Sunday, July 26, 2009

Training week 1 in review July 20 - 26th

Well I completed week 1 of my 58 week training schedule today. This was plain and simply a painful week. My whole goal was to get 50 Km under my belt at a very slow pace, and that is exactly what I accomplished. What made this painful was the fact that the end of June and most of July were devoid of any physical activity. During this period of time I ate unhealthy and came down with a terrible cough. So this entire week was ran while I was sick. It definitely had a negative effect on my week but because I am not too concerned about anything but distance at this point in my training schedule it wasn't a big deal.


Some highlights included consistent improvements in my split times each day. This is the great part about the early stages of training is that improvement comes easily. Later on small improvements are hard won.

I improved my diet, and switched closer to my 90% veg diet again.

Last night's 15Km run in the rain was definitely a highlight. The entire sky was ablaze from the sunset, it was pouring rain, lightning was streaking across the entire sky, and there was a double rainbow all at the same time. The sky was just riddled with drama. Great run.

I ran my first loop of the chip trail ever while pushing both my kids in the double wide stroller, and ran with Vye for the first time ever. I thought that I did really well considering I was pushing a 3.5 and a 2 year old over a trail and through deep gravel. This lap did effect my average pace for the week but I am not concerned because I am only worried about distance and time on my feet at the moment, speed will come later this year and early next.

I feel I was less grumpy, was more ambitious, and I accomplished more this week than the past weeks when I didn't run.

Some Weekly Stats

Weekly Distance: 51.4 Km (32 miles)
Total Run Time: 4:36:50
Weekly Calorie Burn (running only): 3409 (3500 = 1 lb of fat)
Average Pace: a slow 5:22 mins per Km or 8:29 mins per mile


Any time I exceed 15 Km runs my right hamstring flares up. I have a chronic tear and I need to sort that out before the big dance. I really need some massage therapy to help relieve the trigger spots but it is pricey so I will probably just sit on a tennis ball and roll around a bit.

Coughing my lungs out.

Getting used to early morning runs.

Today's run, I was low on fluids and carbs and was getting used to running 5 or more days a week again.

Next Week's Goals

Simply to add 5 Km to the weekly distance (55 Km total). I am really going to increase my mileage slow this fall.

Shave a few seconds off each of my splits.

Kick this cough.



Well I am very happy with this week and though I have a dauntingly ginormous elephant to eat, I can now say I took my first bite and I look forward to my next. I love training because it allows me to have an outlet for my obsessive compulsive disorder to run its course. I have a crazy training log with 30 columns of data and I am able to compare and obsess over every detail of my training regime. I am able to compare my times with climatic conditions, food, fluid intake, sleep and dozens of other variables, and search for subtle patterns and go crazy with the details. I don't know that OCD is a disorder, on the contrary, I think it is a blessing.

I worked my core three separate times this week and I enjoyed the improvements. I hope to run better as my core is improved. I currently weigh 141.2 lbs and hope to gain some weight this month since I will really struggle to keep my weight healthy come fall. The extra pounds are needed at this point in the game just to get me through my training runs.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I am officially training for my first 100 miler!

I am starting my first leg of the training for my 100 mile race. I now have a good base down from the last year of running, and I now know I can handle the training distances, so now begins my journey to conquer a difficult ultra-distance trail race for 2010. My hopes are for the Wasatch 100 miler, but I will need to register soon and make it through the entry process. Some other options are the Stormy 100 near Squamish, BC, and the Cascade Crest in Washington.

I have been fighting a nasty cough for two weeks and I finally decided that I needed to start running regardless of this cough. I definitely feel the effects that my health and our vacation and all the crappy food I ate has had on myperformance. Just a month ago I was cranking out my fastest half marathon ever, now today I struggled to nail my 10 Km in a reasonable time.

I have a strategy for how I will tackle my training. My first main objective is to obtain a consistent and high mileage base. Some time in November I would like to reach my major cruising distance of somewhere between 120-160 Kms a week (75-100 miles) it all depends on how I hold up at these distances. If I can handle more than 120 I will go further. For the first few weeks of this leg of my training I am purely running a simple loop trail around the University just to get back to where I was before the illness and vacation. Come the middle of August I will start shifting my runs to the tougher terrain and nastier trails. The last few months (October and November) will be a good mixture of smooth trails and challenging trails. My distance will be acquired through early morning runs and long weekend runs. I will place more and more focus on the long runs and really begin shifting my mileage to those. It will be these extended runs that will allow me to experiment with shoes, hydration, nutrition etc. The goal is to by the end of November to have a strong base but also have a working knowledge of what works best for my body, so it will be an experimental stage with observations and interpretations. A key point is I am not laying out a set weekly schedule of how to obtain this mileage. I dislike regiments in running because they can cause you to train when you should be resting and thus injuring yourself but they also can hold you back when you feel good and can do so much more, I think a key of being a great distance runner is knowing when to rest and knowing when to really crank it, getting them both right is the challenge. I am a proponent of listening to your body so that is the stance I will take. All cross training during this period is going to purely be core work. I noticed that it was my core that gave out in distances beyond 30 Km the last few months of running. So I will really focus on building a strong core, I have a great core workout I modified from some elite distance runners.

