Monday, September 26, 2011

Reflecting on the 2011 racing season

I'm at my year-end as far as racing goes. I'll still run to keep my base built and ready for next season, but I told my wife I wouldn't run another ultra for last six months. Little did she know that such a deal only takes me to March 10, 2012...

Looking back, I ran about 600 miles less than I had hoped to during those first 8.5 months. I also was woefully inept at doing planned speed work. Next season, I'll set those workouts in stone, to be done on a certain day or days and not to be missed. In my defense, however, I ran more trails and started to read more into Geoff Roes's no-speed-work mentality. So I justified my lack of speed work after I failed to do said speed work.

What worked and/or went well.

As of the end of Superior, I have run ~1400 miles this year, and I have three months of running left. That's a significant increase from years past, and it would have been more had I not taken so many unintentional days off, sprained my ankle post-Superior 50K, or had an impacted wisdom tooth removed in May, had a toenail yanked earlier in the year, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I also ran some pretty significant weekly mileages (for me) this season. I hit the mid 60s several times, when normally my actual peak outside of race weeks is in the mid 50s. Along this same line, I ran a solid stretch of long runs as I got closer to Superior - 50 at Voyageur, then 20, 28.4, 38.1 (trail) on each of the following Saturdays.

I did not DNF this year. That's a great result considering how hard Voyageur was in the latter miles and running my first 100 on one of the most rugged courses in the US.

What didn't work

My training plan. I built this semi-elaborate training plan based on what has worked for me in the past and my ambitious goals for the year. But it never really panned out. I ended up running when, where, and how fast and far as I wanted to and didn't stick to it. Perhaps it was a bit overwhelming, and I didn't have the reinforcement I had when was doing such running (back in high school, when the coaching service came with the activity fee, the reinforcement was there, for example). I'm going to change the plan up next year to simplify it and give it more structure.
I'll do two or less quality workouts per week - one speed work, something like long tempo runs, Yasso 800s, or marathon-pace runs - and one long run of several hours. Throw in a trail run midweek and add some strength training on the off days and I'll be set to go.

My pacing schedules. I fell far short of my pacing goals this year for one reason or another. For this I'm not going to be hard on myself. I ran each race like I gave it everything I had and left nothing out on the course - the problem was that I generally started out a little too fast (despite my confidence in my pace and other advanced planning) and let myself fade a little too much. This is more an issue of experience and racing intelligence than anything, and it will get better over time. I want to repeat my fairly-even splits from Surf the Murph last year and do it on a tough course (Superior 50K, for example).

What's next?

I'm working on my 2012 training plan, but won't publish it for a while. I haven't determined what races I'll be doing next year or which race I'm going to peak for, and until I figure that out and get those dates set in stone, I'm not going to be able to effectively put together a complete schedule. I'm in no hurry - although stir crazy at the moment - because I don't need to figure out the mileage and speed work until March. That's when the snow melts and I can shift out of base-building.

1 comment:

Beep said...

Keep it up, Matt! It doesn't get any easier as you get older!!!