By: David Theriot
I like structure. I like plans. I like being in control. I’m a spreadsheet guy. I have every workout I’ve done for the past 10 years logged. I have a spreadsheet that lists out all of my races for the year. I have a somewhat detailed training plan on a spreadsheet for my goal races. It is where I track the miles I run, where I ran them. I also track all of my non-running workouts. On a weekly basis, I plan, then execute, then review. This might seem a bit much for some people, but it’s how I’m wired.
Imagine my dismay when everything was thrown into disarray in the matter of a week. The gym where I do my lifting closed. Three of the training races on my spreadsheet were cancelled. My plan was thwarted! I wasn’t happy. Honestly (and sadly), it took me a little while to step outside of selfishness and look at the bigger picture and see the necessity of it all and accept the situation. I had to change my mindset. I had to make the mental decision to see this as training for an ultra.
What does that mean, you ask? Rarely during an ultramarathon does everything go according to plan. For my situation, we go into races with spreadsheets that contain estimated aid station times, drop bag contents, and other pertinent information. Oftentimes, we are forced to deal with things that are totally out of our control. Weather changes, course changes, stomach issues, and all of the other numerous things that change our plans. We are forced to accept the circumstances, and problem solve. When we can’t stick with the plan, we must ask ourselves, “What is within my power that I can control to get me to my goal? How can I move forward?”
During this time of COVID-19, I had to do the same. My training races were cancelled, but I was able to replace 2 of my cancelled races with virtual alternatives right away. That provided me with some training motivation and also helped to support our race organizations. I even bumped one of the 50 milers up to 100 miles and earned an extra buckle for the year. Bonus! There are other virtual races I plan on signing up for to motivate my training and to support race directors I know and love. I encourage you to do the same if you have the means and the time.
Also, I am fortunate enough to have some limited weight equipment at home and began to set things up home. Honestly, my usual weight training consisted largely of “bro lifts”. These are workouts I’ve done since wrestling in high school for strength. I do a few other, run specific workouts, but mostly the old lifts. Now, with limited poundage available to me, I’ve been forced to do the things I should have been doing all along – LIFT FOR RUNNING! I’ve been enjoying Jeff Browning’s Tough 21 workout along with other, modified functional compound lifts that will help keep me injury free when I hit the trails on my big trail races. With the extra time on my hands, I’ve also been intentional about stretching where before it was more of an afterthought.
I encourage you to think of 2020 as the COVID-19 ultra. Adapt and grow. With that mindset, I believe we can all come out of this tough time mentally and physically stronger. Then, when we can finally run and race together again, there will be a renewed appreciation for what we enjoy and a new fire in our bones to do greater things than we’ve ever done before…..together!