Wait. You’re Going to Do What, Next?

My wonderful long-term readers are aware that I am, as my trainer Skip at Body Specs calls me, a poly-macro-cyclic athlete. In English, that means I train year-round and race year-round. I’ve run races in heat, rain, snow, and dead of night, in forests, swamps, and deserts.

It’s all been great, and I enjoy each race in the moment, but afterwards there’s always something up ahead to look forward to, and to begin training for even during the recovery period. Many of my shorter ultras (*) also serve as warm-ups for the really big ones.

Thus, having recently completed the Grandmaster 100K, it should be no surprise to you that I have given careful thought to what comes next. And without further ado, here is my race plan so far for the rest of the year.

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There you go. Would you like to see it again?

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That’s right. For the first time in my ten years of marathon and ultramarathon running, I am going to officially have an off-season. Just like the big boys and girls do.

What does that mean for me? As I told my coach, it means for the next 8-10 weeks, I will give no thought to purposeful training. I intend to rest a lot, gain some weight, and otherwise let my body completely heal and recover. I’ll focus more on writing, and on my Zero Waste event service business.

Does this mean I won’t be running, or doing any fitness activities? Heck, no. Matter of fact, I cleared my driveway on Thursday after the latest five-inch dump of snow. So what? Well, my driveway is 2,500 square feet. It took me two hours, and by my calculations I cleared 917 cubic feet of snow weighing over three tons. By hand. With no aches or pains after. That’s what years of focused fitness work has done for me.

Eminent scientist Dr. J. W. Jackson measuring snow depth at the South Polar Station.

And I’ll keep on running. But I will choose when to run, how long and how far, and with absolutely no goal in mind. If I run fast, or do hills, or go long, it will be because I feel like it, not because I need the work for an upcoming race. In short, I’ll run because my mind and my body want to.

Oh, yeah, that’s right!

There are a couple of events coming up I traditionally do, like the No Frills All Thrills trail run, and Trail Marathon Weekend. I’ll likely do them to keep the streak going, just for fun, and will enjoy every minute of it.

After that? Who knows for sure, but I’ve already shared some thoughts with my coach, and he’s fully behind both this off-season and what may come next. What’s certain is when I get back into training, I want it to be with a body and mind rarin’ to get back at it, and reach that next level that has always appeared when I believe in and reach for it. Over 100 races and 30 ultras, plus ten years of Aikido, have taught me that I have physical and mental capabilities way deeper than I ever thought.

And, by the way, those same deep capabilities are in all of you reading this. What’s your plan to get to that next level, whatever it is? Feel free to share it with me here. And if you haven’t thought much about it, perhaps it’s time to? Just saying.

Gotta go. Time for a nap, or a snack, or whatever tickles my fancy.

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(*) “Shorter ultras?” Yes, I’m aware of the irony there.

3 thoughts on “Wait. You’re Going to Do What, Next?

  1. Snow removal and other winter activities can be a full job in themselves!

    After I finished my one and only marathon (2011), my knees were very pissed off. So I took a few grumpy weeks off without my happy brain chemicals, checked that one off the list and went back to running my favorite distances (10 milers and half marathons). I was WAY happier and so were my knees. And all my marathon-pushing friends went back to their marathons, and I would meet them at the finish after my half, showered and refreshed to bring them some chocolate milk. 😉

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