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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Simulating Your Race

It's good to get your body used to something.  Especially if it's going to have to get used to hard situations.  Because of the race that I'm going to do, I needed to get myself in a similar situation so that I would get the proper mental training that I would need in order to attack the race head on.  The race that I'm training for is the 12 hour race.  Obviously, I'm not going to go around and run for 12 hours to get the full feeling, because that will more or less destroy my body.  Maybe in the future, when I'm training for 24 hour races or 100 mile races, I'll do that in the weekend, but for right now, where I am, I am not at that point yet.

Making sure that I would have no food in my system, I did not eat breakfast, and instead just waited til 11 to start my run.  I put on my hydropack because it was going to be a long day and I would need water, but I didn't take anything that would give me energy or electrolytes.  My plan was to run for 3 hours at the pace I would like to run the race... but without a break.  I wanted to push myself so that I would be able to go on without the energy and without the electrolytes, during the hottest time of the day.  When I went outside, I turned on the music on my iPhone and just started running.  I tried to take it easy, but the first mile went by in 8:40, a minute faster than my most ideal goal.  I kept on running, and decided that I would just try to keep myself moving at a 9:00 min/mile pace, and although for the first ten miles, it was rather easy to do that, the lack of electrolytes and food, combined with the extra weight from the hydration pack and the heat caused me to tire quickly.  This simulation run would test the middle part of my run, when it would be the hottest and I would feel as if I would not be able to go on.  Fortunately, the hottest part of the day would come in the first half of the race, so I wouldn't have too much trouble during the last half, however, I needed to be as prepared as possible to run during that time WITHOUT energy, so that my body would attempt to gather energy from the muscle and fat from my body.

It's hard to push yourself to the point where your body is breaking itself down, but I felt that it would be something that would benefit me if I got used to it... not only psychologically but physically.  Your body doesn't naturally break itself down, and so getting to a point where your body used to that is very... consuming.  I have to put myself in a position where I have no choice but to use the reserved energy and sacrifice my muscles and fat for energy.  I just needed to make sure that I wouldn't go too far, overexerting myself, and 'ruining' my training.  I am most likely going to do another run just like that, but after that... I'm going to slow down on my training, and just make sure I keep myself in tip-top shape for the race.

During the run, I had a hard time in the second half, so I slowed down considerably, finishing my run of 18.67 miles in 2:52:10, an average of 9:12 min/mile.  I was exhausted by the end, and the first couple of hours after that, I had a difficult time with my recuperation, but after eating eggs and water, I got myself back into my normal self so that I could go through the rest of the day.

Knowing that you're going to have to go through hard times means that you need to get ready for it.  If you want to be ready for it, you need to make sure to fully understand what you're going to go through.  Take some time to figure out what you're up against, go forward, and challenge it.

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