Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Training Wrap - 2/20 - 2/26

This was a tough week for me. I finally made the choice to accept the reality that my ankle is hurting and I needed to do something about it. (Maybe the choice was made for me as the pain has been increasing since I jumped up in mileage.) Each day I am inching toward the reality that I may have to see a specialist and/or shut it down. Running short distances on a TM doesn't give me too much trouble, but doing that everyday isn't going to get me where I want to go. The aggressive treatments of ice (3 x 20 mins each day) and Ibuprofen (3 x 800mg each day) are helping a little as well. Nonetheless, that is the reason for the HUGE drop in mileage this week. Better days will be here soon...

The one positive is that I got some motivation in the mail yesterday.  I ordered a copy of "Unbreakable: The Western States 100" and it came.  My wife even thought it was really good.  Here is a little preview:

Before I leave, a quick update on my wife's training progress. Between the acquisition of our treadmill and her partner being in town, she has managed to hit all of her miles (plus a few) the last couple of weeks. After an 11 miler (with almost 900 feet of vertical) on Sunday, she talked optimistically about signing up for the Steamboat Marathon. I think she'll make the official go/no-go decision in the next few weeks. If she does sign up, there is a pretty good chance I'll be doing it again as well.

So I lied, one more thing I want to plug before I've bored you too death. My improved diet plan is continuing to progress well. I don't think I am quite hitting 60% of my diet in carbs, but it is getting better. And, I have been doing a better job of reading labels and controlling my calories. I am already down 3 or 4 pounds. As a baseline, I measured my body fat at 14.4% this week. That is in the top 20% of all males, but barely makes the grade for competitive endurance athletes. My goal is to get it down to between 10 and 12% body fat. That is tougher than it sounds because starving yourself won't do the trick. If you starve it, your body will cannibalize muscle before it burns fat, increasing body fat percentage. To truly lower your body fat, it takes a commitment to eating and training right over a period of time.

Day Miles Notes
Monday Rest
Tuesday 7 5 Mile @ MP (7:14)
Wednesday5 Recovery
Thursday 8Ladder Intervals
Saturday 7Hill workout, inclines from 6 - 13%
Sunday 7 Easy on the TM
Total 34 About 4100 vertical feet

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Fueling the Runner Part III

Previously: Fueling the Runner Part I and Part II.

In a continued effort to understand my diet, I picked up the book "Racing Weight" by Matt Fitzgerald. His book provided the motivation I need to finish Part III or my "Fueling the Runner" series. Part I of the series discussed the need to count calories. I highly encourage everyone to do this. Research has shown a link between tracking what you eat and your general health and weight. In part II of this series, I began a discussion and exploration of how to break down your diet based on the sources of food.

In the final section I will spend a little time putting the final piece together and addressing specifically what it means to "Fuel the Runner". As I showed in the table from part II, there is no one way to divide the macro nutrient allocation (carbs, fats, or proteins) of your diet. It really depends on a variety of factors like your life goals and your training volume. For the purposes of this post I am going to assume that the reader is a runner or, more generally, an endurance athlete that trains at least seven hours per week. While there is little scientific evidence to support one theory over another, there is enough to suggest than an endurance athlete should eat a high carbohydrate diet. (Obviously we are talking primarily about "good" carbohydrates like whole grains and vegetables). This evidence has been combined with observation of elite endurance cultures, like Kenyan marathoners, to generate the recommendations below for macro nutrients:

Low Medium High
Carbs 60% 70% 75%
Fat 10% 20% 30%
Protein 10% 15% 20%

Kenyan marathon runners typically eat more than 70% of their diet in carbohydrates and roughly 10% in protein. Having a diet that is high in carbohydrates provides the fuel necessary for a runner to recover quickly and remain energized for continued hard training. Additionally, it will promote a lean body mass necessary to performing well on race day. Carbohydrates are crucial to increasing fitness gains and race day glycogen stores.

In continued hopes of improving my diet to stabilize my weight and my energy, I am going to attempt to eat a minimum of 65% of my diet from carbohydrates for at least one week. Considering my diet is currently closer to 40% carbohydrates, this will require some radical changes. For example, that means I will be eating between 2000 and 2500 calories per day of just carbohydrates. That is a whole lot of fruits, vegetables, and grains! In addition, I will ease off my protein and fat by eating less meat and less whey.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekly Training Wrap - 2/13 - 2/19

I moved back to a more familiar plan structure to me this week -- the ultra plan! The format of this plan will be pretty darn predictable for the next 30 weeks (other than race weeks) -- Monday off, Tuesday speed, Wednesday recovery, Thursday MLR (mileage eating), Friday off, Saturday and Sunday long.  Rinse and repeat. I really enjoy the two days of rest to recover and sleep in.

