Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Training Update

I have not decided if I am going to stay with the weekly training update or go to infrequent, general updates for 2015. For now, I'll do the latter.

At the end of 2014, I felt pretty run down and wasn't really enjoying running much. Frankly, I think most of this had to do with not having a goal that got me motivated; I was never fully into Bear 100. I wrote several blog posts about motivation and trying to get myself excited. But, I just never managed to find my groove and trained pretty poorly in July and August due to an ankle injury and "life". Taming a hundred miles is so much harder than any other distance I have run. I cannot fully explain to people that have done another distance of ultra how much harder the 100 mile distance is. It weighed on my mind big time ahead of Bear 100.

I also have been dealing with an injury since before the North Fork 50. This is not an injury I have discussed here and may not be much of an injury at all, more of a compensation thing. Basically, I have had general knee pain -- and occasional shin pain -- since June. I finally decided to see my PT at the start of 2015 so it didn't linger into Western States. The good news is that isn't anything major and quite curable. The better news is that I can run through it (smartly, of course). We think it started with a pulled hamstring that occurred in March of 2014. When I attempted to run through it, I developed a compensation pattern that has me rotating my knee inward and sort of hyper-extending it backward. And, my hamstring remains quite tight and knotted from the injury. All of that is fixable with time, but it really played with my head for a long time. Being "injured" sucks and is highly demotivating to training.

Finally, being and obsessive and an ultra guy, I think overdid things a bit, particularly in the areas of vertical gain and long-long runs. Every year I have a tendency to slip into logging mileage and long-long runs during ultra season, foregoing the consistency and structured training that I like to do. I ran 6 runs of longer than 30 miles in 2014 and 10 longer than a marathon. When it was all said and done, I had one of the bigger stats years of my "running career", accumulating nearly 300K of vertical gain and nearly 400 hours of running -- not including, on average, 1.5 XT sessions a week.

Put it all together, and I just needed time. So, for the last few months of 2014 I tried to just run by feel and for fun. Then, I got a jolt when I got into WS100 that carried me for a few weeks. However, that quickly turned to angst as I obsessed about my knee before I finally got into see the PT.

Ah, finally, I have a plan and I am moving forward. Running is fun and I am going with the flow. Some days I sleep in and run at lunch. Other days, I run in the morning. I've even had a few days where I ran after work. I just fit it in where motivation and time allows. And, I am slowly starting to stop obsessing about cross-training. When you are injured, it is easy to convince yourself that adding more cross-training is what you need, possibly even considering alternative ways to train like CrossFit. And, like everything, I can overdo that too! The last thing that I have done is to stop fighting Winter. I haven't really attempted to run trails since New Years Day (a tradition) because the conditions just aren't enjoyable to me. So, I am running lots of hilly roads and lots of structure, things I enjoy. I am working a lot on raw speed -- short intervals and strides. The nice thing is that I suddenly feel like I am holding back, where two months ago every run felt like labor. I can -- and want to -- run more. But, I am intentionally trying to slowly build momentum towards March and April when real training will begin. I plan to peak once only this year -- June 27th. I have no plans for June 29th and beyond... yet anyway.

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