This is the statement that my Coach would send me after putting all the miles in my training program in preparation for the 2014 The North Face 100-Kilometer Trail Run which will be held this weekend. Since it was a new statement to me and have some varied personal interpretations about it, I would “google” it in order to find out what my Coach would like to tell me. And I was satisfied of the things that I would read on the Internet explaining what the statement is all about.
Basically, farmers (in countries with winter season) would put and store bundles of hay inside their barn in preparation for the winter to come so that their livestocks (cattles/horses) would have enough food when snow covers their farm. In the Philippines, our farmers don’t have barns or livestock covered structures where they could store rice straws/hay as food for their horses, cows and carabaos (water buffalos). Our farmers would simply bundle them and stack them on top of the other to form a pointed cone in the middle of their farm. But the intention is the same, for the livestock to have a reserve food during the dry season which sometimes result to drought.
In running. which is the same with the other endurance sports, the statement would mean that one has to appreciate the past months that one had prepared for the event and it is time to reduce the volume and intensity of training before Race Day. It simply means that one has to taper in final preparation for the Big Event, the end-goal of ones months of training. Putting more miles and more intensity to ones training at this point would no longer have an effect for a better performance during the event. If one is hard-headed not to observe the taper period, he/she is likely to be overtrained or not fully recovered and fresh a few days before Race Day.
My failure to finish in last year’s TNF Phil 100 was the reason why I would concentrate on mountain trail running. For the past 10 months, I’ve been almost running on the trails in my playground 5-6 days a week! Following a structured training program for trail running which is tailored to my age and history of my running-related injuries, I would log in at least 240-260 miles (380-420 kilometers) every month with some speed training/tempo running on the trail once a week and a rest day on Mondays. This is where I would test my nutrition, apparel, shoes and running techniques.
My training program paid off as a result of my satisfactory finishes at the Clark-Miyamit 42K Trail Run and Clark-Miyamit 50-Mile Trail Run last year. Last December, I finished only 110 Kilometers in the Taklang Damulag 100-Mile Endurance Run due to nutrition problems and in February of this year, I was able to reach Kilometer #60 in the H1 100-Mile Trail Run after being lost along the route and spent a lot of my energy trying to catch-up with the rest of the runners. These DNFs had also contributed in my mileage in preparation for the next events to come.
For the past two months, March and April, I was consistent with my training which involved more hiking and running to higher elevations except for at least two weeks where I would reduce my mileage and do more some stationary cycling inside the house. It was also in these two weeks that I had to see my orthopedic doctor for some tests and rehabilitation for my injured knee in the past. These two weeks gave me the much-needed rest and recovery to be stronger in my runs and hikes to higher elevations and peaks within the vicinity of my playground for the rest of my training period.
Two weeks before this weekend’s TNF 100, I have tapered my training and I am ready for the challenge stored for me to this yearly event. I don’t have any specific goal for this event but as I usually predict in my CM Trail Races, I would target again to be among the upper 50% of the Finishers. If there will be 200 Finishers in this year’s TNF 100, I wish that I would land among the top 100 runners.
Wish me luck!