When I signed up to do the short part of the Taupō Ultra event, I had blocked out 15 weeks to train. A little over three months. One quarter of one Earth year.
It seemed achievable. Enough time physically to get to a point where my legs will get me across the finish line, albeit slowly, but not too much time that it was too daunting.
Proper Ultra runners, the guns that run 100km will train for like a year. A quarter the distance, a quarter of the training time.
COVID, you bastard
COVID-19, like for many things [most of which are much, much more important than a jog in a forest], put a spanner in the works, and delayed the event. ‘Great’ I initially thought, ‘more time to train’.
But I wasn’t mentally prepared to train for 24 weeks. That’s nearly half a year. Nearly two whole seasons (or just one long wet, cold, windy one in Wellington). It’s too long. And now I’m mentally smoked.
Physically, I’m hitting the marks, making the times, getting fitter and faster (fast is relative… I’m still VERY slow even for an average runner). Mentally, I’m ready to quit.
Even though I’m seeing the progress, even though it’s now only three weeks away, I’m ready to quit.
I told my coach that. He replied:
On the taper
I’m now officially in the taper phase of my training. Less weekly kilometers, but still some hard sessions to sharpen up the body. And the mind.
This is a great summary of taper, from the Squad Run coaches:
“Your sharpening phase starts to transition into the beginning of your Taper here and excellent meta-analysis done by Dr Trappe and his team indicate a 3-week taper to be optimal with around a 3% improvement in performance.”
Hilariously, there is a session this week on ‘The power of self-talk’. It’s almost like they know it’s getting tough.
I’m hoping the new focus will give me the boost I need to keep the old mind-brain motivated.
Maybe these podcasts and choons will help…
Choons on the trails - top three
Long-runs and short-runs and medium-runs and any run is an opportunity to have some quality self time. I don’t like what my brain tells me, so I drown it out with having things in my ears.
So here are my top three podcasts and top three playlists that I’ve been thrashing during my training.
Bigsofttitty.png - the podcast for heroes
Australian comedians Demi Lardner and Tom Walker spend an hour talking about absolutely nothing. It’s dark, it’s disturbing, it’s quite frankly, a bit fucked. It’s also incredibly sweet and so very, very funny. Equal parts wholesome and mind-meltingly strange.
On at least three occasions I have laughed at a gag so loud, people have turned to look at me.
I run smiling when I listen to this.
It turns out PEOPLE THINK I’M SMILING AT THEM. Very creepy. Very satisfying.
Sport podcast from Pablo Torre the sport legends at ESPN.
Short episodes that usually cover American sport, but in quite an approachable and fun way. They also do soccer-football, and cricket from time to time (though they can’t really get their heads around it…)
It’s sport! So it’s not taken too seriously. Nice to drift away to while pounding the pavements.
Aunty Donna Pudcast
The legends of Aussie surreal and absurd comedy Aunty Donna, have a great, free, weekly podcast.
They have been running a 14 week PUD-cast, where they, via zoom, try a mad selection of puds. Self-saucing puds. Rice puds. Christmas puds. All puds.
The kicker? They recorded all 14 in a row… 14 puds, all in one day.
As the series goes on, they start to loose their pud-minds. Like, a proper sugar induced mind-melting of the greatest kind. Recommend.
Why did they do this?? Well, because it’s nearly Pud-mas of course…
The Last Dance - soundtrack/playlist
If you loved the great Netflix doco on The G.O.A.T Michael Jordan, or you’re a fan of 90’s hip-hop, dance music and pop, then this playlist is for you.
Covering the giants of the decade, KRS-One, Nas, Fatboy Slim, Prince, Mase and more, this playlist is a throwback “guaranteed to have you clocking” and jogging like you’re the legend himself.
Jungle Is Massive
This curated Spotify playlist comes from the Ministry of Sound, and is all Jungle, all the time.
Great if you need some high energy background music that sits there in the ears, but doesn’t take too much concentration. The legs just automatically find the rhythm and you start going for it.
Featuring Roni Size, Fatboy Slim and other jungle legends, this is a great one to buzz out too.
Run Fat Boi
This one I started like 3 years ago. I keep adding songs to it - it’s currently 11 hours long.
It’s pretty eclectic - hip-hop, house, punk, rock, metal, nu-metal, trance - anything that helps me run, I throw in there for a while. Royksopp, Tool, NOFX, Limp Bizkit, Tommy Ill, Filter, and more. And more!
Sometimes I remove tracks, sometimes I add albums. I do whatever takes my fancy.
Best listened to on shuffle. Give it a follow on Spotify!
Back to the coffee-tent all ready!
Seems like a lot of you are into the running content, for which I’m very grateful for! But the coffee isn’t too far away…
Coming up, I’ve got a coffee tour of the Hutt, a review on my favourite coffees of 2021, and how to make killer Christmas coffee if you only have your nana’s decade old instant to drink.
And as it’s only a few more weeks until the event, only a few more running posts.
Hollah at your boy.