Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Training through Christmas: Week of Dec. 17-25

The holidays are always hard. Time running is time away from relatives and in-laws (or out-laws, if you prefer). Nonetheless, I managed 40 miles this week, and six days of running. The week left me feeling solid about my fitness and current base.

I also realized this week that I am only ~15 weeks until Zumbro 2012. At 15 weeks prior to Sawtooth this year, I was sitting in late May/early June and had ~650-700 miles of base built up from that year alone, plus some of the speed work I did as part of that base. I don't have nearly that many post-Sawtooth-break miles built up, nor am I to the point where I can easily do speed work. Minnesota winters are a little harsh for intervals, as is the footing. At this point, I feel a little unprepared, but this will really be the first year I am taking a bulk of training from one year and really carrying forward into the next. Hence the solid feeling about my fitness and current base.

Monday: 4.2
New route today: up Glenwood to Monks Avenue to campus and down Stadium.

Tuesday: 3.5
Early morning slog through Sibley Park. Slow, sluggish.

Wednesday: 4.6
Up Main Street hill, down Glenwood.

Thursday: 5.7
Red Jacket Trail out-and-back. The path was clear until the ski hill.

Friday: 8.1
Shicoton, Wisco. /w the in-laws, set I. I didn't get lost this time.

Saturday: 3.25 and 10
Treadmill runs /w the in-laws, set II. Two runs with programed incline/decline and automatic pace adjustments. Did jump squats and paid for it the next day.

Sunday: off
With my parents. 5.5 hour drive to their place, with family remainder of day. No time for a run.

Miles: 39.35
Time: 5:36:30
Miles, YTD: 1667.9
Times, YTD: 266:42:44

Up next and coming soon: another 40-mile week, a look at my cross/strength training plan, and the hills of Mankato.

Monday, December 26, 2011

100-Up: teaching running form and proper foot strike

I'll let McDougall explain what the 100-Up is.

In short, the 100-Up is a simple exercise (in both its Minor and Major components) that forces a person to run with proper form. Upper body straight, with a slight lean forward. Arms at side, swinging appropriately. Knee up, to hip height, and then foot back down, landing on your forefoot. Lather, rinse, repeat 50 times per leg. Eric Orton, McDougall's coach, teaches a similar drill - but simply calls it running in place (do watch the whole clip, but this drill starts at 3:10).

I'm doing the Minor, and if I can do it properly, the Major, every day. Why? Because I don't pick my knee up very high when I run - I do what many ultra runners do in the later stages of a race. I shuffle, keeping my feet close to the ground, not driving my knee up and forward. My high school CC coach, who crammed biomechanics and efficient running into our heads (although not necessarily our legs), would not look kindly on my form.

Neither exercise is a slouch, and both are difficult in their own respects. But they will teach you to pick up your knees, drive yourself forward, and take the longest stride you can for the speed you want to travel. The ability to take a longer stride will help when you need to run fast. Lets hope it works for me. Initial tests have put some serious strain on my quads and hip flexor muscles.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

2012 will be different

2012 will be different. It will be structured, consistent, and stronger.  Winter will will give me more miles, up and down long, steep hills. Power will be built; power begets speed and endurance; endurance begets finishes; speed begets podiums, etc.

I'm not going to reveal my 2012 program yet - a couple of folks have it (you know who you are). But it looks a little like this. A couple hard runs per week, one speed, one trail, one long. Hills incorporated into easy runs. Each run will be longer, perhaps 60 minutes or more. I most likely won't do doubles. Long runs will be long. I really benefited last year from the 20+ mile long runs and the 38 mile trail run in the upshot to Superior/Sawtooth 100. The idea for this training structure came from this Running Times article. Basic premise: longer single sessions build more strength, endurance, speed, etc. than two shorter (if staggered) sessions which equal the same time. Throw in some trail-specific work, something to teach speed, and viola! I'll be in better shape as this year rolls through.

My 2012 race schedule is at right. I'm going to hit it right away with Zumbro - a four 25-mile loop course which is sure to produce a faster time than my Superior finish. Sub-30 hours is the tentative (and arbitrary) goal, but I'm going to hold off on that until I see the revamped course and elevation profile.

From there, a couple shorter races thrown in - a seven mile trail race at an appropriately named local park, Afton 50K. I'd like to get a 50 miler in at the end/beginning of July like I did this year, and Sawtooth will be my peak race again. I'll plug a time goal in there as it approaches, but I'll take a finish and a smarter run. So long as I don't nose-dive overnight, I think both of those will be accomplished.

Finally,  note on mileage. It looks like I'm going to end up somewhere around the 1700 mark for the year. It's not the ~2K+ goal I set for myself, but it was sufficiently more than my other years (max ~1,100) that I am a much stronger runner for it. Next year's goal is similar, and I'll work harder to achieve that by the date planned (Sawtooth).

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Three days of running? Eh.

Lack of discipline this week. Pure and simple.

Monday: nothing.

Tuesday: 10.5
AM run over crusty snow. Flat, cold, etc.

Wednesday - Friday: nothing
Again x3.

Saturday: 7.6
Established new route up and down two of the biggest pavement hills in N. Mankato.

Sunday: 13.1
With the group. Thought run was at 7:30 AM, really was 6:30 AM, left house at 6:17 to blitz 2.2 miles uphill to meeting location. Clicked off ~10.5 /w group at good pace. Did the downhill on CR 90. Thought about a PM run, but hamstrings a little destroyed from Saturday/Sunday pushes.

Mileage: 31.2
Time: 4:11:14
YTD: 1628.5; 261:06:14

Up next: another 30-40 mile week, hopefully with more consistency.