Category Archives: Ultra Tip of the Day

Little snippets of ultra-wisdom from yours truly.

U.T.O.T.D: Soreness vs. Pain

I will start this with a simple clarification between the definitions of soreness and pain:  soreness indicates that you have worked a muscle or group of legpainmuscles while pain may indicate an actual injury.  If I have a pain that is sharp, extremely localized, and gets worse as I go – I watch that very carefully and make sure it isn’t (or does not turn into) an injury.  If I have soreness, I pay attention to it as it lessens as I work it out, hopefully making gains – be it running, lifting, agility.  If you train through an injury, you can hurt yourself and miss training time and as we all know, that SUCKS.  If you train through soreness you will feel less sore and overall stronger when you are done.  Like with most things workout related, this is sometimes a judgement call, as it may not be obvious if the aches and pains you feel are sore muscles or damaged tissue.  Here is where my tip of the day comes in:  Listen to your body at all times.  Not just when you first start your workout or after you are finished.   If you feel sharp pains, back off and rest.  As you feel muscles loosening up, push a little harder.  Take an inventory of how you feel periodically during your workout and adjust accordingly – but BE HONEST.  Don’t be a wuss and slack off because you are sore and then blame the pain of soreness like it is some kind of injury!  No one else cares about your excuses and you can not lie to yourself – so every run, every workout, every lift – give it all you’ve got and go be the best you that you can be!

U.T.O.T.D: Be Flexible!

Mid Pack Zach says, "You're awesome!"
Mid Pack Zach says, “You’re awesome!”

Sometimes, just like Forrest Gump observed after stomping a dog turd, SHIT HAPPENS.  I know that ultrarunners love to use plans.  Training plans, fuel plans, hydration plans…. always a goddamn plan for everything.  The difference between success and failure lies in how well you can manage to sidestep, block or catch the unplanned bullshit that comes flying in your direction.  After all, that’s what running an ultra is all about.

Be flexible!  All week, Candi and I had planned on capping a nice solid training week with a brisk 20 mile run.  Low and behold, my eldest spawn reminds me on Friday that I had committed 6 months ago to assist with a school tourney on Saturday from 7:45 to about noon.  FUUUUUUCCCKKKKK!  Some planner I am… should have added that to the calendar months ago.  Having afternoon plans pretty much nuked our chances for getting our scheduled workout in -AS PLANNED.

Fortunately, we did as we do… we got creative.  Nobody wants to get up at 3:30 am to run on their day off, but somehow 5:30am seemed perfectly acceptable.   We decided to simply split our run into 2 separate 10 milers – one before the tourney, and one immediately after.  Simple.  BE FLEXIBLE.  To add a little bonus, or possibly self-punishment, for my piss poor planning – it was also decided that since we would have to break it up, we would do both at a faster pace.  The result was 2 very solid runs that totaled our goal – faster than goal speed.  Success.

Whether it is a training run getting interrupted because  of a birthday party, a workout cancelled because Globogym was installing new Tug Toners or Shake Weights, or because you drank too many white wine spritzers last night to do speedwork at the track – DON’T PANIC! Missing a single workout isn’t the end of the world and will not cause an automatic DNF at your 50 miler in two months.  Chill the fuck out, be creative, find a new time (or substitute) and BE FLEXIBLE!

U.T.O.T.D – Have Your Shit Ready to Go

It is a damn good thing that Candi woke me up while getting ready to go to work this morning at 4:30am because I was not ready to do battle with my morning training run!  I mean mentally, yeah, I was ready.  But otherwise, I was pretty less-than-prepared.  This brings me to my Ultra Tip of the Day.

Have your shit ready to go!  This morning I had to scrounge through my running drawer, some clean clothes in the dryer, and even the nice hangers full of clothes with at least 40 miles of sweaty funk hanging of off them from last week.  After 10 minutes of textile gathering, I grab the trusty Fenix and attempt to turn on the GPS only to find that apparently electronic devices need to be charged before use.  My dumb ass left the BlueTooth on yesterday and so no data for this morning’s great run other than my looking at the clock before and after and using the gmaps-pedometer tool to track my route… better than nothing, but no mile splits or heartrate data.

This tip is simple.  Have your shit ready in advance and you can save yourself some valuable time and a decent amount of frustration.  Planning is a very important part of ultrarunning.  I have seen some great natural runners fail or totally underachieve because they are fucking terrible at organizing and planning.  This is no different.  Train how you want to race, planning included.

-Mid Pack Zach

T.O.T.D: Get Dressed

Ok!  Here is today’s tip of the day!  Not only is it the tip of the day, it is the very FIRST EVER tip of the day.  Yep.  That’s what the acronym T.O.T.D. mean.   Will I write a tip of the day every day?  Probably not – it is, afterall, not billed as “the tip of the day everyday no matter what”.  But here goes the tip for today:  

When it is burn your skin and make you miserable cold forecasted for your early morning run, don’t commit to going running.  Sometimes it really sucks to run is nasty weather, and in my opinion, there is no reason to hate your run because Jack Frost won’t get off your ass.  What I do is instead of committing to going for that run, I just commit to getting dressed in my winter gear and  going out to check it out.  You see… after a 23 minute ordeal of slipping into 4 skin-tight layers, 3 fleece layers,  a neck gaiter, a stocking hat, and 2 goddamn pairs of gloves, I usually find that I am hot as hell and need to get out into the tundra to cool off.  Great tip to get your butt out the door in the dark, cold recesses of winter.  Good luck, and stay tuned for tomorrow’s (or whenever I get around to it) tip of the day (TOTD).