Training Framework

Training has many different aspects to it, but I think we all have a tendency to focus on the physical running part more than anything else. Running is definitely one of the defining aspects of our training, but our training should include much more than just running.

When anyone asks us what our training looks like, we immediately go to how many miles we’re running and how many days a week. They might as what we’re training for and we’ll throw out the name of our goal race or possibly just the next one on the schedule.

Even if you’ve never really thought of it, our training encompasses more than just running. Training can be broken down into physical, psychological, and nutritional. Making sure you take the time to consider each of these separate from the other, guarantees you’ll be thinking about them and adding them to your training plan in some form.  You can set goals related to each of these different aspects of your training.

Physical training includes your running, strength training and rest days. Running is at the core of our training and it is our goal. We want to run for life not just for the next race and because of that goal all of these other aspects of training get pulled in. Being the best runners, we can be means we need to address speed, endurance, and strength in our training schedule. If you want your training to mean anything, you have to rest. Without rest our body cannot adapt and get stronger.

Psychological training includes strategies for dealing with down times during a race, lack of motivation in training, boredom, going out too fast, and rest. Ultrarunners know finishing a race hinges on pushing past the low points, and there will be low points. Getting through months of training and any injuries takes mental fortitude like you wouldn’t believe. Being prepared for these challenges is critical to getting to the starting line let alone the finish line. Psychological rest is being able to find other things you enjoy that reduce your stress level because if you get injured and have to take time off, you need to have other things you can focus on to get you through and back to running.

Nutritional training includes day to day nutrition and hydration, race day nutrition and hydration, and recovery nutrition and hydration. All runners think about race day nutrition, but not all of them think about their day to day nutrition or their recovery nutrition. The same goes for hydration. Yeah, we all laugh and say we run so we can eat whatever we want, but for most runners eating ice cream, fatty burgers, pizza, and French fries is not going to help you reach your running goals. There may be an argument for recovery though, at least for your postrace meal. Our body gives what it gets. Try different ways of fueling and hydrating your body during training, and you’ll be able to dial it in making your race a success.

Limiting our definition of training to just our weekly running schedule or our next goal race is short sighted and won’t get us what most of us want, which is to run healthy and strong for the rest of our lives.

Despite the Barriers


J$ and I planned to cycle on Saturday morning at 9:00 am. He had bowed out of swimming Friday morning at 5:30 am and trail running at 1:00 Friday due to unforeseeable family circumstances. I enjoy training with J$, but him not showing up is not enough to stop me from training. So, I swam and ran Friday and had a wonderful time.

But the Saturday ride was another adventure all together, oh I still rode don’t worry about that, it just took a lot more oomph to put rubber to the road.

J$ showed up at my house at 9:00. We were going to the island to ride since there was construction along our usual route. Neither one of us has our bike rack’s on our car. We tried to put mine on, which required resizing it to the new car. After a half hour of messing with it, we opted for just trying to fit both bikes into my car. It’s a four door Honda Civic. I lowered the back seat and slid my bike right in. We tried to put J$’s bike in the same way. We wiggled it, forced a little, pushed on the seat, it was not going in. The handlebars were about three inches too far outside the trunk. Getting it out was just as much fun.

We decided to try to slide it into the back seat of my car. It fit and we were off to the island. It was 10:20 a.m. when we reached the parking lot outside the gatehouse to the causeway. We got the bikes unloaded, but then I couldn’t find my bike shoes. I can’t ride without them because they clip into my peddles. I remembered shaking them out making sure there were no spiders in them and setting them on the kitchen table (J$ had watched a news feature about the increase in the black widow population so we were on high spidy alert).

We decided he would wait with the bikes while I drove back to the house and got my shoes. I took a different route back to the house with a faster speed limit so J$ wasn’t standing in the sun forever waiting. When I got to the house, I couldn’t find my shoes.

I searched the garage, the kitchen, living room, and my bedroom. I looked all around my yard and even went downstairs although I hadn’t gone down there that morning and knew they could be there. I searched my car. I had both boys helping me search. After I went through the whole house, I text J$ and his phone went off in his bag sitting on my kitchen table. I searched again, and again. Nothing. Where in the world could they have gone? Seriously.

Jazz (17) asked, “Did you look in J$’s car?”

I looked at him all-cockeyed. “No. Why would they be in there?”

He shrugged. “You’ve looked everywhere else three or four times.”

I was willing to do anything at this point because J$ was waiting. I peered through the window of J$’s car. There they were on the front passenger seat. I ran back into the house and dumped J$’s bag out on my bed, if he didn’t take the phone (really who doesn’t take their phone!), he probably didn’t have his keys with him.

There it was all shiny staring back up at me, I squealed with glee (no not really, but that’s how I felt) and grabbed the key running back to his car. I got my shoes jumped in my car and drove back to the island on the faster roads.

When I got there, J$ was no where to be seen. I walked over to the picnic tables and restrooms thinking he probably wanted out of the sun. Nope. I walked back over to my car. That’s when I saw it, the J$ trail marker.

jeff trail marker

I found my bike hidden behind a trailer.

There were only two places J$ could have gone, back to my house or onto the island. I called Jazz tell him the situation and told him to have J$ call me if he showed up there, but that I was going out onto the island.

It’s like 11:30 by the time I get on my bike and start peddling along the causeway. Three miles in the wind picks up, cross wind not a head wind, (appreciate the little things). The bugs got bad a mile after that to the point where I had to ride with my mouth closed or be ok with eating bugs.

At the end of the causeway my phone rang (because I carry my phone!). It’s J$, he went back to my house because he thought something happened to me or my boys. He apologized profusely for the shoes being in his car. We usually take his car, so I think he just put them in there without thinking about it much.

I finished the short loop around the island and then back through the wind and bugs along the causeway. Twenty miles in an hour and ten minutes, not too bad.

Some days it’s just hard to get out the door. Everything and everyone throws up barriers. You have a ton of things to get done and the first thing on the list becomes more complicated at each turn. This is mental training in disguise. You are going to have barriers during your races and you have to push through them without letting them slow you down.