I was online yesterday, looking to book a pilates class at my local Virgin Active, when I took notice of the gym-group’s latest marketing campaign: ‘The Power of Enough’. Today, just do enough.
For runners gearing up for this year’s Two Oceans Ultra (or Half), less than 30 days away, my guess is that you have already asked yourselves several times over: have I done enough? If you’re feeling a little shaky on the training, you might think that a few more days of hard training, or just one more long run, will be enough. The temptation to do that little bit more can be almost overwhelming.
Other runners might be tempted to do a race “tester” – something like a fast 10km or half marathon to see where you are in terms of speed. You’ll rationalise that this – the tester – will help you predict what kind of race you could have on 20 April. Don’t do it.
Last year I took part in my first Two Oceans Ultra since 2006. Travelling to Cape Town over the Easter Weekend is, as you know, prohibitively expensive for many runners and I’d been unable to afford such a luxury in years past while either (or both) my husband and I were studying.
In the build up to the race I’d picked up a minor muscle tear which kept me off the road for about 2 weeks, resulting in my missing a few (what I considered to be) crucial training sessions. I was nervous. I didn’t think I had done enough.
So, against my coach’s wishes I entered the Vaal Marathon just 3 weeks before OMTOM. My plan was to run the marathon at my goal Two Oceans race pace. I wanted to predict what kind of race I was going to have. I “needed” to run the marathon in about 2h45 in order to secure a silver medal on 30 March.
The long and the short of it, is that I finished the Vaal Marathon in 2h53 – way off my target pace. Worse than that, 2h53 felt hard. If I was nervous about OMTOM before the Vaal Marathon, after the marathon I was in a flat out panic. I threw myself into additional (or extra) race preparation. My coach was not pleased.
Thankfully, my coach had the foresight to plan a drastic (albeit short) taper, giving my body time to recover in the days immediately before the race. Had I not had John to guide me (and to give me a telling off for not trusting his plan), there is a very real risk that I would have undo all the good training with my “panic training”. All because I didn’t trust that I had done enough.
As it turned out, I had a fantastic run – happy, smiling, comfortable and able to chat to the gentlemen running around me. I had so much fun, ran marathon and 56km PBs and placed 5th in the ladies race. Thank you coach!
My advice to you is this:
(a) if you have a coach – trust the training plan – it’s specifically designed to be enough;
(b) avoid the temptation to add panic miles to your scheduled taper; and
(c) leave the speed testing to the first half of your race – you’ll know within the first 8-12km exactly what kind of race lies in store for you, try not to sweat about it unnecessarily before the big day.
All the best with your training!