This time of year our thoughts turn towards the holidays, family, plans for next year, catching up on the IPA we deprive ourselves from during training (um, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it) and recovery.
Ultrarunning takes an especially broad toll on our bodies, minds and lives.
Actually performing recovery by shifting our attention to other priorities, allowing for more sleep, changing up our physical and mental activities can be the most difficult part of our plan to accomplish – especially if you’re feeling good and “don’t want to waste” all that fitness you’ve worked so hard to achieve.
That feeling of invincibility that occasionally wanders in and out of our ultra-world is so seductive. But with rare exception, the price we pay for “one more race” inevitably catches up and can wreak havoc with our future. I’ve fallen prey several times to this temptation and it has never turned out well.
I’m a “veteran” ultrarunner – a polite way of saying “old guy”. I can’t speak to speed any longer – maybe never could – but what I do have is perspective, gained from having the privilege of watching our wonderful sport and community form and mature. Those observations are what I hope to impart with this forum.
So on this topic, I’m seeing more and more talented athletes being asked – or asking of themselves – to perform increasingly remarkable feats. More races, longer distances, podium finishes, taking calculated risks. And we mere mortals see this splashed across our social media screens daily. Which in turn leads us to wonder “could we, should we” behave this way too?
Do yourself and those you love a favor. As you finish 2018, take a break. Rest, relax, exchange your trail shoes for snow or cycling shoes, roller skates, flip flops and slippers. Grab your favorite down jacket, comforter or sleeping bag and shut down. There are so many good books and articles to read, favorite podcasts to hear and series power watching to be done!
And before you hit “confirmed” for the plethora of races you are about to register for in 2019, ask yourself what else you want to accomplish? Then pick wisely. You’ll thank yourself for selecting quality over quantity with your ultrarunning and you might surprise yourself at how your performance improves along with the quality of life.