Response to a lady saying her boyfriend says she can’t go from running 26 mpw to 32

Mind is everything: muscle, pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.: Paavo Nurmi

30k is absolutely attainable – your body can do anything it gets used to do. “Mind is everything: muscle, pieces of rubber. All that I am, I am because of my mind.”: Paavo Nurmi

The ten percent rule is really just a guide and as long as you ensure you are providing your body with the right nutrition, keeping it limber with stretching and lifting weights to keep your body balanced and strong then let your body will let you if you’re increasing distance too quickly.

2016 I was really struggling with consistency (and consistency is everything – in life really) so I started a run streak. For a run streak at minimum you have to run, or even jog slowly for recovery, 1 mile per day. Miss a day and you are back to zero #fuckthezero I was really struggling at the time with bullying at work and it was crushing my soul so I turned to running to give me some kind of satisfaction and sense of control in my life. November 2016 I would make it five days then not be able to fit it in (working full time as a registered nurse as well). I was so angry with myself that I couldn’t make it happen so in registered for a 100-miler in Denmark that was 9 months away to give myself enough fear to get my ass out the door. I made it 115 days. Once that momentum was going there was nothing that could stop me. But I got over confident with it and I was training very one dimensionally and not be intelligent with the way I trained. My runs would often get away in me and I would do far more than I should. But hey then pull it back and have a few days of one easy mile – like ten minute mile or twelve minute mile. Who can’t fit in ten or twelve minutes in a day? Breaks at work are longer than that. It’s possible. But it’s psychological. “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go. T.S. Elliot”.

I was very careful about the influence or programming that I let into my consciousness. I choose what I let affect me. I would listen to motivational videos non-stop (I’ll share some favourites below). I converted YouTube video into audio files and randomly had them in my go to running playlists. A little something to pick me up when I need it – and it works. I would wake up to this as my alarm clock. (Nike motivational Rise and Shine) https://youtu.be/hbkZrOU1Zag I tried to set that as my alarm clock when I was married but that didn’t fly and I only did it once. I had all these dreams and things I wanted to do (2007-2014) but just resolved myself to the fact that that wouldn’t be possible for me because I was married this was my life and it wasn’t possible. Until I skipped town, divorced that asshole and then I was free and I was going to do everything I wanted to do like my life depended on it – because it did. “If you want something, go get it. Period.”

So once I was footloose and fancy free that became my alarm clock. I would alternate it with this one (Why we fall motivational video) https://youtu.be/mgmVOuLgFB0

I would lay my running clothes/gear out the night before on the floor beside my bed and the alarm would go off I would get dressed as quickly as I could and I would have to be ready and out the door before the alarm ended.

I wouldn’t even give myself a chance to change my mind – don’t think, psychomotor just got through the motions and make it happen. Don’t lose that activation energy. (Mel Robbins how to stop screwing yourself over https://youtu.be/Lp7E973zozc )

I live in Canada and it started to get cold and icy and then this became my alarm https://youtu.be/xf4eJgwrUyA Whatever I needed to pick myself back up and keep going I listened to. (Ten thousand hours Your World Within – this one is gold – https://youtu.be/wWEF5Ie89ug ). I fell in love with the content of the Your World Within YouTube channel and so many of his videos were instrumental in helping me achieve my goals. As i got closer to my races I realized how much I appreciated his work and I bought every single album – he deserves my support after how much the videos he put together, the speeches he wrote helped me get to where I was going.

Time to wrap this up as I got shit to do. I spent a week in Vancouver February 2017 and loved how running at lower elevation was a bit faster and in all fairness I kind of beat my legs up a bit with my twice a day runs and speed work.

I often felt like the Golden Rules of Running ( https://www.runnersworld.com/training/a20790553/the-25-golden-rules-of-running/ ) didn’t apply to me. One of them being the ten perfect rule. But I also learned something from experience I “knew” since my first marathon in 2005. That rule is this: You can work on developing speed OR you can work on building distance but you can’t do both at the same time or you will get injured.

But that didn’t apply to me right? I was invincible. So after a week of hard running and nearing 115 days of my run streak I returned to the city where I was living at the time and ran a half marathon the next day. I got a shiny new PR …and shin splints. Fuck. I can’t not train. My 100-miler in Denmark was now in just over 6 months. I’ve already paid for my flight and taken off vacation time – it had to happen. But shin splints? That type of overuse injury can plague people for years.

To be continued … I work tonight. But readers digest that I will elaborate on later (on my blog cuz that’s where I should put that kind of life story right?):

-went to a naturopath and had prolotherapy done. Wasn’t allowed to run for one week. Was devastate to break/end my run streak at 115 days but I had to get better or there would be no ultra. Took a week off and when I gradually started back up with an easy mile a day and gradually increasing distance I was absolutely injury free. I just couldn’t believe it.

-then I got kicked in the face at work (literally running shoe to the chin as I tried to take a psych patients shoes off while two staff where holding them). So then with whiplash and a concussion I couldn’t even get off the couch for a couple weeks. My head was so heavy I couldn’t not be horizontal. That was so tough psychologically going from the last five months of consistent exercise to can’t even walk across a room without holding my head in both of my hands.

-so I started panicking. How will I be able to do this now? I know that I know enough about running to get myself in trouble (like obviously) but I needed some help some guidance if I was going to pull this off.

-I did my research and I found a coach -world record holder of the 100 mile ultramarathoner Zach Bitter. I looked him up found his site threw a couple thousand at him snd he was my coach leading up to my next two ultras. I had won the Javelina Jundred in Arizona in 2016 and I was registered for the 2017 race. I would send him my work schedule and he built my training program around it. I wouldn’t have done so well without his help.

-I went to Swaziland for a month with my mom to volunteer at an orphanage and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to run long distances outside by myself for obvious reasons (I had waist length platinum blonde hair at the time – that sounds like a death wish – side note while with my ex I was not “allowed” to dye my hair so going from waist length natural hair to platinum was sort of a fuck you thing, and it was awesome.). So in Africa I focused on mental training. On long drives or during the early morning when I would wake up a couple hours before anyone else and listen to audiobooks non-stop. I have a handful of favourites that really helped me that I relisten to again and again.

*** okay time to wrap this up. I dnf’d at my first 100-miler (death before dnf 😑) but it was a learning experience and I knew that and planned that going into. Then with Zach Bitter’s help 8 weeks later I ran 100 km in Arizona at the Javelina Jundred absolutely crushing it, injury free with a time off 16 hours and 24 minutes and change. I was elated. I thought to myself “I can’t wait until next year and next time I’m here I’m running the 100-miler”. I had DDD at the time when I did that race. Feb 2019 had a breast reduction going from 36DDD to 36A. It was the best decision of my entire life. My life kind of fell apart since they race (my last race) but finally it’s coming back together. I’m planning my next training cycle and I am going to exceed my perceived limitations, again.

***So don’t let your boyfriend tell you that you can’t go from 26 miles per week to 32 because that’s bullshit and you don’t even know the incredible things that you’re capable of so never let another person try to drag you down with what they don’t know. You got this girl. Now get out there and back it happen

Also, increase distance for three weeks in a row and then fir the fourth week scale way back to give your body a chance to recover and rebuild. Sometimes when you scale back you start to notice areas of weaknesses or site of potential injury. Foam rolling, massage, gentle stretching when your muscles are warm, adequate sleep, good nutrition are all part of the equation. Also for more information regarding mileage build up look up Arthur Lydiard’s books.