Does this guy look undertained?
That's me catching my breath on my way over Hope Pass in last year's Leadville 100. My "friends" at the local Life Time Fitness office thought it'd be funny to use that picture to inspire folks to sign up for their 3-day training camp this summer. Ha ha. I'll have you know I was probably ahead of half the field at the point that picture was taken! :)
Overall I'm very pleased with how my training's been going this year and last month was no exception. My string of consecutive monthly mileage records was broken, but that's just a fluke of the calendar. This year there were only four weekends in May whereas in '10 when I set my record there were five weekends in May. That makes a big difference in mileage totals.
|A view from Kite Lake. Alex and I ran/hiked a 15.3 mile loop with 4,740 ft of elevation gain.|
What's important to me is that I got in all my 20+ mile long runs this May, and I tallied a solid amount of vertical (37,089 ft). I even got in a little improvised speed work, pushing hard on some of the downhills during my shorter midweek runs. I actually recorded my first sub-7:00 minute mile ever-- and it was at 11,000 ft!
I'm probably in the best shape of my life.
And what's really exciting is that it's only June 1st! I still have two more months of peak training left before the race. There are two risks that I'd like to be careful to avoid: 1) getting too excited and overtraining and injuring or burning myself out, and 2) resting on my laurels and slacking off. So, it's all about balance. The 50-60 mile week seems like it works well for me. Maybe I'll jump up to the 60-70 mile range for a few weeks, but that's probably my upper limit. Beyond that and I think it's hard not to be logging "garbage miles" (at least for me).
I always try to ask myself before I set out on a run, "Why am I running? What's the goal?" Is it to work on my power hike and trash my quads on the downhills? Is it an easy, flat recovery run after a race? Is it an easy, flat run to loosen up the day before a race? Is the goal to push hard and try to set a PR (pushing my aerobic limit)? Is the goal simply time on my feet? My training runs also include goals like trying out new food, keeping well hydrated, gathering GPS data and/or timing sections of the course, practicing running in the rain, practicing running at night, trying out a new piece of gear, etc. However small, I try to give every run a purpose. It helps me stay focused.
One of the exercise dynamics that I find most helpful to keep in mind when planning my training is that of supercompensation. This article provides a great explanation. Basically, exercise makes you weaker; recovery makes you stronger. This season I've tried to put more effort into my recovery-- making sure to run short "active recovery" runs (or bike rides) after every long run, consuming plenty of protein, especially immediately after exercise, stretching and foam rolling my legs, and (of course) taking days off. I believe my attention to recovery-- coupled with my consistent long runs-- has played a significant role in my improvement this year.
Next week I'll be in Boston on a business trip. That means relatively short, flat running at sea level. I'll try to take the opportunity to raise my intensity a bit and see if I can manage some sub-8:00 min/mile runs. On my way back from Denver on Saturday I hope to meet my old college buddy, Alex, for a longer run in the Boulder area. I've never run there before and I'm excited to see some new trails.
|Near the summit of Mt. Bross. My first "run" at 14,000 ft this year.|