One of the challenges of ultrarunning is getting sufficient time on your feet in training.
I know from experience that a race of 12 hours is hard to prepare for as there aren’t that many times that you can find 12 hours to spend running in the lead up to a race – and there are few coaches who would recommend doing so, anyway. The general advice seems to be that you should learn to run on tired legs, mostly by doing long runs ‘back to back’ on weekends. A 30km run on Saturday followed by a 25km run on Sunday when you are still recovering? Perfect.
But another way that you can get more time on your feet can be by physically spending more time on your feet – and the easiest way to do that while still living a regular sort of life is to make sure you are walking more.
The Garmin Vivoactive has a step counting feature which is a nice reminder to move more, but I really think it is a matter of habit forming, and over the last few months I’ve made walking to work and with Jamie one of my daily habits.
For example, I drop Jamie off at the school bus each morning and then – barring injury – make the walk into work from the bus stop.
It’s about 2.5km or so all up as I twist and turn through Lyon’s 6th arrondissement in the direction of Part Dieu and the DOZ offices. It’s a good way for me to get my mind in the game ahead of the work day, and I use the time to listen to podcasts. In the end it is only about five minutes slower than taking a bus to work but far more relaxing and productive than standing, shaking, and rolling towards the office.
At lunch (assuming I have brought something from home I can heat and eat quickly) I like to take a walk in the area nearby.
A loop through Villeurbanne and back to work takes about thirty minutes and it not only helps the digestion but gives me a taste of fresh air before starting the afternoon session and tapping away on the MacBook Air again.
I rarely take the same route on these lunchtime strolls, and I like to take the odd photo and continue with any podcast I started in the morning but didn’t quite finish. With Michael Hyatt, Ray Edwards, and Hal Elrod all dropping into the feeds around lunchtime, it can be a good way to hear some fresh content.
Picking Jamie up in the afternoon offers another opportunity for a short walk. It’s only a hundred meters shorter than the walk in the morning from the school bus, but coming at the end of the day it’s different feeling.
I rarely take the same route twice in a row cutting through the streets to the school at the end of the day, but I always enjoy knowing Jamie is waiting at the other end with tales of his day at school.
Remember, though, I only have Jamie one week out of two, and that means that half the time I don’t have to go to work or come home via the school. On days like that it’s easy for me to take a longer morning stroll from home to the office.
This is perhaps my favorite walk of all.
I cue up a podcast, walk with a tumbler of hot coffee in one hand, and watch the city wake up as I pass from the 1st arrondissement across the bridge to the 6th arrondissement, and then into the 3rd arrondissement and work. It’s a 3.5km walk that takes about 30 minutes or so to complete, and I arrive fresh at the office and ready to go.
The combination of a morning walk, a lunchtime stroll, and a walk at the end of the day means I am adding at least an hour and, some days, as much as 90 minutes, of time on my feet each day. I am convinced it all helps in preparing for an ultramarathon and, as I never push myself hard on these walks, they aid in the post-run recovery, too.