Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Building Up Again

It is so easy to want to immediately get right back into your peak training schedule following a big race, but it is important to give your body some rest. What does rest look like? That means lower mileage and lighter to no speed work for three to four weeks.

I always notice a change in my body about a month or so after a big race and even a bigger change eight weeks after a big race. And that is when the body is ready for increased mileage and harder efforts such as long tempo runs.

I am currently a little more than five weeks removed from Western States and a little over 12 weeks out from my next big race at 24 Hours the Hard Way at the end of October.

So, the majority of August will be used for getting my legs used to pavement again and getting a solid base for the bulk of my training for September and October.

I know it is hard to be patient as a runner because it takes so much time to get to the peak of your training, but it is imperative that you give your body rest and recovery before building back again and with only one race left on my schedule this year, I want to end with a bang. This training philosophy gives me the best chance.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Training for July 30th-August 5th

Monday- 12 mile run on a 5 mile out and back on one of the frontage roads in Cheyenne. The run was on a rolling paved road at 6,200ft elevation. I ran the first five miles comfortably and the second five at 6:40 pace. I ran the last mile in 6:29 and about died. I finished my run with two miles barefoot on grass. It was a very hard run.

Tuesday- legs were tight and the breathing was still tough but I was able to run 12 miles on a 0.75 mile loop in 1:32 in the neighborhood pretty comfortably. The goal is to run at least two hours on the frontage road tomorrow pretty easy with some pickups built in.

Wednesday- not near what I wanted to do but it was something. I ran two four mile out and backs where I ran the first two miles comfortable, then I picked up the pace the two miles back to the house. Each of those miles were under 7 minutes per mile. I finished with about a mile of barefoot running. The end total was 9 miles in 66 minutes.

Thursday- best run of the trip! I finally didn't feel the altitude:) I ran 12 comfortable miles around Cheyenne. I can't seem to get past 1.5 hrs in this trip but that is what you get when you are on vacation.

Friday- Tough run today. The goal was to get in some speed work; however, all I could muster was a three mile tempo run in the high 6:10's and a two mile tempo run in the 6:30's. The altitude kicked my behind:) I finished with three miles barefoot on the grass for a total of 11 miles in 1:20.

Saturday- off( drove 18 hrs back home from Wyoming)

Sunday- Tough 17.36 mile run today in 2 hours. The eighteen hours in the car and all the junk food on the ride didn't help. This run definitely shook all that out of me:) but I paid the price.....then I immediately jumped in my pool to cool down:)
Finished the night off with a one hour hill workout slowly to shake out the legs. It is tough to start a run at 9pm after a long weekend. I finished with 80 miles for the week and ten hours of running. It is something to build in.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

50k Fun Run on the Tahoe Rim Trail

I had run the Tahoe Rim 100 Mile the previous four years, but this year it was the 50k. With a big 24 hour race on the horizon in October, I am using July and August to work solely on getting my speed back that I lost from the NorthCoast 24 and Western States. I also knew that my legs still had some hill training in it from WS, so I wanted to get in one last trail race. It also helped that I was on vacation at D.L. Bliss on the west shore of Lake Tahoe:) So, with my wife's blessing, I woke up at 3:50 a.m. and made my way around the shore to Spooner Lake and the start of the race.

Without going into much detail about the race, my goal was to run hard the whole time and I was able to accomplish that. I ran all but about 30 yards of the race and ran steady most of the way. I trailed from the very first mile and was able to move from second to first on the climb up to Tunnel Creek out of the Red House Loop (mile 17). When I moved into first, I pushed it for the next three to four miles to make sure I got some separation.

I just continue to find it difficult to run races at altitude (7,000 to 9,000ft) without training at all at altitude. It makes the race uncomfortable from the outset. I am pleased with run and result and especially with it only being four weeks after Western States.