I spent quite a bit of time this week working on Leadville plans -- pacing strategy and pacers mostly -- and I am riding a sudden wave of motivation. Four weeks ago I didn't want to run. Now I want to run twice a day! The improving weather and anticipation of spring certainly helps. Yes, I admit that having easy access to a TM is probably helping a bit as well. But I think the biggest difference is that I am getting close enough to start dreaming about the big day. The focus has become so clear that it is almost unbearable to wait six months. Leadville or bust. In true "AJ fashion", I am going to analyze this thing to death. I have no experience running 100s (and neither will my crew or pacers!), but I will have a strong race day strategy and I will work my butt off in preparation.

I also started a page on my blog that will be a collection of links to all my Leadville blog posts and resources.

Let's do this! A quick little motivational clip that I love with a great quote: "Strong is what you have left when you've used up all your weak".

Day Miles Notes
Monday Rest
Tuesday 8 Mile repeats @ 6:40 w 400m recovery
Wednesday5 Recovery
Thursday 14GA Pace
Thursday 4Afternoon TM power hike
Saturday 9 GA Pace
Saturday 4 TM power hike
Sunday 22 Long Run
Total 66 About 9100 vertical feet

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Training Wrap - 2/6 - 2/12

This was a great week of running and my biggest week since June of 2011. The highlights of the week were a strong tempo run on Wednesday and the group long run on Saturday. Both were a first of sorts for this training cycle. Wednesday's tempo was my first pure speed session 2012. (I had one cancelled after blowing up my quads on a huge trail run). And Saturday's long run was my longest road run of 2012.

In case you missed the news, I am running the Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim on May 19th with Sherpa John. Now that I have finalized my training and race schedule for the summer, I will be converting to an ultra plan that focuses more on endurance over the coming weeks. Twenty mile runs will be come a staple of my weekends once again. I hope to mix in some speed work on shorter runs during the week and the occasional "quality" long run where I mix in some marathon pace (or near) miles. If you have a twenty mile run planned, give me a call!

I retired two pairs of shoes this week (Columbia Ravenous Trails and Brooks Ghost 3) to make room for the latest addition to my collection -- the New Balance MT110. This shoe has been widely anticipated in the trail community for more than a year. The early reviews are that it did not disappoint. It has been described as a combination racing flat and trail shoe. My New Balance MT101 trail shoes were among my favorite shoes in my rotation and I wear them for road running all the time, particularly in snow.

And one last piece of news, I bought a treadmill.  It has been a subject that I have gone back and forth on for more than a year. I really don't think I will use it often, but I have two types of workouts for which it is convenient: power hiking steep grades and speed work (tempo, intervals). (I will also use it to mix in more consistent barefoot running workouts.) The additional work required to pack a gym bag and go somewhere else and leaving sweaty clothes sitting a locker all day finally beat me down. Another thing that pushed the decision over the edge is that my wife is slowly becoming a runner. She is not near as hardy as me (or is it as crazy as me?) and will not run in poor weather. Her general level of motivation goes down when she doesn't have a running partner as well. I think this provides a good option for her to keep up training. And since she weighs so little and rarely runs more than 5 miles, she won't be over working it like I would :) It is not a bells and whistles model, but it seems like a good enough machine to handle the 5 or 8 hours a week we'll use it. It also has iFit, which I am excited to try.

Day Miles Notes
Monday 10 GA pace with Fartleks
Tuesday 7 Recovery Pace
Wednesday9 Tempo Run (6:50 tempos)
Thursday 10GA Pace
Friday4 Recovery Pace
Saturday 22 Long Run
Sunday 6 Recovery Pace
Total 68 About 4700 vertical feet gained

Thursday, February 9, 2012

LT 100 - Training Strategy II


Nearly two months has passed since my first installment of LT100 Training and much has changed. First of all, I have narrowed down my list of races for the year.  More on that topic below. And, I've completed my last goal race for 2011 (Vegas RnR) and started training for 2012. I have been marathon training since January 1st. Huh? The goal is to run the Leadville 100, why am I marathon training? If you read my weekly training wrap from a few weeks ago, then you know I was having a little rough patch. It is no big deal, I have them once in a while. I am a bit obsessed about little things (like running) and sometimes it leads to these little fractures. The fun part is the moments of clarity that usually come from them.

