The greatest lessons often come from the freedom of days far from four walls, routine, and comfort. Our minds GROW in wild spaces.
You’ve trained for months. Gone through the rigors of winter running. Built speed and endured long, cold aerobic enhancing long runs on frigid, snowy mornings. Spring came and went with time on smooth, low elevation trails and newly opened bike paths. Your long runs gradually increased. That speed, the work over months, it was taking you somewhere. Confidence was building and goals were in sight. But, then the pandemic hit. Races were canceled and everything was turned up-side-down.
Knowing all the obstacles we might face along the way would spoil the journey. This is true in my own career, as I navigate running during a global pandemic while finding ways to celebrate the work of all those cold months on the roads, and long spring days staring up at snow-covered peaks in spring, just waiting, begging for it all to dry out so I can go run and explore in the mountains again. Adventure season is short and sweet in Colorado, and by the time it arrives, it’s almost gone again. It can leave us wanting more and wishing we’d taken advantage when we had the chance. What’s the best way to take advantage of time and fitness in the summer? And, how do we do that without compromising the work we’ve done on those cold winter days and warm spring afternoons? How do we seek out new and exciting adventures that light you up and bring you joy but stay in line with our training? Here is our guide to help you along your journey!
TIPS FOR SUMMER ADVENTURES:
WEEKENDS ARE FOR ADVENTURE, WEEKDAYS FOR WORKING TOWARD LONG-TERM GOALS
Your weekday runs and Wednesday Workouts are meant to help support long-term running goals, like building economy of motion, working on turnover, improving fitness through aerobic adaptations and through training pinpoint energy systems. On occasion, it makes sense to take a weekday run to the mountains, or a workout to the trails, but for most folks, it’s difficult to make the time during a busy work week to do so. We get it! That’s why weekends are best suited for long-runs and adventures! Want to adventure on Saturday and Sunday? Go for it! We love that too.
DON’T GO TO THE WELL TOO OFTEN
Getting out and adventuring doesn’t mean you have to push yourself to your mental and physical limits. Sustainable training always finds a balance between pushing and finishing a big run with plenty left in the tank. When it comes to adventuring, aim to finish your runs with more left to give. This will allow you to continue to adventure week after week, rather than needing extra time off to nurse overuse injuries, niggles or any underlying fatigue. Work with your coach to schedule in times when it’s more appropriate to dig a bit deeper and push yourself a bit more so that you can maintain consistency in your training as well as plan for downtime after.
ADVENTURE WITHIN THE GENTLE GUIDELINES OF YOUR EXISTING PLAN
Use your training log as a gentle guide. Does your chosen adventure run fit within the parameters and intentions of your workout? Is it within the mileage goals your coach has set for you? These mileage goals are often important markers for controlling volume in your training, but they aren’t always the end-all-be-all. If your adventure is under by a few miles, or over, that’s usually OK if you’re feeling good mentally and physically going into the day. If you’re tired or fatigued, either physically or mentally, it’s important to note that and find an adventure that fits more appropriately. We don’t want to push too far outside our comfort zones when you’re already depleted from previous workouts, exhausted from a tough week of work, or have any underlying mental/emotional distress. When choosing your adventure, remember, the body only knows stress, it doesn’t know miles!
TAKE PACE AND HR OFF YOUR WATCH FACE
Taking pace and HR off your watch face allows you to open up to the prospect that adventures take more time and involve oscillating, modulating heart rates because of different environmental factors like terrain type, elevation, elevation gain, climate and weather. When you separate yourself from the data and really dive into the adventure with presence, the slower miles naturally fall away with the passing hours. You can get more enjoyment out of your runs, open yourself up to flow, and take the pressure off yourself or running specific splits or maintaining a specific heart rate by removing these data points from your watch.
USE TRAIL RUN PROJECT TO RESEARCH NEW RUNS
You are in charge of choosing your own adventures. You should OWN planning and executing adventures that speak to your passions and ability level. It’s based solely on your likes and dislikes, which are based on the accumulation of running experiences. Trail Run Project or similar apps can help you explore surrounding areas, look at stats like altitude, elevation gain and mileage on particular runs so you can do research into potential adventures. Take pride in researching your runs, google searching new areas and diving into your adventures. This is part of the process! It’s part of the experience!
Follow our hydration guidelines!
Staying hydrated, finding water sources while out in the backcountry and fueling well are all part of the adventure. Environmental factors like terrain type, altitude, and vertical gain can all contribute to changes in hydration needs. Do your research! Dive into your projects. Follow our hydration guidelines and tweak based on your experiences. When in doubt, carry extra water!
ADVENTURES = OPPORTUNITY TO TRY NEW TERRAIN
Trying to figure out what kind of races to sign up for in 2021? Is it a steep race, or a fast, flat trail race? A long ultra with tons of power hiking, or a burly Sky Race? Is it a fast 50k with little climbing, or the Pikes Peak Marathon? Seek new adventures, types of terrain and elevation profiles to test your skills and accumulate experiences that allow you to make more empowered choices about your races. It’s hard to decide what kind of 100-miler to sign up for if all you’ve done is run around your neighborhood. Adventures offer the perfect opportunity to find out what kinds of runs resonate with you most.
FIND AN ADVENTURE BUDDY
Running with friends and building your support network not only helps in the long-run but can help with confidence in embarking on a big adventure. Time passes on the trails through conversation. The unknowns of an adventure in the wilderness are often better undertaken when in the company of others. It’s safer and you’re almost always guaranteed to be at a conversational effort level, which is so important for aerobic adaptations!
EAT AND FUEL LIKE A BOSS
Adventures require tons of fuel, but pre-during-and post-run. Considering low-fiber carbohydrates the night before and a good breakfast pre-run. When on your run, stick to 200-300 calories per hour after the first hour has elapsed to avoid bonking! There is no perfect combination of fuels, so experiment and find what works for you. Generally, fun, salty foods are best and because adventure runs often require a lot more time on feet than similar mileage runs do around your town or on local bike paths, plan to bring extra calories. Adventure runs are the perfect opportunity to work on training your gut for racing in 2021!
Don’t be afraid to get your feet wet in your next river crossing, fall on your butt trying to push it a little on that fun downhill segment you’ve always wanted to shred or reach out to that friend you’ve always wanted to do a long-run with. Take a risk and don’t be afraid to fail. Adventuring is hard. Tons of variables come into play that can easily alter the course of a run. Use these moments as an opportunity to problem-solve and build your self-belief library of experiences where you’ve pushed through a tough moment to see the light on the other side. Adventures don’t have to be executed perfectly. Choose a run or trail you’ve never done before and don’t be afraid to hate it! But, equally, be open to loving it too! This stuff is vital! It’s what life is all about.
If you’ve found yourself stuck in a cycle of the same Saturday Long-Run weeks and weeks in a row, break that cycle! Hop on Trail Run Project and find a new route that aligns with your training and go for it. Curious about running steep? Tick a steep run off your bucket list. Want to push yourself with a faster run on flatter terrain, what are you waiting for? Being an athlete is a self-determined process and it’s up to you to take that step! YOU CAN DO IT! WE BELIEVE IN YOU!