Welcome to 90 Dark Nights

I want to share my experiences with running in sub-Arctic Canada, daily, through a winter. Starting tomorrow, December 21, 2018, I will put a daily post here.

My main running goal at this time, is to complete the Calgary Marathon 50k Ultra in May 2019. Since I am relatively new to ultra training, I hope to enjoy a lot of mistakes along the way. I’ll even try to share them with you here.

POV shot of my shoes standing at the top of stairs and trail above forest covered in hoarfrost
Tough downhill segment along Meghan Trail

My running education started with my sweetheart running and sharing her enjoyment with me over the years. A few years ago, I decided to try it myself.

Her treadmill died several hundred kilometers later. (NordicTrack replaced it under warranty)

Later, after running through a wonderful learn to run program on my own, a world-class half marathoner I admired agreed to coach me free. I learned a lot during that time, finally doing a great job at the 2018 Klondike Road Relay.

Since, I have been running aimlessly, without specific workouts, just enjoying the kilometers.

With my upcoming Ultra looming, I crafted a training plan for myself. Since I don’t really know how to do this, I’m kind of flying by the seat of my pants. A few principles guided me – increase by no more than 10% per week, don’t increase every week, and my own personal guiding principles:

  1. Measure and manage weekly mileage.
  2. Choose concrete last, as a running surface.
  3. Run socially.
  4. Make most runs pleasant and easy.
  5. Always keep 5k ‘in the tank’. If, after a run and a few hours rest, I cannot run a social 5k, I have run too much.

Nothing revolutionary there, but I do like to remind myself regularly.

Having noticed that most folks training for Ultras follow a ‘minimal training’ principle, I think I may be in the minority. I want to run all I can, and being able to complete the 50k is just the spur to increasing training distances. My expectation is that I will find that my training is ‘too much’ at some point, but from what I have learned about Ultra-running, it seems to be more about celebrating personal failure, than climbing a podium. Many awesome runners climb podiums, but my largest inspirations have been from seeing athletes failures.

I hope that in these posts you will find some good images, some dubious training tips, and hopefully a bit of inspiration to get out and try your hand at dueling with your winter conditions.