Questions! | Lift Heavy Run Long

Got some great questions emailed to me, and I thought I would share them with everyone.  If you have any questions, you can use the contact form or you can email me directly at vonralls@gmail.com

1.  What type of shoes do you wear?

I never got into running in the Five Fingers and other really minimalist shoes.  Especially on ultra races in the mountains, I like to have some protection from sharp rocks and such.  I train in weightlifting shoes, new balance minimus, and Nike Run Frees.

If I run on the street or track I wear the Nike Frees.  If I’m running a long trail race I will either wear a pair of Innov8 X-Talons (http://www.zappos.com/inov-8-x-talon-212-silver-amber) that I got or Salomon trail shoes (I think these are the ones:  http://www.zappos.com/salomon-xr-crossmax-guidance-cs-black-dark-cloud-bay-blue).

I ran Sylamore last year in the Inov-8’s and ended up regretting it because my feet were killing me from all the sharp rocks.  Next year I’ll wear the Salomons most likely.  Next race is Bartlett Park Ultras 50K and I’ll probably wear the Inov8’s since that course is not rocky at all.

2.  Do you find the short runs are enough preparation for the pounding your feet take and just the mental side of the long, tedious runs?

I think the short runs can be enough, but I love running long and I like to try do one longer run now in between races just to make sure my legs feel good and everything’s working right. 🙂 I also have a couple of friends who usually talk me into going for a long run with them every now and again.  So I guess the answer is that as part of my training I don’t ever have anything over 15 miles in my programming.  All the long runs I do are just for fun.  So I think the short runs can certainly be enough.

As far as the mental aspect of a long run/race… I think Crossfit type workouts can be very good training for this.  I don’t know about you, but I find myself in some pretty bad mental places during some of my WOD’s, hero wod’s or benchmark wods like Filthy Fifty or something.  We regularly train ourselves to keep moving, get one more rep to finish the workout and I think that helps a lot.

That said, I’m not sure anything could have prepared me for the first time I hit mile 41 or 42 during my first 50 miler.  That was pretty gnarly.  I can’t explain it really but you learn something about yourself at that point.

3.  Would you say Mike is doing CrossFit Endurance type programming for you?

I would say that I do some kind of Crossfit/Crossfit Endurance/Weightlifting/Strength hybrid program.  I do a lot of the same interval stuff usually 2 days a week (8 x 200M; 2Min rest or 8 x 400M, etc.) and a longer run on the weekend that could be 5k or 5-9 miles.

I have the specific goal of keeping my lift numbers going up and getting stronger so I like to think that Mike considers that when working on my programming and that probably makes my training a bit different.

4.  Would you recommend this type of training for someone that hasn\'t run over 10K recently or would you say I should get in some half marathons and marathons before trying to train for an ultra?

Absolutely I would recommend it.  I would also say to go out and do a longer run though, maybe 18 to 20 miles and see how you feel.  Do it in the woods though and not on the road.  There are little things you learn running long on the trails like picking your feet up, not tripping, not getting lost, what parts of your body are going to get chafed, etc that you can really only learn out in the woods running for a while.  If you’re in Memphis, Shelby Forrest is probably the best place to practice for a mountainous ultra around here.

5.  Do you have a stomach of steel?  I was interested to hear you say you were eating/drinking things during your races you had never tested during training.  It took a lot of experimenting for me to find something that didn\'t upset my stomach in my marathon training–does the training with shorter runs ever give you a chance to test fuel?

Haha, definitely don’t have a stomach of steel.  I usually try not to eat anything that will be hard on my stomach the night before the race.  This might sound gross, but I always make sure I wake up early enough to “go to the bathroom” before a race or long run.  That probably helps too.  I can pretty much eat anything during a run but my favorite is PB&J and my workout shake.  During my first 50 miler I ate too much and felt a little queazy around miles 35-40, but I got over it.  This last time I made sure not to eat so much. 🙂 It’s all trial and error.  Early on I would take food on a five mile run just to see what it was like, but I’ve done enough long runs now that I know what I like eating.

Lift Heavy Run Long,

V