From the "Totally Pointless But Could Be Just The Rut-Buster You’re Looking For If You're An Ultrarunner" file, I submit this … The Hippy-Out Way.
If going fast and finishing first is your thing, find the Delete Key now.
Here’s how it works: You score points for the total amount of time spent on all runs 2 hours or longer. Points are tallied for the month. I still do a bunch of the shorter ones too, mostly in the 20- to 30-minute range, but I don’t score those. I don’t do speed work or push too hard in races any more, so I don’t care about giving either of those more value than a normal long run.
Notes: I do run/walks on all my runs, including anything on roads and including those less than 2 hours. For long runs, I might do 7 minutes run/3 minutes walk. Or 12/3, 8/2, 5/1, 4/1. Other than for races, life precludes my breaking free most weekends, so nearly all these are weekday morning deals. Helps that I only live 15 minutes’ drive from work, and, after 16
years doing ultras, training on roads gets me ready for training on pretty much anything I will be doing races on. Also helps that I’m cool with getting up at 4-4:30 a.m. to start running 4:30-5 a.m. before work. Yeah, it’s weird. Yeah, fits my personality.
So, here’s November. So far I have 8 long runs for a total of 25 hours, so 25 points. Included is a 10:25 at Mountain Masochist Trail Run 50-Miler. The next week I did 2:15 Wednesday, then 2 hours each on Thursday and Saturday. The week
after was the more typical 2 hours apiece in the more typical Tuesday, Thursday and Friday rotation. This morning, I did 2:15. I expect to get 4 more 2-hour runs in for the month, so that will be 33 points for 12 runs.
This is more of a tracking system than a training system. Training implies a plan. I have no plan. I have a wife, a 6-year-old son, a 40-hour-a-week job, a part-time job as a basketball ref, and an overriding need to run. I just run slow, walk fast and have fun.
Here are some numbers since I started this nonsense in 2003.
2003 312 points; 100 “long” runs; 7 ultras (1 100), 1 marathon and one
2004 362 points; 122 “long” runs; 6 ultras (2 100s), 1 marathon.
2005 452 points; 143 “long” runs; 6 ultras (2 100s and the 71-mile
Massanutten Ring Trail), 2 marathons.
For 2006, I am poised at 399.25 with 131 runs, so tomorrow (or Wednesday, if I sleep in Tuesday) will crack the 400-point mark for a second straight year with slightly more than a month left to go. This year’s highlights include 2 marathons, 6 organized ultras (2 100s) and two other really stupid fun deals, the 77-mile Greenbrier River Trail in West Virginia all in one
push and a 3-day stage run of the 105-mile Skyline Drive here in Virginia. Probably will not get to 452 points for 2005, but probably will get to 145-plus long runs.
Bottom line: I am not very tough. I don’t really like to suffer all that much. The Hippy-Out Way allows me to do a buncha running and puts me in a great spot to finish a buncha ultras each year. More importantly, I am not beaten to crap all the time like I was during all of my first decade of running ultras. Most importantly, I am having fun.
Hippy-Out comes from my friend Craig, a former national-class duathlete who said this to me back in 2003: “Now that I’m not looking to turn pro, I gotta find a happy medium for my training. I can’t run 70 miles a week and bike
300 a week any more, but, dude, I don’t want to hippy-out like you, either.”