Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Month in Review (April)

4/2010: 163.3 miles
4/2011: 135.0 miles
4/2012: 164.9 miles

On Sunday and Monday (the last two days of April) I managed to run two recovery runs to bring my monthly mileage total just barely above my previous record for April. It was a small triumph to return from my injury-enforced reduced mileage fast enough to be able to log that many miles in April. That makes 10 consecutive months where I've set personal records for total mileage run.

The Boulders Trail, Iowa Gulch, Leadville.

More than any other month I can think of, April was a roller coaster of emotional highs and lows. When my ITBS struck it was like someone pulled the rug out from under my feet. I lost my balance, everything was up in the air. Could I recover in time for CPTR? For any of the races I had planned for May? For the San Juan Solstice in June? To be able to bounce back as quickly as a I did and set a PR at Collegiate Peaks seems almost miraculous. As elated as I am, I'm still jittery about my knees. Is my ITBS truly behind me or will it surface again as my mileage increases? I will continue to stretch, massage, and strengthen and hope for the best.

My last six weeks of training have looked like this:

3/19: 37 miles
3/26: 18 miles (injured)
4/02: 20 miles (injured)
4/09: 50 miles
4/16: 42 miles
4/23: 43 miles

Even though I have several different training plans sitting on my desk, I'm not really following any particular one. I'm not sure exactly why (fear of commitment?), but I guess I'm trying to run more by feel this year-- adjusting my training schedule to fit the race schedule I've signed up for. My training logs from the previous two years form the foundation of my training. I know what kind of results they produced, so they're an invaluable benchmark.

As complicated as training schedules can get, here's my basic high level plan for this year:

Jan: 25 miles/week
Feb: 30 miles/week
Mar: 35 miles/week
Apr: 40 miles/week
May: 45 miles/week
Jun: 50 miles/week
Jul: 55 miles/week
Aug: taper and race!

Of course, nothing is set in stone and there are always weekly variations from the average, but I think these high level per week averages are a good guideline for me to train by. Their beauty is their simplicity: weekly mileage just increases 5 miles/week/month.

May is when the hammer drops. I consider May, June, and July to be peak training time. Every year, Collegiate Peaks ushers in a new phase of training for the 100. This year I've got the Quad Rock 25 in two weeks and the Sage Burner 50K two weeks after that! So my week-by-week schedule for the end of April and the rest of May looks like: race, train, race, train, race. (That pretty much sums up the life of an ultra runner.)

The mileage to beat for May is 238.4 (set in 2010). That's my all time monthly high. I don't think I'm likely to top it this month-- nor am I sure it's smart to even try. Training is more than just mileage. Probably my most important goal this month is to run one 20+ mile run every week and follow it up with a 5-10 mile recovery run the day after. Sure, I could pad my mileage by sprinkling a ton of 5-7 mile runs throughout the week, but the long run is the key.

The plan is for May is ~20 miles Tue/Wed/Thu and ~30 miles Sat/Sun. Stay vigilant about ITBS: continue to stretch, foam roll, and strengthen. Eat lots of protein. Drink lots of Recoverite.


Clown shoe power!

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