I will probably post more on this topic elsewhere, but the important takeaway is that I need to keep the focus on Leadville. Period. And, I probably should allow myself to have a little fun too! I have a formal training plan that I intend to follow beginning March 5th. Between now and then, I will maintain an adequate base and try to have fun and stay fresh. In order to continue challenging myself, there will likely be some marathon specific training built into the next couple of months. When it's time to run the Colorado Marathon in May, I'll just give it all I have that day. As long as I have a reasonable approximation of what I'm capable of that day, then it should be easy!

2012 Race/Event Lineup

I am excited about all the events that I am doing this year, but I am just in shock that the Grand Canyon is going to happen. The opportunity came suddenly and I jumped on it. What a story that promises to be. The San Juan Solstice 50 is alleged to be one of the hardest and most beautiful 50 milers around. That should provide great LT100 training. It's going to be a BIG summer. That's the motivation to get prepared and train hard.

Colorado Marathon (May 6th)
Grand Canyon Rim2Rim2Rim (May 19th)
San Juan Solstice 50 (June 23rd)
Race Across the Sky (August 18th and 19th)

Collegiate Peaks
Speedgoat 50k
Golden Gate Dirty Thirty
Leadville Silver Rush 50

Training Plan

I don't want to post specifics of the day-to-day details of my plan because it will change, a lot.  The plan is based on the "Training Plan for a 100-Mile Race on 70 Miles per Week" from the book Relentless Forward Progress. Of course, I will modify and adapt it to meet my needs as time moves along. If things go as planned, I should have at least 1800 miles completed in 2012 when I cross the Leadville Trail 100 start line. Pretty much all the foundations I set forward in my previous post remain, including: B2B, night running, fast hiking, and some ultra tune ups.  I ran quite a few long runs last year (22 runs of 20 miles or more) and I hope to improve upon that. Additionally, I climbed just short of 200,000 feet last year and I definitely want to improve on that.

Here are some mini-goals to help motivate me this year:

  • Six weeks with B2B long runs (each run 16 miles or more)
  • 250K feet of climbing for the year
  • 25 (or more) twenty milers
  • 600 miles (combined) in June and July
  • At least two 80 mile weeks

As always, you can follow my daily training on the DailyMile.

Training Spots

Before concluding this session of Leadville 100 training, here are a few spots that I hope to hit during my training:

Barr Trail/Pikes Peak
Colorado Trail Section 1,2, and 3
Deer Creek Canyon
Mount Falcon
Apex Trail
Green Mountain (and Flat Irons)
Indian Peaks Wilderness Marathon
Hope Pass
Sugar Loaf Pass ("Powerline")

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekly Training Wrap - 1/30 - 2/5

The beginning of this week was excruciatingly painful. I was hoping to run on Monday and break 235 miles for the month, making it my biggest month since June. Unfortunately, my quads were way too sore from the monster run the Saturday prior to even attempt it. It may have even been questionable to run on Tuesday, but I managed through the pain.

The big news this week was a massive snowstorm that really caused havoc on the Denver metro area, breaking a 100 year old record for the largest February snowstorm in the state. It is likely to leave the trails and sidewalks a mess for weeks to come. Fellow blogger John Byrne posted a great treadmill power-walking/hiking workout  that I have been hoping to try. Saturday was the perfect opportunity to use the treadmill and avoid the snow. I was happy with the results, climbing the equivalent of 2900 feet in 60 minutes. This is a great workout substitute for trail runners that can't easily get out to a mountain or trail for practice. Immediately after the hill workout I did a tempo workout for two straight hours of running.

I have set a short term goal to run 250 miles in February as I build my way back toward 300 miles.

Day Miles Notes
Monday Rest Crazy sore quads
Tuesday 7 Recovery Pace (very painful)
Wednesday10 GA Pace
Thursday 12GA Pace
Friday9 Snow run (blizzard)
Saturday 4 TM Hill Workout - 2900 ft vertical
Saturday 9 TM Tempo Run - run 2 of 2 for day
Sunday 7 Recovery Pace
Total 58 About 6600 vertical feet gained