This was the last 100-mile week of my Mohican Trail 100-Mile Run (June 20-21) training as I now enter the tapering stage. Hopefully for me, it'll just be a one-day affair! My goal for Mohican is to set a new 100-mile PR and contend. My PR is 19:22, set at last year's race.
For the week I logged 100.11 miles, including a productive 9.6-mile hill-repeat session on Wednesday. I ran four repeats in the Chagrin River valley going up toward the Chagrin Falls village. For the uphills, I tried to hold an aggressive pace of anywhere from 6:10-6:30, with the downhills at a pretty relaxed pace. Given that I only recently incorporated hill-repeats and Mohican is now just three weeks away, I don't want to run the downhills too aggressively because it's just too risky as far as injury. That said, I do hammer most downhills when I'm on the trails. I'm finding that hill-repeats are very effective at not only building strength, but also at improving leg turnover (speed) and form. They may become a fixture in my training.
I also worked in a nice tempo run, a.k.a. lactate threshold run, on Friday. I held about 6:15 pace for five straight miles on a total run of 10 miles. The benefit of tempo runs is that they allow you to hold a more aggressive pace for longer a la the ever-important lactate threshold.
Over the weekend, I completed long runs of 21.6 trail miles on Saturday and 16.6 road miles on Sunday--both with the Cleveland Southeast Running Club.
I wish I could get to the track for some intervals, but for Mohican the best approach is a consistent diet of tempo/lactate threshold, hill-repeat and long-run training.
I think overall my Mohican 100 training has gone well. When I think about where I was in March--sick and coughing up a storm but still able to finish the Lt. JC Stone 50K with a respectable 3:46 thanks to fresh legs--and where I am now, I feel good about how far I've come. That said, I'm a little tired and ready for Mohican to happen. I think the taper will be good for me.
In my last training week post, I said that my goal for three weeks out (from Mohican) would be "maximum high-mileage." Having consulted some of my running friends, I've since revised that goal to a 10-15% drop from this week's mileage--so my goal for the coming week will be 85-90 quality miles. Then the real taper will be on.
Total miles this week: 100.11
Total miles this month: 327.63
Total miles this year: 1,673.82
Recently I was told I'm obsessed with mileage. While it's true that I set mileage goals and usually stop at nothing to achieve them (even if it means circling the parking lot in Solon multiple times), saying I'm mileage-obsessed really misses the mark. Preparing for a 100-miler requires absolute focus on one's training and total confidence (in addition to plenty of sacrifice). Confidence is key. I gain confidence in my ability to finish and contend in a 100-miler through completion of 100-mile weeks. If I wanted to finish a 100-miler without any concern for placement, 100-mile weeks wouldn't be so necessary and instead I might run 60-80 miles each week. Bottom line: If you want to reach your potential as a runner, you have to not only train intelligently (as I'm still learning to do through trial and error), but also PUT IN THE MILES.
As you may have noticed, I recently added a poll to this site, asking who will win this year's Western States 100. The field is strong and includes seven-time WS100 champion and ultrarunning legend Scott Jurek. Jurek will have his hands full as Anton Krupicka, Hal Koerner, Jeorge Pacheco, Eric Grossman, Michael Wardian and other elites will surely be in the hunt. My money is on Jurek. In a 100-mile race, he's unstoppable, and he knows that course like the back of his hand.
I really hope I will be among those toeing the line at next year's Western States 100. Here I am preparing for the Mohican 100, a race with 23,000 feet of climb and descent. The WS100 has more than 40,000 feet of gain and loss, along with mountains, ridges, canyons and suffocating heat. When the days comes that I run in the WS100, it will be an unmatched challenge.
Onward and upward!