It is a good start to gaining my speed back and laying the foundation of training before 24 Hours the Hard Way in October.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Million Dollar Question

One question that I get asked often is, "How long does it take you to recover from a race?" It really is a good question with a somewhat complicated answer. I first want to say that this a topic that I have discussed with my ultra running mentor Mark Dorion many times. We both have come to an agreed upon answer and that is, it doesn't take long to get back to 85%. It just takes awhile to get that other 15% back.

In general, I am running within two days of a race over 100 miles. Any race 100k or shorter, I try to run the following day if possible. By the next weekend, I am back at 70%. By the second weekend, I am back to 85%. It will generally take me two to three months to get back to 100%. The last thing that comes back is my speed.

One of the issues I had leading into Western States this year was the lack of recovery from the 100k World Championships and the NorthCoast 24 Hour race. With only a two week recovery from the 100k to the NorthCoast 24 Hour and seven weeks from NorthCoast to Western States, my legs weren't recovered enough to get in any quality speed work.

I won't have that issue going into 24 Hours the Hard Way in October because I have a four month break following Western States. I will have time to rest the quads with low mileage weeks(60's-70's) and focusing on tempo and interval runs. Then when August hits.....I will start building the miles needed to handle the 24 hour race but still incorporating long tempo runs to maximize my cruising pace needed to run 150 to 160 miles in a 24 hour race.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Do You Stay Motivated in Your Training ALL Year Long?

Wow! This is tough for anybody who races ultras year round? Currently, I am training for my fourth 100+ mile race this year and my sixth race of the year. So, how do you stay motivated to train when your body isn't really recovered and your legs aren't fresh. Well, there are a few things that work for me and maybe one or more of these will work for you.

1.) Don't train alone.

I find it easier to train if you are training with someone else, at least part of the time. This will get you out of bed when everything inside of you wants to stay in bed. And if you can train with someone who "is" motivated that is a double bonus. Some of that excitement MIGHT:) rub off on you.

2.) Variety

Changing up training routes and even the types of races can make it seem new and less monotonous. If you have been doing a lot of road races, throw in a trail race and vis versa. Moreover, mixing up the race distances can trick the mind and body into thinking you are dong something totally different. Additionally, incorporating some barefoot grass running helps you work on good running form that may have been changed during your long season and it again provides more variety to the types of workouts you do.

3.) Leave the watch at home.

Leaving the watch at home can relieve some of the stress from training. With running so many races the legs will slow and take a while to recover and feel new again. In turn, the times on your training runs will generally be slower than earlier in the year. The important thing to do is to just spin the wheels and focus on effort and not times. When you are going out for a recovery run....speed is not important, so leave the watch at home. Run a route that you are familiar with, so you know you are getting the distance needed and forget about the time.

4.) Mix in slow days with hard efforts.

This is a good training tip in general. For instance, this past Sunday I completed a sixteen mile run with a friend of mine. We did this on a eight mile out and back that we completed twice. We ran the first four miles comfortably and the four miles back to the cars uncomfortably. I knew with it only being two weeks post Western States that this type of workout tax my body. So, I spent the next two days recovering. That meant....spinning the wheels and making sure each of these two runs were easy efforts, then I could push it a little bit on Wednesday. I find that the body needs more recovery days as you get later into the race season, but that doesn't mean days off.

5.)  Destination Race/Local Race

I guess the common theme is "change your routine." If you have been generally racing highly competitive races, it is nice to do a low key local race. Sometimes this will relieve the stress that often is the culprit of "burnout." For example, after running Western States in 2005-2007, I followed those races with the Rio Del Lago 100 mile race in the fall. RDL had more of a family relaxed atmosphere. My family could see me every five miles and I didn't feel like I was mentally grinding all day like I would in a highly competitive field like Western States. And as an added bonus, it is easier to get to know other runners in the race and that always helps me get a better perspective on why I do this crazy thing called ultra running:)

Well, I hope these tips help you as much as they help me.