous.  I used a similar plan from their site when training for the Skyline 50K.  However, I lagged a bit while training for that race and did not complete several of the longer runs.

This time around I don't believe I will able to "fake it" or just "dig deep" for a 50-mile finish.  So, I intend to hit as many of the runs as possible and keep the missed runs as close to zero as I can.

So with that introduction. . . Here is Week 1 of training. . .

This past week (Dec. 5 - 11):  Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - 2 miles each;  Saturday 8-miles, Sunday 6-miles.

I officially started my training on Tuesday, December 6th with an easy, evening 2-mile run.  Even though it was quite chilly out, I wanted to be sure to start out on the right foot (a bare one).  The air temperature was hovering in the upper 30s (F) and the concrete sidewalks were definitely closer to freezing!  I remembered reading something about a barefoot snow-runner dunking his feet in hot water before snow running to get the blood flowing and feet warm before going out.  I gave it a shot - well sorta.  I ran the hot water in the tub over my feet for a couple minutes - then headed out.

One thing about cold-weather running for me is that I run much faster.  So, cold-weather runs = speed workouts for me.  I managed an even 16-minutes for the 2 miles.  I varied my run between asphalt and concrete.  I had been taking some time off of running in November so I wanted to get my feet stimulated.

The ground was cold, but not unbearably so.  I was concerned because I did have an incident last January in which the tips of my toes had swollen following a run on sub-freezing concrete.  There was no problem with that this time.  However, I did notice that the couple times I skirted across the grass from street to sidewalk that the spray of dew across my feet caused a considerable temperature change.  This happened about 3 times during the run, the last one unintended due to a person walking their dog off-leash.

The next two nights I chose to wear my Sockwa G2s.  These shoes are awesome!  They are so thin (1.2 mm) that you can really feel the ground but keep your feet comfortably warm.  On Thursday, I was having issues with my Garmin not syncing with the satellites and spent a good 5 minutes standing on the cold sidewalk - even the G2s couldn't keep my feet warm.  I finally gave up, since I knew the exact distance I was running and just took off using the stopwatch only. 

Saturday morning came and I chose to get a good 8-mile trail run (as it turned out I ended up doing about 7.4 due to avoiding wildlife photographers).  I headed out to the Cosumnes River Preserve.  The ground was very frosty and the bridge heading over to the trails was iced over.  Thankfully, I chose to wear my G2s again.  Being back on a trail was heaven!  I love the feel of the ground, rocks, gravel and well, no mud this time.  In the coming weeks, I am hoping to mix up minimalist/bare trail runs to maintain good running form.  I have managed to run cold-weather for two years barefoot.  I think I'm just being prissy this year.

I closed out the week this morning with a quick 6-mile run (about 55 minutes).  So, that is my first week of training - a total of 19.4 miles. 

The mileage plan for the coming week:  T/W/TH at 2/2/4  and Sat/Sun at 10/6

Stay tuned.  . .

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