After months of progressive increase to the challenge of my training, this weekend marked a peak in volume and intensity with another 3-days of long runs. The MDS starting gun fires in less than 3 weeks, so with 12+ hours of running completed over the weekend, I’ll start a tapering process to ensure that I arrive in Morocco healthy and fit. Rather than risk another Friday midnight finish, I chose to start my first run just after sunrise.
I believe that athletic challenges can serve a key role in balancing an intense professional workload with fitness, happiness, and personal fulfillment. Rather than cut back on work intensity OR life intensity, I find that when I elevate both of them together, each delivers a higher bounty and equilibrium is reached. Sometimes to reach this balance though, you have to make a big lean. This is what happened after I worked until midnight Friday night and knew that I needed to go back into the office on Saturday — while still running four hours and having some semblance of weekend relaxation. It required a really big lean to find some balance, but in the end I leaned the other direction and ultimately found that balance.
Saturday’s run was a great adventure — a duathlon (run-work-run), running through Zurich’s posh shopping district in my full adventure racing kit, nighttime running in the forest with only a Blackberry screen as a light source, a surprise valley full of waterfalls, and a sprint finish to jump on a ferry for the ride back across Lake Zürich.
On Sunday morning I spent some time finalizing the details on the charity project that I’m just about to announce and then decided on having a bit of a runabout, as Dean Karnazes would call it. I took a train 30 minutes away to the town of Pfäffikon (on the far end of Lake Zürich from the city of Zürich itself). With my fully-weighted MDS backpack and a map, I set off uphill (yes, always uphill) toward a range that I’d seen by car and train, but never explored on foot. I made a very rough estimate that it would be a 5-6 hour run back home and wisely packed a headlamp, but forgot to factor in the snow line and steepness of this range.
My night-time conclusion to today’s 6 hour run marks nearly 13 hours of running the past three days. Remarkably, I felt better the last two hours of running tonight than the first two hours of running two days ago! Quite amazing how the human body adapts, reacts, and repairs itself.
As always, thanks for checking in and offering your great support! Have a great week!
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.