Advice on nighttime running and self-coaching, plus a race preview
Definitely love starting before sunrise, especially if I can park where I don't have to be concerned about yahoos trying to break into the cars, so the more remote the better. In either case, sunrise is by far what makes me tick. Plus, indeed, the second half of the day is mine!
As far as coach or no - big fat NO for me. The only coach I ever liked working with was Scott Jurek in 2005. He gave me the foundation (I was getting montly plans for 6 months before my top-10 WS100 run, and I never, ever altered his plan or said anything of feedback type on our monthly calls, I was all in, and did more, might not work for most, but I am totally OCD). I had a handful of short stints of 3-months coaches and plans, and always ended up doing more, so I ended up ditching them, and in a basic world, sticking and adapting Scott's original plan for anything I've done in the following almost 20 years. After OTS I no longer do much of "quality", I just throw some efforts into regular runs when body allows (menopause and older age and all), but I still believe in what he taught me. I'm defintely self-driven (even when I don't sign up for races, I just love the cycle of 3/1 and long runs and vert and mountains and the feeling of being strong and resiliant). And yes, indeed, I was a coach for 7 years, helped a lot of people to get to their goals. If I to be complately blunt, I consider it an "adult babysitting and an encouraging/excusing/organising" thing. If one reads a lot of free advice in the many dozens books written (think Koop's or 30 others), picks brains of all the advice, adapts to their life style and schedule and body's ability to handle shit, it's not that difficult. Drive is definitely the mnost important. But then again, if you're not driven, does one really needs to sign up for a seriously long and difficult race? So many other things, races including, are out there, that can be finished for the camaraderie and testing of fitness and fun and seeing new places...Call me any name you'd like. If I pin a bib number, I'm giving all I got on this particular day. I can do adventure for free.
Love reading your newsletter, as I can picture most of your adventures around Telluride in my head. I only got to spend my younger years there, my family and I leaving in the early 90's when I was 12, but it was such a unique upbringing that it left deep impressions in my mind!
We're currently in the middle (well, more like 2/3's) of the way through a self-developed training plan for two ultras coming up in September. The first one will be a 12 hour, 1-mile loop, that we'll use as our last long "training" run for our final race two weeks later - a 50k. I feel like my partner and I both meet your "self-training criteria" to a T! :) We're each committed to and a lover of the process - the progress and development you experience while training. We're both studies of the game, extreme planners, and life-long learners. And we're both dedicated to being in-tune with our bodies and our life and adjusting the plan accordingly! Having a plan is important and gets us out the door every morning, but the flexibility to adjust the plan is key to our success and dedication (and staying uninjured!). I'll let you know how it all turns out next month! Ha! It may prove to be a great decision or it may blow up in our faces, but we'll enjoy the experience and the process either way!
I love night running, the way it amplifies solitude, while also shrinking all the horizons. But I would so much rather get to it by staying up late than by getting up early (a reason to love races like Hellgate 100k and Black Forest 100k with their midnight starts). But early or late, there is definitely a mental barrier to entry, and familiarity/practice (plus a good headlamp) is really the only way in.
As for coaches... I don't doubt I could do better if I had one, but I never will, because figuring things out on my own is one of the parts of this game I enjoy – if I were to outsource that part, it would start to feel more and more like a job than a game, I think.