I've been taking some heat lately about the lack of provocative posts on my blog. Folks have accused me of going soft or perhaps just trying too hard to be politically correct. So, in the spirit of the day, I thought I'd throw some thoughts out there in preparation for the Big Dance on June 28th.
I call it:
"The Top-Ten Mistakes Being Made Right Now to Ruin Dreams of Western States Glory":
10. Too Many Miles -- In April you need to focus on quality not quantity. Those people out there who are going 30% over their average weekly miles are simply killing themselves. Go hard uphill and down, get in the miles, and let the rest take care of itself.
9. Racing -- You need to get your butt kicked in the spring to win in the summer. Winning 50K races in April and May might be fun and feel good but it sets you back when the Big Time comes. All those people who've won the spring classics have mixed results at the Big Dance. You need to conserve. It's hard. Look it up!
8. Running into the race -- As much as I respect those folks who gain entry into the race with fast runs at Cool, American River and Miwok be careful about leaving too much on the course. Hammering those races can easily kick your ass especially during the last 20 miles of WS when all the Dogs get really hungry. Take a look at the results in places 7-15 over the past 10 years. It's a bloodbath! And it should be.
7. Injury Phobia -- Taking it too easy to avoid injury now will really sabotage the day. A Big April followed by an injured May can work wonders for WS success. Just ask Tim and Ann. Don't be afraid to go hard now.
6. Specificity -- This is important in late-May and early June (especially this year with a June 28th date) but don't bother with it now. Get in the miles that build strength and speed and let the rest take care of itself. It doesn't take much to teach the body waht it needs to learn. Too much now wil make you complacent, bored, burned out, ot, worst of all, overtrained.
5. Nutrition -- The heat, hills, pressure and general mystique of WS take their toll on even the most hardy souls. If you don't have your nutrition plan worked out by now you should probably just do the "Fun Run" because stomachs will turn everywhere.
4. Thinking about the other people -- Nobody has ever won WS running the other guys' race. In fact, those who do, rarely finish. Figure out your own plan and stick to it. If it works great, if not, sign up for Rio.
3. The Marathon Myth -- Again, look it up, but the odds favor the 2:35-2:50 marathoners over the super fast road guys. With the exception of Tom Johnson the race is not kind to those speedsters. My advice, slow down and enjoy the view.
2. Not enough downhills -- Everybody works hard on the climbing and the fear of the canyons and the heat but the true essence of the race finds its home in the downhills. If you're not pounding out downhill repaeats at this time of year your screwing yourself and, I mean, literally, screwing yourself.
1. Disrespecting experience -- Just look at the results. If you've been there before and proven you have what it takes you can win. If not, it's tough. Not impossible, but downright tough. As much as I'm thrilled to see Wardian, Braje, Krupicka, Meltzer and many other first timers at the Big Dance my "fear list" still starts with Koerner, Skaden and Cooper. Look it up!
Now, let me have it!