By Athlete Ambassador, Hailey Van Dyk of runlikeagirl.ca
Training for ultra marathons can be very taxing on the body. A lot of training miles are required, with hours on your feet, pounding your muscles, burning through all your fuel. It becomes a bit of a cycle… run long, stretch, eat, and repeat. And somewhere in there you are bound to experience moments of fatigue, extreme muscle soreness and crazy hunger. As a shift worker, I work long hours and I am on my feet a lot. Add that with my side business and training for ultras… you’ve got yourself a pretty good recipe for all of the above. I felt myself burning out, getting stagnant and not progressing or feeling stronger. In fact at times I was feeling the opposite.
The smartest way to train is to listen to your body and hold back on the days that you feel tired. I have learned to stop just going as far as I can each run at the same pace. There are ways to train that will improve your speed, strength and recovery time and it doesn’t necessarily mean training longer or more. Before, I would just head out on a run and run whatever pace I felt that day, for however long I felt like going. Which is fine and awesome for a lot of people. But I felt I wanted more. I want to truly see how far and fast I can go, and push myself to new places, to push past my previous boundaries. The best way I thought possible was to hire a running coach.
I am now working with Jen Segger (Challenge by choice) who has me on a training program and perfectly fits my life style. The runs and training sessions are geared more specifically for my schedule. When I run now, it is with more purpose, with more effort in the places I need to work on. I am feeling less burnt out, stronger and faster. Heading out for specific runs, with a goal in mind each run has motivated me to push myself harder and farther. I am finding myself so much more motivated to run faster, to climb steeper, the fly downhill, to go farther… and that makes me very, very happy!
So, there is a way to train smarter and better. You just have to be willing to put in a little extra effort!