Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Moving via bike

My friend, Sam Haraldson, moved apartments recently. He transported his belongings via bicycle. His blog post about the move is here, with photos. He tweets at sharalds.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

50 mile training program planned - shooting for 100 mile week

I'm consistently running again, and with 14 weeks to go until a) the end of summer; and more importantly b) the Superior Trail Races 50 miler, I slogged through data to plug in a new training program.

The bulk of the program is based off of Daniels' Running Formula, by Dr. Jack Daniels (no, not to the whiskey), and all the descriptions below are paraphrases of his work. I ran on this program in high school cross country, and used it to develop training programs for my '08 TC marathon and the recently-finished SHT Spring 50K. My high school cross country coach liked to say that he could coach an entire team off of a handful of pages of Dr. Daniels' book (six, actually).

Based on the 50K finish, I decided I need more long runs, at least one quality workout per week that is not a long run, and generally more miles. The program I developed, as detailed below, starts tomorrow. Here's the quick and dirty numbers:

Week Miles LSD 1 LSD 2 Q type
6.8.09 40 10 8
6.15.09 40 10 8
6.22.09 60 15 12 I
6.29.09 60 15 12 T
7.6.09 80 20 16 T
7.13.09 70 17.5 14 I
7.20.09 70 17.5 14 T/L
7.27.09 90 22.5 18 T
8.3.09 80 20 16 M
8.10.09 80 25 20 I
8.17.09 100 30 20 T
8.24.09 80 20 16 M
8.31.09 60 15 8 T
9.7.09 40
9.12.09 50

Here's what that all means: My weeks start on Monday. Each week has a listed goal mileage, two long, slow distance (LSD) goals and a quality workout (Q type). Lets break each category down.

Outside of weeks 7.27.09 and 8.17.09 (weeks 8 and 11 of 14, respectively), my max mileage per week is 80 miles. Compared to the 50K, I had one week of 60 miles, a few weeks of 50 and more of 40. With this program, I hope for more consistent weekly mileages and to better place by high mileage weeks within the program. The peak of 100 and general peak of 80 miles is otherwise mostly arbitrary outside of the general desire to increase mileage above and beyond my prior peak of 60.

The long runs will be done on Saturday and Sunday, with Saturday being LSD1, the longer of the two runs. The idea behind this is to build endurance with back-to-back long runs, and to ensure I place my long runs on the days I have the most time. In theory, I should be able to finish the race, regardless of my weekly mileage, so long as I get my long runs in. In general, LSD1 is 25 percent of my weekly mileage, and LSD2 is 20 percent. This leaves 11 percent of the mileage for each weekday, assuming I run each day. Remember, this is only an average weekday distance. I regularly did a 10+ mile run in the middle of the week during my 50K training despite never running above 60 miles in a week. In addition, some of my non-LSD quality workouts will take the place of the LSD for that week, or will be longer than that 11 percent weekday average. I will not do a non-LSD quality workout for the first two weeks, which are designed as base-building (maintaining) weeks.

The quality workouts are generally speed-type workouts. They are based off of an athletes velocity (v) at maximum oxygen consumption (VO2Max). VO2Max is a function of one's ability to process oxygen; the better at it an athlete is, the higher their VO2Max will be. This number is used to compare performances and generate goal-specific training times for a given distance. Elite athletes, such as Lance Armstrong, have high VO2Max values; Lance's VO2Max value is 83.8. Based on Daniels' tables, I have a VDOT hovering between 55 and 58.

The abbreviations in the Q type column refer to goal-specific training types. "I" stands for interval runs. The purpose of this running is to improve one's aerobic capacity (VO2Max), or ability to process oxygen. In layman's terms, this is hard running. In this category, I will run 200 meter repeats (likely 16 of them) in a single workout, with short recovery periods in between. I will also be doing 1000 meter repeats of various quantities.

"T" stands for lactate threshold running. This is comfortably hard running (there is a difference). "T/L" stands for long threshold running, which is threshold running for a period generally over 20 minutes at a time. At this point, Daniels' recommends increasing the runners per mile (or km) pace to reflect the distance. The purpose of all threshold running is to increase the period of time a runner can operate at velocities at or near VO2Max without suffering from the effects of lactic acid, which can cause sore muscles, cramps and other undesirable maladies. Threshold running in effect improves the body's ability to process lactic acid. In this group, I will do sets of 2.5 mile repeats and 4-6 minute repeats.

