Monday, January 31, 2011

Training week 1/24-1/30 - Should ultrarunning be a part of the X Games and Olympic Games?

Another solid base-building week is in the books. I hit my goal of 65 miles for the week of 1/24-1/30 and enjoyed a fairly pain-free week with my left foot.

AM: 41:20/5.0 miles on the treadmill followed by 15 minutes on the stationary cycle. I decided to take it easy on Monday, not wanting to push my foot too hard.

AM: 1:10:17/9.0 miles down Canterberry Parkway, then east on East Parker Road, and then back home via Tomahawk and Buffaloberry. What a beautiful morning except for the fact that there was a nasty, stiff breeze coming in from the south. 2,000 total feet of elevation change.

AM: Due to an early morning meeting, I didn't have much time to run, and so I hopped on my treadmill for 40:14/5.4 miles.

AM: 1:08:55/9.0 miles down Buffaloberry Road to what I call the "Tomahawk loop," which is on hilly dirt roads maxing out at 6,350 feet. This was a pretty solid run as my legs were turning over nicely. 1,800 feet of total elevation change.

AM: 1:10:49/9.0 miles back out on the Tomahawk loop and again feeling good. 1,800 feet of elevation change.

AM: 1:46:42/13.6 miles down Buffaloberry, up Tomahawk and around a dirt road loop north of Tomahawk/East Parker. Kind of faded after 8 miles. 3,000 feet of elevation change.
PM: A nice yoga session with Noah :).

AM: 1:51:33/14.0 miles. An usually cloudy day in the Front Range, but with temperatures in the low to mid 30s, making for decent running weather. I ventured to the trails behind our house and ran 9.5 laps of a 1.25-mile hilly single-track and jeep road loop. As they say, you can't improve it if you can't measure it. And so I timed my loops to assess my fitness. All in all, not too bad. My times got a little slower after three loops but not a lot slower. I stayed between 9:53-10:20 per lap. However, after my last full loop I did a half loop, dumping out on Canterberry Parkway and running a few miles home on legs that were toast. The run involved 4,000 feet of combined elevation change--2,100 up and 1,950 down, all between 6,100-6,300 feet. I like this loop a lot--it has some short, steep drops along with a few longer ascents and descents. In a few places the trail is also a little weathered. This will be a great day-to-day maintenance course for my trail skills.

So, all in all, not a bad base-building week, except for the fact that it was devoid of quality.

This week is very busy at work, and so I'm going to shoot for 65-70 miles and will head to the treadmill on Wednesday morning for an interval session consisting of mile repeats at sub-6:00 pace. My plan was to run intervals at the track but the conditions will likely be very nasty. It will be very interesting to see how my foot handles the fast running. If I feel any pain or discomfort, I'll stop immediately.

My overall training plan for the months ahead:

February: Average 70-75 miles/week with two quality sessions per week (intervals and tempo run). Also incorporate yoga and core strengthening.

March: Average 80 miles/week with two quality sessions per week (intervals and tempo run with some hard hill repeats mixed in). Also incorporate yoga and core strengthening.

April: Average 85-90 miles/week with two quality sessions per week (intervals and fast hill repeats). Also incorporate yoga and core strengthening. Possible Eisenhower Marathon.

May: Jemez Mountain 50-Mile Race in Los Alamos, NM. Incredibly tough course. One-week taper, race and ample recovery. Lots of yoga, core and cross-training.
June: 90-110 miles/week with a strong emphasis on Leadville 100-specific mountain running and fast hill repeats. Yoga and core. Possible Mount Evans Ascent.
July: 80-100 miles/week with a strong emphasis on Leadville 100-specific mountain running and fast hill repeats. Yoga and core. Leadville Trail Marathon in early July. Whether I race the LT Marathon or use it as a training run depends on my conditioning by then. If I'm in excellent shape, I will race it and then recover for a week. If my conditioning is so-so, I'll use the marathon as a trainer. Later in July: Barr Trail Mountain Race.
August: The Big One: Leadville Trail 100-Mile Run.

That's as far as I can see right now. But really the key goal is to stay healthy and injury-free!


There's been a lot of talk lately about the future of ultrarunning and how to take the sport to the next level. Not long ago I expressed my feelings on the role of money in the sport. You can read my post here. At the risk of contradicting myself, here's an idea that I'd like to throw out there for feedback. The Olympic Games should implement a 100-kilometer road race. At the same time, the Summer X Games could start a 50- or 100-mile trail race. I honestly think the average viewer would be freaked out by the site of guys and gals running 62 miles on the road, or covering 50 or 100 miles on mountain trails. This would allow two distinct forms of ultrarunning (the road ultra and the trail ultra) to gain major exposure, bringing the sport to a much wider audience. Of course, with more exposure you'd also have more money involved--maybe not a good thing.

A big part of me wonders if ultrarunning isn't better off keeping a low profile.


Sometimes greatness is glaring--as with the legendary Shaun White at this year's Winter X Games in Aspen. Once again he came through, dominating the competition.

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