Monday, April 8, 2013

77-Mile Week; Saucony Pro Grid Omni 11 Review

Last week’s training was pretty solid—77 miles, over 10 hours of running and a 20-miler to cap off the week. Even better, I took Monday off! So the 77 miles came over six days. I ran every mile at MAF. Sunday’s 20-miler, which started and ended at the Bluffs in Highlands Ranch and included some dirt trails I’d never stepped foot on, was an excellent effort. Cruising along at MAF, I felt like I could run forever. I averaged a little over eight minutes a mile and got in 1,500 feet of climbing. I know that as the summer comes, the Bluffs, while a great place to get in the miles, won’t adequately prepare me for Leadville. But for right now, as I’m still in my base-building stage, the Bluffs is a great place to run.
 
It’s becoming clear to me that MAF is the ticket to better endurance—at least for me. When I’m at MAF, I’m strong and don’t seem to fatigue nearly as fast. One of the big benefits to MAF is that it improves your ability to burn fat while on the run. On Sunday, I didn’t take a gel until mile 16. I could have probably done the entire 20 without a gel, but the last 4 miles would have been a slog. Instead, I took the gel and finished strong. When I was training for Phoenix over the fall and winter, I found I had to take a gel around mile 13 of a long run (granted, I was going much faster). My goal is to eventually get through a long run of 20-25 miles without the need for any carbs. Even the leanest athletes still have plenty of fat to burn. So often in ultras, fat is our fuel. We need to learn to use it efficiently. In marathons, where you’re going much faster, it’s a different story.
 
So last week marked my seventh consecutive week of 70 or more miles. For March, I hit 323 miles, which is pretty decent. This week (Apr. 8-14), I’m going to take my foot off the accelerator and actually give my body a rest. I’ll probably run about 50 miles this week. Then next week (Apr. 15-21), the foot is back on the accelerator and I’ll gun for 80 miles and a long run of 20-24 miles. I haven’t decided what my approach will be the week going into the Cheyenne Mountain 50K (Apr. 22-28). Part of me wants to train right through Cheyenne, while another part of me wants to give it a race effort, which would require a short taper.
 
What’s most important to me is to stay healthy and peak at just the right time—mid August. I tend to get in shape fast and then go stale and get injured. I can’t let that happen this year, which is why I’m doing MAF right now. I'm going to stick with MAF through April and then gradually implement quality in May (which will require going beyond MAF), starting with fast hill repeats to build strength. Once my base-building is done, I'm going to treat myself to a fun day in Boulder sometime in May. This will involve tagging Green Mountain, South Boulder Peak, Bear Peak and potentially Sanitas.

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I’m going to give a quick shoe review. The Saucony Pro Grid Omni 11 is hands-down one of the best road shoes I’ve ever worn. I think a big reason why I came down with metatarsalagia last fall (I’m still rehabbing from it) was that I was wearing shoes with too much heel lift, placing a huge amount of pressure on the balls of my feet. After a lot of research and scrutiny (Runner's World's shoe review was very helpful), I found that the Omni offers really good forefoot cushioning and only moderate heel lift (about 8mm). It has great support, which is a big plus for the high-mileage runner, and it's only about 11 ounces. On paper, this shoe looked perfect for me. And, happily, in practice it’s been everything I hoped and more. I’ve put 150 miles on my Omnis and I’m now a believer in them. Saucony, please don’t change this shoe one bit!
 
Saucony Pro Grid Omni 11

So, if you are a midfoot or forefoot striker and looking for a really supportive, cushioned shoe, check out the Omni! 

I’ve also purchased the new New Balance 1210 Leadvilles, a highly anticipated shoe that's apparently been built just for the Leadville 100 runner, and the Mizuno Wave Ascends. While so far I like both of these shoes, it’s too early to offer reviews. Stay tuned!

2 comments:

  1. I’ve been intrigued by the MAF training you’ve been doing and I’ve been hearing so much about lately. Typically I’m not very organized about my training and just kind of go by feel without even tracking mileage. But since I started using Strava earlier this year to log my runs, I've been inclined to run harder than I probably should, but it’s been a lot of fun. Anyway, yesterday I went for a 26 mile run in minimalist shoes at a very casual pace and really focused on maintaining good form and conserving energy. Hardly drank any water and went entirely without food. The run took a long time, but it felt like real quality training without exacerbating any of the nagging pains I've been having. Think I might start doing more of this type of training and see where it takes me. Guess I should get a heart rate monitor next. Thanks for sharing your experience with your training - it's been interesting to follow.

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  2. Hopefully after a while Wyatt it will get dialed in for you like it has for me. On Sunday's run I ran 3.1 miles uphill, 2000 foot elevation gain and was able to cruise pretty much with my HR between 140-145 mostly, avg if 142 on the ascent. I had to take it easy in spots but it was really a smooth ascent. No way could I have done that in December. Then coming down those same 3.1 miles I worked to keep my hr in the zone which was really hard but managed to avg 136. It has really helped my base but I know we will be moving more and more away from it as we bear down to prepare for the Leadville Marathon in 11+ weeks. See ya at the CM 50K!

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