"M" stands for marathon pace running. It is exactly that - the pace at which a runner could complete a marathon. Daniels' describes this pace as "faster than easy." After finishing the TC marathon, I agree with his assessment. I plan to use is on 10-15 mile runs.

I will regularly post updates as to my progress on the program, and detail my non-LSD quality workouts as I go. Happy running.

Mini gear reviews from Porcupines

All of these pieces of gear were used on my recent three-day, two-night trek in the Porcupine Wilderness in Michigan. Here's my trip report. Here's my gear list.

OwareUSA Dixon Double Bivy and CatTarp2

We used this bivy to deal with wind and splatter from precipitation. The top is made of Pertex, the bottom is a gray silnylon. We used a sheet of Tyvek underneath the bivy to protect against punctures and abrasion. There is a large mesh window, and three tie outs on the hood.

We used three lengths of Triptease and some minibiners to hold up the bivy. The center tie went to the upright, and the outside ties went to guylines on the front of the tarp.

It did not rain on the trip, and the wind was minimal. However, the bivy was very, very warm because of the heat it trapped. The second night, I slept for at least two hours with my feet in my bag, two shirts on and my torso otherwise without any insulation.

The tarp was pitched with trekking poles that had a single round of duct tape around so the guylines would hold. The lines had triangular line tensioners, which proved to be much more effective and easier to use than tautline hitches.

In future use, I need to get some inclement weather in to test the tarp and bivy combo

Z1 from Zpacks.com

I used a Z1 from Zpacks.com, a frameless rucksack with stripped-down features. This was the first multi-day trip for the pack, and it carried well.

The pack has two options: a sternum strap and a waist belt. I used neither on this trip and I never thought them necessary. We were not traveling terribly fast or over challenging terrain to require the stabilization these straps provide. The sternum strap went unbuckled (the strap is removable), and I clipped the belt to itself and tightened it until the buckle hung a few inches below the pack bottom. The entirety of the buckle then lived behind my butt and stayed there, out of the way.

Frameless packs are susceptible to turning to a sausage-roll, or a log, on your pack - the pack becomes entirely round and rolls back and forth on your back. I did not experience this with on this trip, but in a subsequent non-backpacking trip I did experience it. I did have it packed with bulkier items, and packed tighter to boot, though.

The pack generally carried well and my the tops of my shoulders stayed non-tender until late in our second day. This pain subsided the next morning after proper hydration and supper that night. This tenderness, of my trapezius muscles, is a function of the strength of those muscles, the pack weight and how the pack is carried. On a longer hike, tenderness would subside as muscles get stronger, packweight decreases and the hiker finds the proper method to carry the pack.

The pockets were effective at holding items and being accessible. In my right pocket, I carried a 0.5L Platypus bladder (I carried two total) and my bottle of denatured alcohol. In the left pocket went my filter. I could easily reach behind to grab and replace a water bottle; my poles greatly helped this (see separate review).

The rear pocket swallowed my hardshell, food, extra water bottle and other miscellaneous pieces. I like big rear pockets for holding items, and I don't think non-UL packs utilize this rear space enough (Osprey is an exception).

I used a thin torso-length pad as frame, and stuffed my mummy bag directly into the bottom. The pad stayed in place once the mummy bag went in, and like other top-loading packs, the back just turns into a huge hole to stuff gear into. For a minimalist, this is all that is necessary.

In the long-term, I am interested in the durability of the pack. It is made entirely of sil-nylon of one weight or another. Original UL packs, a la Ray Jardine had a strip of Cordura or other heavier nylon on high-abrasion areas. Continuing this trend, GoLite uses Dyneema in its packs (although they are generally no longer influenced by Jardine).

BPL just reviewed the Blast 18, a similar pack by Zpacks, al beit smaller and made of cuben fiber. Their review, by publisher Ryan Jordan, is here (membership required).

GossamerGear Lightrek 3 trekking poles

Please see my separate review, here.