“Three simple rules in life: If you do not go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.”
Keeping with the "3" theme, it's just 3 months now until the start of the World Marathon Challenge! It seems like just a few days ago this whole idea of running 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 days was just an idea spinning around in my head.
I've had quite a few people ask me how I train for something like this. Generally speaking, my answer is "I've been training for nearly 10 years." The reality is you can't draft up a 16-week plan for something this big (and this crazy)! Getting through the physical challenge and demand of running back-to-back long distance runs like this can only come from years of training and preparation. And given running for me is more than just the neverending cycle of training for races, I am always out exploring the World around me and maintaining a level of fitness that should be sufficient to complete the Challenge.
Instead my focus has been more on the minute details that are more likely to have a bigger impact on the outcome of the World Marathon Challenge. I'm thinking more about hydration, recovery, nutrition (during, before & after), equipment, injury prevention (think chaffing, blisters). I'm trying to build a game-plan around these aspects so that come the big dance, there are no surprises and I've got everything I need on-hand.
You'll remember back in March I ran my first set of back-to-back Marathons with a few hours car ride in between so that I could simulate what it will be like to go from spending 3.5 hours on my feet, to stationary for several hours giving everything an opportunity to seize up and then doing it again the next day. Do that 6 more times and really that is what this is all about! And I learned a ton: mostly in the areas of recovery where compression gear will be key for me and nutrition where I substantially underestimated the velocity of taking in calories that I'm going to need to sustain between and during the Marathons. Side note - if you've never been starving during a Marathon or long-run it's a bit hard to describe how low this really is! It's kind of like running your car to E and flooring it. It sputters a bit but eventually it's just not going anywhere! Thank God I had a Honey Stinger Waffle on me to keep me going another few miles.
So in a bit of 1+1=2 fashion, you might be able to guess what's next! How can I put everything I learned in March to the test and also continue the learning process? That question sort of magically answered itself back in June while I was doing a little poking around on Running in the USA hunting for Fall Marathons. As it turns out it just so happens there are three consecutive and reasonably local Marathons (for the win)! It all starts out in Springfield in just a week from today at the Cross Country Trail Marathon. I'm sure you're asking yourself something along the lines of: a Marathon on a Friday?! The CCT Marathon always run on Veteran's Day (observed) and when it falls on a Saturday it is observed on Friday. The next day I'll head down to Richmond for America's Friendliest Marathon and finally on Sunday I'll finish in one of my favorite places: the Outer Banks where I'll forego my annual pacing duties and finish the the trifecta at the Outer Banks Marathon. Fittingly, I'm sure I'll end up at one of my favorite beer bar's Trio after! Once again my awesome Cousin Jenna is carting me around so no need to worry about me being a danger on the highways!
My approach to these races will be simple: run easy. I'm not trying to set any records or worse hurt myself and put the Challenge at risk. The goal is to walk away healthy and with any additional information that might be helpful in finalizing my strategy for the WMC. But: just because I plan to run easy doesn't mean this is going to be easy! It's still 78.6 miles of running in under 3 days and that is not taken lightly! So please send all your good vibes this way! I'm fueled by the support I get from the awesome running community and I'm never full! Keep an eye on the @jprunstheworld Facebook page for updates and as always, thanks!