When I moved to CT, I met a friend I'll call "The Runner", and got roped into running with him; I had to adopt a running plan.
The Runner had proposed climbing Mt. Washington in NH in the winter when we met. I'd done this in high school, and, although I was obviously in much worse shape at that point than I had been in high school, signed up for it.
As The Runner and I discussed how to get me in shape, we agreed that the best and most efficient way was to start trail running. At that point I thought I had "bad" knees, and hated running on the road. But I like hiking, and running trails was something I'd always been interested in. So trail running seemed like a great idea.
I knew from my experience running in NYC that building up distance was not going to work for me. Lack of patience, lack of discipline, awareness of another method? I don't know. But I knew that working up to a distance wouldn't happen, as I would lose interest in the project. So I decided to do the reverse. Pick a distance, run it, and keep running it until I got my time down to something reasonable. This approach had worked well in hiking and roller-blading. Although painful, it offers a certain satisfaction.
I picked a 5.1 mile loop in a local park. (I didn't find out what the exact distance was for 8 years, btw.) The first "run" took 2.5 hours. I was pretty out of shape. I finally got it down to 49+ minutes. I had no problem going up Mt. Washington with The Runner.
So now I'm thinking about running longer distances. I've been trying to build up a bit, but am sort of running into the same issue. I think I really need to just pick a long loop, like 15 to 20 miles, and run it, and see how it goes. Once I get that under my belt, I'd like to pick it up to an even longer run...
How have other folks who've done ultra-distances approached this?
This was originally posted here, on June 28, 2010. Follow the link to see the conversation.