Just Take the Next Step – Thoughts from a Sunday Morning

Two weeks post 50k and I’ve been mostly resting – walking, yoga and sleeping in.  And while I have been enjoying lazy Saturday mornings with coffee and twitter, it is time to move forward – time to take the next step. My body feels pretty good overall – my lower back and piriformis are being a pain in the butt – literally! But a couple trips to the chiropractor and a 2 hour massage have helped immensely.

So if it is time to take the next step, what should that next step be? In the short term, I need to decide if I have it in me to run the Rimrock Marathon in four weeks. In the long term, I am looking forward to tackling my “cool impossible” goal of running a 50 miler. I set the goal of running a “50 by 50” on my 44th birthday because it seemed like such an unreachable and scary goal. Now sitting at 46 years old and a 50k under my belt, I find myself realizing that 50 miles is doable. But how do I take that next big step?

I read an article this week in Outside called “You Can Run 100 Miles on Marathon Training” that featured one of my favorite running authors and coaches, Eric Orton. His book, The Cool Impossible, is what drove me to set my “50 by 50” goal in the first place.  In the article, he says that if you can train well for a marathon, you can run 100 miles. This was good news for me because one of the things that holds me back from going longer is the amount of time it takes to train for an ultra distance.  If I lived in a bubble by myself with no other responsibilities, this wouldn’t be a concern.  But like most people, I have a family and a job, and it’s nice to have clean underwear and socks on occasion – which my family and co-workers appreciate, I’m sure.  My take away from the article was this:  I don’t need to run more. I need to run better.  Eric Orton said, “Often people run a little bit more and they do well, so they think more is better. I think better is better.  More is not better.  Better is better.” Left to myself, I will run a lot of easy miles for training. If I am going to run 50 miles, or maybe even run 100 miles, the next step is to start including more strength and intensity into my training plan.

Just like that first time I laced up the shoes to run Week 1 Day 1 of a Couch-to-5k training plan, I’m a little nervous to take that next step.  High intensity training is difficult and a little scary. But isn’t that why we set those big goals – because they ARE difficult and scary? The next step is simple – write down the goal, write down the plan, follow the plan, and succeed. One bite – one mile at a time.


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