Big Basin 50K Weeks 6-7: Rest & Reset

Before I start recapping these last couple of weeks of training, I wanted to thank those of you who left thoughtful comments and responses to my Week 5 recap about motivation. In hindsight, I realized that the post made it sound like I was struggling with running motivation in general, which isn’t the case; instead, I meant to say that I’m having trouble getting out the door for ultramarathon training. I still love running, I just wish I didn’t have to do so much of it. The good news is that I’m already 7 weeks through a 16-week training cycle that has 3 weeks of taper at the end… so, I’m already halfway done with “real” training.  Hooray!

A quick recap of the first 5 weeks of 50K training:

  • Weeks 1-3: In NYC for work (and a little play), I fell short of my mileage goals, but still managed to do most of my runs.
  • Week 4: Back home and back to training. 5 runs for a total of 36 miles.
  • Week 5: Struggling with motivation, but I still grind away.  5 runs for a total of 41 miles.

I should note that I jumped up from averaging 21-27 miles per week (mpw) in the first 3 weeks to 36 mpw in week 4 — which is a big red flag according to running conventional wisdom, which states that one shouldn’t increase by more than 10% of weekly mileage from week to week. Then, when I added a 41-mile week to the mix in week 5, well, no wonder I was feeling low on motivation. Adding a few stressful non-running things to the mix only made things worse.

I started Week 6 of training just fine, getting up very early on Tuesday morning to get my 6 miler in. I felt like I was sleep jogging, with my eyes closed, for the whole run. When I continued to feel tired the rest of the day, I chalked it up to waking up early. However, when I was still feeling really run down on Wednesday, I knew this wasn’t just normal fatigue. I ended up skipping Wednesday afternoon’s 8-miler in favor of happy hour with coworkers, reasoning that I needed to balance my life out a little bit… plus, one skipped run wouldn’t hurt, right? I went home, ate dinner with the Gypsy Runner, and promptly fell asleep at 7:45 p.m. I slept until almost 7 a.m. and still felt exhausted. That’s when I decided to take a sick day. I stayed in bed and rested/napped almost all day. I very briefly considered going for an easy jog around the block, but then thought better of it. I knew that rest was the most important thing, but I also felt incredibly guilty about skipping another run and falling 14 miles short of my weekly goal. However, looking back, I realized that rest is exactly what I needed, and forcing myself to go on those 2 runs might have dug a deeper hole that would’ve required even more rest in the long run.

By Saturday, I was feeling a lot better, so I went out for 7 miles at Lake Chabot. Then on Sunday, JT and I both had to fit in a long run, so we ran Bay to Breakers (12K or 7.4 miles) followed by another ~10.5 to make it 18 for the day. (Race recap coming soon!) Last Sunday’s 18 was my longest run of the training cycle so far. Even though I felt tired by the end, my cardiovascular system and legs were still going strong and we managed to do the last mile (flat along the Embarcadero) at ~9:50-10:00/mile pace. (Our average pace for the whole run was 11:24/mile — B2B was our slowest section, actually!) So, despite 2 days of rest and skipped runs, I finished Week 6 with a solid 31 miles for the week.

We had a lot of energy before Bay to Breakers, as you can see.

We had a lot of energy before Bay to Breakers, as you can see.

On to Week 7!  Because the GR and I had plans to go away for the weekend, I rearranged my schedule that resulted in running 5 days in a row. I don’t usually like to run so many days in a row, but desperate times call for desperate measures! Going into the week, I was a little skeptical about that plan, especially since I had to run 10 miles on Wednesday and 14 trail miles early Friday morning. To my surprise, everything went smoothly – even the midweek 10-miler was better than expected. I think my body is finally adjusting to the training load. I was also really careful this week about going to bed early and getting enough sleep. On Saturday, I had 6 miles on the training schedule, but because we were away on vacation, I didn’t want my running to get in the way of our plans — even if that plan was just to sleep in and relax. When the GR suggested going on a short run together, which we haven’t done in ages, I thought that was a perfect compromise. I’d still get a few miles in while spending time with the GR and we could explore Sebastopol together. We decided to do a quick out and back on the Joe Rodata Trail, which is a multi-use greenway that connects Sebastopol, Santa Rosa, Graton, and Forestville.  The section we ran was very flat and went through a mix of woods and rural land, so it was quite pleasant, though I wish there were water fountains as it was pretty warm out there!  With that run, I finished Week 7 with a total of 39 miles.

Embarking on the Joe Rodata Trail

Embarking on the Joe Rodata Trail


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.

Tagged with: , , , ,
Posted in Big Basin 50K
2 comments on “Big Basin 50K Weeks 6-7: Rest & Reset
  1. Angela says:

    Something I’ve definitely learned is that as you increase your mileage, sleep becomes REAALLLLY important! (Apparently elite runners sleep like 10 hours a day?) So, I think you are definitely doing the right thing to sometimes skip more miles in favor of more sleep when that’s the message you’re getting from your body.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Howdy! Welcome to my blog!

follow us in feedly
Follow on Bloglovin

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 347 other followers
On the docket…

4/28/19: London Marathon

%d bloggers like this: