Big Basin 50K: Base Building Complete! (Almost)

About 4 weeks ago, I got serious about base building for the Big Basin 50K. I even wrote stuff down. Up to that point, I had been half-heartedly attempting to run 25-30 miles per week (mpw) for January and February.  This was my extremely detailed base building plan:

  • Week of March 9th: 30 mpw
  • March 16th: 30-35 mpw/5x a week
  • March 23rd: 35 mpw/5x a week
  • March 30th: 35 mpw/5x a week

With Big Basin training officially kicking off Monday (OMG!!!1!), I thought I’d check in with how training has gone for the past couple of weeks.  First, here’s a graphical representation of my weekly mileage, in case that is your preference (plus it’s prettier):

Screen Shot 2015-04-04 at 2.42.27 PM

“11” = Week of 3/9, and so on.

Bad news first:

  • I fell 5-10 miles short of my week 2 goal of 30-35 mpw (labeled “12” on the graph above), though I did run 5 times that week, as planned.  That was the same week as the Oakland Marathon Relay, when my legs didn’t feel super awesome and I decided to cut mileage as a mini-taper.
  • I developed shoulder pain from the 30-day plank challenge, so I had to drop out on day 15.  Whomp whomp.

Good news:

  • I met my goals for weeks 1 and 3, and I only have 4 recovery miles to run tomorrow in order to hit my goal for week 4. Yay!
  • At the end of last week, I finally started to get over the “I’m so tired” hump.  Instead, my body was like, “hey, this isn’t so bad.”
  • I’ve had a few aches and pains here and there, but nothing lingering or alarming so far.
  • This week, I had strong runs on Wednesday and Thursday, which makes me feel like not only am I meeting my mileage goals, but I’m getting fitter too.
  • In the last 4 weeks, I’ve done three 10+ mile long trail runs, ranging from 1300′ to 2000′ elevation gain.  With my weekday runs, I’m averaging over 2000′ of elevation gain per week.  The hills pay the bills! (credit: Mike)

    Gorgeousness at Briones Reservoir

    Gorgeousness at Briones Reservoir

  • I ran 123 miles in March, a big jump up from 78 in February.  It was also the most I’ve run since last April, when I ran Big Sur.  It’s been a long, steady buildup since my injuries last year, and I’m happy that my patience is paying off.

So now that base building is almost over – what’s next?  Well, like I mentioned, official training starts on Monday.  The first week is actually less mileage than what I’ve been doing (32 miles), which will be nice.  However, I’m also traveling to the East Coast for work for 2.5 weeks (!!) and I have no idea what my schedule will be like.  I’m hoping to fit in my runs in the morning, as I’ll likely be busy from 9:00am to very late in the evening (until 10:00pm or midnight isn’t out of the question).  It’s not ideal timing.  However, if I have to go away during 50K training, better during the first 2.5 weeks than during peak weeks.  I’ve already prepared my usually Type A personality to go with the flow and to not freak out if I don’t get all of my miles or runs in.  One run or a couple of miles isn’t going to make or break Big Basin 50K.


Howdy! My name is Jen and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I like to eat, run, and blog, but not usually at the same time.

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Posted in Big Basin 50K
12 comments on “Big Basin 50K: Base Building Complete! (Almost)
  1. Sherry says:

    It was good you listened to your body after the race even if it meant not reaching your week 2 mileage goal. Better to be safe (from injury) than sorry. Hope it all goes well from here on!

  2. Cathryn says:

    That sounds like pretty solid base building! And your March mileage is great, such a jump up from February and without injury. Looks like you’ve done some really good work!!

    • Jen says:

      Thanks, Cat! I was to be able to make the jump – especially since my weekly mileage took a significant nosedive in the past 3 weeks. Hope to ramp back up without too much trouble!

  3. Grace says:

    Hey, that’s a solid base. I think the elevation gain and the fact that you’re doing long trail runs are probably going to be more important than the absolute mileage figure in the end – you train for the race you’re going to run, right?

  4. Angela in SF says:

    Eek, 2.5 weeks is a long work trip! Those are always my hardest times to make sure I get my runs in. But, maybe that’s long enough that you’ll be able to get into some kind of routine?

    • Jen says:

      Writing this on my flight back, so I can safely say that I was able to stick to the schedule for the most part, but fatigue got to me at the end of the 2 week course, causing me to skip 2 runs. But 10 out of 12 runs ain’t bad – I’m calling it a victory.

  5. Jan says:

    You’re definitely ready to start the “real” training! Great job on those hilly long runs!

  6. KrisLawrence says:

    I think you had a solid base building phase. You got almost all the mileage in but had a few aches so its wise that you didn’t over do that mileage. Now the real fun comes…training! Traveling during training can be so stressful. I always force myself to run early (even though that’s my least favorite) so that the worry is off my back. Plus I always feel better when I start the day off with a run. Good luck!!

    • Jen says:

      I agree about the morning runs! With my schedule, there was no other time to run. Plus, I felt way more energized despite getting up earlier to run.

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