Last Saturday I had the distinct pleasure of doing a 162 mile ride. 8 hours and 42 minutes of almost complete solitude left me with plenty of time to think about things that no one mentions to you when you are thinking about signing up for a race that will take 24+ hours to complete. Here is what you need to know:
Hire a Coach: You might be smart. You might have lots of books with tons of useful information. But this volume of training is stressful enough without having to figure out a training schedule on your own. When you start to think about the endless possibilities of things that could go wrong, you will want a coach to help you work through those situations and keep your goals in line.
You did not just get accepted into Fat Kid University: You might think that just because you've added a lot more volume to your training that you can eat anything and everything in sight. This is not the case. Food is the fuel for your body. Your engine is running a lot more than it's accustomed to. Fuel it properly and it will function better!
You're not the coolest person around: So your recovery week now looks like what a typical Ironman training week looks like. That's cool but don't rub it in. Your old training partners don't need to feel bad that they are riding 1/10th of what you're doing. Remember, these are your future crew members! Do you want them laughing at you when your vomiting or sleep running? Exactly! Don't be that guy.
You are not crazy: Prolonged training, particularly in isolation may produce the following: hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, bouts of paranoia. These should subside shortly. If they don't call Dr. Slayer.
Leave your ego at the door: Yes, that woman with the babystroller did just pass you. And people who you would drop on a normal basis are suddenly able to keep up with you on the bike. You are not slow! I repeat: YOU ARE NOT SLOW. You're just GOING slow. Big difference. Don't freak out.
Get your life in order: Now is probably not the best time to plan a wedding, move across the country, start a new job, etc. Unless you really have to. Your training and work will probably be consuming every ounce of your time and energy. Keeping your social obligations and stress levels low are a really good idea.
Trim the fat: The last thing your life needs is added drama. People who are unsupportive or generally negative need to be eliminated. Yes, I realize that sounds harsh. But you cannot afford to defend your decisions (nor should you have to). Telling white lies about your training or not telling particular people what your plans are is okay.
Get some good friends: You are going to need some really awesome people in your life if you don't already have them. You need support and encouragement. Make sure these people know how wonderful they are and how much you appreciate their support.
Some really weird things are gonna happen: There are going to be times where your body will resemble a 7th grade science experiment gone bad. This is normal. What is NOT normal is to tell everyone about it. Not everyone needs to know all the strange ways your body reacts to training. If you feel the need to tell anyone, call me. I love hearing about it.
Dani hasn't actually raced an event lasting 24 hours, she is merely training for it. Check back in a couple of months for "what no one told me about racing for 24+ hours.."