Thursday, December 10, 2009
It started innocently enough. It was the 2008 S.O.B. I ran into Jenn Shelton the day of the race. She said, "Erik (Skaggs) was right. You are grossly skinny!" What? This was coming from a guy who is about as skinny as a broom. "I" was grossly skinny? That and the jokes about having ice for lunch. Was I getting too skinny? I think I got about as low as about 135 lbs. I'm 5'10 and a runner.....
In my post college, "fat boy" days, I weighed about 180 pounds. Lots of lifting weights and drinking beers. I was never fat (I don't think..." but I definitely remember thinking that if I hadn't actively lifted weights for a few days, I did look a bit soft.
Where am I going with this? So, is there an ideal weight for ultrarunning? I don't think you can pigeon hole runners by their body types but I do think you can look for trends. Take the best 100 mile runners, they don't tend to be total waifs. Hal Koerner, AJW, Erik Skaden, and even Karl Meltzer don't look like the stereotypical "marathon runners". So, what does this all mean? Well, I think that overall strength and athleticism come into play in the "longer" ultra running events where the sprinters kind of flame out in events that go beyond 50K. Anyway, just another perspective. I'm sure you can make an equally compelling argument with amazingly talented 100 mile runners like Geoff Roes, Anton Krupicka, and others that are on the "leaner" side.
Anyway, this did all make me analyze (at least on a vanity standpoint) that I should add a bit more muscle and variety to my routine besides just logging the miles.
I started doing a few things that I do think have added to my overall ability as an athlete, if not as a runner. The most affective was P90x. Yep, the infomercial that you see at 2 a.m. on cable. Simply put, it totally changed how I looked at a "gym style" of training. In short, it is the most affective cross training program I have ever tried. It WILL kick your ass. It is a blend of weight lifting (much of it your own weigh ex: pull ups, push ups), yoga, plyometrics, kenpo, and core work. It is a 90 day program. Anyway, I felt I made great overall gains by just becoming stronger. It did bring my weight up a little bit but I am happy feeling stronger and as I am trying to transition more into making my emphasis on the longer races, I personally think that this will help. If nothing else, I really like mixing it up in the winter time and getting my exercise in more ways than just running. I'd be curiuos to hear what others do to mix it up in the winter or during summer training. And, do you think having a little extra poundage helps in the longer events???