Monday, July 9, 2012

Leadville 100 Training Update

My training for the Leadville Trail 100 is going well. Between work, family and getting in the miles, I haven't had much time to keep my blog as updated as I'd like.

My 4:40/21st-place finish out of 509 finishers at the Leadville Trail Marathon on June 30, while not quite as fast as I'd have liked, was nonetheless solid. I wasn't 100% going into the race and definitely wasn't 100% a few days later when I battled a low-grade stomach bug/throw-up virus. The Leadville Trail Marathon is a hardcore trail race and not for the faint of heart. It will destroy you if you're not ready mentally and physically. I'm tough enough to have gotten through it in a compromised state.

With the Leadville 100 now a little over five weeks away, I'm trying to take pressure off of myself, focus on what I need to do, and enjoy the journey. I'm not thinking about a specific time or place; I'm just trying to train well on a daily basis. I see that as focusing on the journey, not the destination, and it's honestly the best way to approach a big race.

I've come to realize that I can still get in big training blocks, but because I'm now 39 I have to follow up those big blocks with some recovery, even if it's just a day or two of going easy. I can't do big week after big week after big week anymore. I need to build in some rest.

Over the next three and a half weeks my training will revolve around weekly long tempo runs (goal is an 18-mile tempo run in late July) and really long trail runs. I've been doing weekly tempo runs, but they've been in the range of 6-8 miles. Longer tempo runs will take my strength to the next level. I'll run my long tempo runs on Saturdays and then the next day put in long trail runs at easy pace and at elevation. Should be fun (and very hard). Mondays will have to be serious rest days!

I'm not going to schedule any more races between now and the Leadville 100. I feel like the two 50Ks, marathon and "short"-distance mountain race I've already done, along with my training and my planned Hope Pass double-crossing on July 30, are/will be enough. I thought seriously about running in the Leadville Silver Rush 50-mile this weekend, but I think 50 miles at this stage in the game is too much. Unlike trail marathons and 50Ks, you can't run 50 miles without incurring some damage to the legs that requires more than a few days of recovery. Right now I need to be training, not recovering (or tapering).

The annual Leadville night run is Saturday, August 4, which is exactly two weeks before the race. I'm not 100% sure I'll be there, especially if I'm tired from all the training. My taper is scheduled to begin on July 31, the day after my Hope Pass run. I think that, especially at elevation, recovery is hard to come by, so you have to really dedicate some time to it or else you're going to show up at the starting line with fried legs (and a fried mind). Running ~23 miles at 10,000+ feet two weeks out might be a bit much. I could potentially do a shorter variation.

In addition to the Leadville 100, I've been thinking a lot about the Phoenix Marathon in January as an opportunity to finally go after a new marathon PR (around 2:50). After taking September pretty much completely off from serious running, my training for Phoenix will start in earnest on October 1 and involve three months of marathon-specific training. I'm excited about it. I just hope I stay injury-free this year. Since 2006, I've averaged one injury a year, and they seem to be getting more and more serious, though nothing has ever come close to the plantar fasciitis I battled in 2010-2011.

Good luck to all the Silver Rush, Badwater Ultramarathon and Hardrock 100 folks out there!


  1. I will be headed to Leadville Sunday to run portions of the course Sunday-Wednesday. This will be first Leadville and first run at altitude for this flat-lander. Enjoy your blog and especially the recap of last year. Have been using it to visualize running aid station to aid station. Best wishes