Monday, August 1, 2011

Training Week 7/25-7/31

The week ending July 31 was unlike any "final" week of 100-mile training I've ever had. Ordinarily I would have cranked out monster miles in one final push for optimal fitness going into my big 100-miler (a misguided approach). Instead, I decided to give my legs a bit of rest by incorporating some cross-training in advance of an intense weekend of trail running in the mountains.

Monday - Cycled 8 miles. Super easy and very fun. No running.

Tuesday - Ran 10.3 miles easy.

Wednesday - Ran 9.7 miles easy and then later in the day cycled 8.25 miles.

Thursday - Nice tempo run in the Parker hills. 6 miles at tempo pace, 10.85 miles total. Last two miles of the 6-mile tempo were my fastest (6:23 and 6:20). Again, this run was in the hills.

Friday - Ran 9.8 miles easy.

Saturday - Headed to Boulder, where I summitted South Boulder Peak and Bear Peak. Total run was 3 hours. 3,900 feet of vertical.

Sunday - Headed to Mountain Falcon for 16 miles on the trails. 3,000 feet of vertical. Later that day I ran 3 miles easy just to loosen up the legs. Total running time for the day was 3 hours, 6 minutes.

  • Total miles for the week: Running: 71.5; Cycling: 16.25
  • Total time running and cycling: 12 hours, 17 minutes
  • Total vertical: 11,000 feet
  • Total runs: 7
  • Average mileage per run: 10.2
  • Yoga stretches, core strengthening and push-ups
Total miles for the year: 2143.41

I've achieved a first--for the first time ever, I've training for a 100-miler without running a single 100-mile week. Back in April, I did have at least one 7-day stretch of 100+ miles, but there have been zero calendar weeks of 100+ miles. I have hit 90+ a few times, though. We're just going to have to wait and see whether this revised approach to training is the right one for me. I really believe 100-mile weeks at elevation are far harder on the body than at sea level.

Here are my monthly running mileage totals for the year:
  • July - 370.5 (1 race - Leadville Trail Marathon)
  • June - 344.5 (1 race - Mount Evans Ascent)
  • May - 327.3 (1 race - Jemez Mountain 50-Mile)
  • April - 275.4 (2 races - Eisenhower Marathon and Cheyenne Mountain 50K)
  • March  - 321.4
  • February - 298.8
  • January - 207.8 (coming back from foot injury)
Total 2011 race mileage to date: 148.9 (Cheyenne 50K was actually 32 miles)

Pretty consistent, if you ask me. I also like the build-up in mileage and the fact that my best race of the year so far was my most recent race--the Leadville Trail Marathon (13th overall). Reading between the lines, in June and July I hit the trails and mountains hard, getting in some serious quality and building my climbing muscles. The numbers tell only part of the story.

So the taper is now on. My goal this week is about 10-11 hours of training with some cycling mixed on. No runs over 2 hours and no hard efforts in the mountains. This is most welcome. I can't tell you how hard it's been spending a huge chunk of Saturday and Sunday away from my family. After Leadville, I need to think long and hard about whether I want to do this again in 2012. At some point, time away from family comes at a cost.


Also over the weekend, I bought some new Hoka One One Bondi B's. This is my second pair of Bondis. My first pair are a little short and consequently not good for runs over 10 miles. My new pair are a half-sizer larger than what I'd normally wear and should be able to accommodate my feet at Leadville. In case they don't, I'll have several pairs of shoes on hand.

I like Hoka One One Bondis, which are road shoes, because they're very soft and super comfortable. I also like the Hoka One One Mafates, which are trail shoes, but unfortunately they don't accommodate my orthotics. The Mafates have rubber banding around them that simply make fitting my orthotics in them impossible. Besides, since Leadville is a pretty runnable course, the Bondis should work well for me.


I've been thinking a lot about my goals for the Leadville 100. This will be my sixth race of 100 miles or more and my second Leadville. As with any race of this distance, and especially a race like Leadville, where I was humbled last year, my #1 goal is to finish. The next goal is to once again get the big El Plato Grande buckle for a run under 25 hours. My third goal is rather ambitious: a time under 20 hours. To run a sub-20 at Leadville, I need to reach the Winfield aid station (50 miles/turnaround) in about 9 hours. Breaking 20 hours at Leadville is incredibly difficult. Not many runners can hold that kind of pace over the course of 100 miles between 9,200 and 12,600 feet with a total of four mountain passes to navigate.

The danger of Leadville is that you never know when the altitude is going to bite you. It happens fast and, when it does, it hurts you badly. Many runners get through Leadville without altitude-related problems, and yet others get squashed under the fast-dropping hammer. You have to respect the course, the elements and the environment in which you're running 100 miles.

Ever since the Jemez 50-mile race in May, my perspective on climbs has changed dramatically. The steepness of the Jemez climbs is such that Hope Pass just doesn't look that scary. I very much respect Hope Pass and think it's a difficult trek for sure, but if you've done Jemez you know what I'm talking about. The climbs, descents and technical terrain at Jemez are off the charts. You won't find this at Leadville except for one steep section after entering Hope Pass from the backside. With climbing, I've found that a good attitude and experience are key. I have developed both since last year's race.


Leadville...inch by inch....

Get 'er done.

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