The second arm of my training is going to be from December to March. This will be a phase of running that now incorporates fartleks, hill repeats (not just running the hills on the trails I am running), and tempo work (most likely fast 1 mile laps or 5 km loops with a 1/2 mile break between repeats). I will wait to do the hills, fartleks and tempo runs until I have a very good base down and I will slowly introduce them into my workouts once a week and go from there. This will be a strength building phase and hopefully a time to increase my overall cruising speed and a phase that I can maintain the cruising speed. I will not do too much x-training during this phase because it is going to be challenging enough on its own. My legs will be fairly knackered as is, I will maintain my core and perhaps focus a bit on my arms and chest.

The third phase is going to take me up until where I begin to peak, which will occur about 10 or 12 weeks prior to the event I choose. This phase will be a quality phase that incorporates everything from the prior two training phases including the high mileage, hills, tempo, and fartleks but will focus on technique and quality long runs. This phase will really shift my weekly mileage to the two back to back long weekend runs and will focus on getting me used to running on extremely tired legs for a long time. I hope to hone in my hydration and nutrition strategy during this period. I will make sure I am comfortable with all my apparel and gear I will use for my event. This will also be a time to work closely with my support crew and figure out how they can best help me at aid stations. I hope to run many 30 km runs, a handful of 40 km runs, and one or two 50 km runs during this phase, I doubt I will run longer than 60Km. I will run these long ones back to back so I will achieve perhaps 60-70 km of my weekly mileage in two days. The remaining days will be speed and quality work plus hills. Depending on the race I run I will tailor my training to match the course. This might include tons of down hill punishment if I am running the Wasatch since that is one of the major issues with people on that course. I am also going to really focus on going out of the gate slow and keeping an even pace. I will start a peak training schedule and then a taper just before the event to hopefully elevate me to my best possibleperformance for the event. If I can peak at the right moment and force a nice taper and everything works out in my favor, I hope to finish above the cut-off time and not die in the process. This is my goal for my first 100 miler. I have no pipe dreams of finishing in a crazy fast time. I am only interested in finishing and being able to smile or smile-grimace at the finish line.

To make this happen I am going to have to sleep less and do most of my runs in the morning. It is essential that my PhD work doesn't suffer and I have made a promise that if my training has a major negative effect on my studies I will have to throw in the towel and just maintain a healthy base distance until my life is more conducive for competition. My family is even more of a priority and so my wife will have to be a voice of reason and let me know if she is going to divorce me if I keep up my shenanigans. Like I said most of this will be carved out of my sleep and I will most likely become quite accustomed to running with a head torch, and functioning on little sleep and major physical fatigue. By taking a year to ramp up to where I want to with a year of pretty high mileage under my belt I feel that I can be gradual enough to ward off over training.

I am extremely nervous and excited. This past year has given me a small glimpse of what I am up against. I think that an event in 2010 is very reachable and if all goes to plan I will run the Wasatch Front 100 or the Stormy 100. A major advantage to the Wasatch is that it would be much easier for me to assemble a support crew and to obtain pacers. Also it is a qualifier for other races like the Hardrock 100. I hope to get on the roster for 2010. The Stormy is close and would be a much cheaper option. It seems like a lovely course. I would most likely rely on Vye and friends from up here for support and it would allow me to take a few trips earlier in the year to familiarize myself with the course. These are great options and I am anxious to get the ball rolling. Well I can't focus too much on the large picture right now because it is overwhelming, so I will only focus on the immediate goals in front of me. First off I have another 10 Km to run in the morning, and some core work so that will be focus for tomorrow. The next step is achieving the distance I need this week to be on course to up my mileage next week. For now that is all I need to focus on. If I stay focused on these small goals I will soon find myself in April running 140 Km a week and killing hill repeats and nailing 40 Km tough trail runs on the weekend.

I hope to stay on course and motivated and feel that as long as nothing unforeseeable such as injury etc. doesn't creep up I will finish my first 100 miler next summer.