Monday, May 11, 2015

Month in Review (April)

April training history.
I wanted to post some quick thoughts on my April training before we slipped too far into May. My increased training load, and just general life craziness, has made carving out the time to blog a bit harder to justify lately. Still, I enjoy reading about how other folks' training is going, so I wanted to make an effort to contribute rather than just lurk.

Sierra on spring break in Fruita. She lost her first tooth.

This April was by far my best April ever, but only marginally tougher than March. Roughly +45 minutes running, +4.75 hours training (which includes some biking), +14,000 feet vertical, but -32 miles running. (But, when comparing April and March, I have to consider the fact that April had 1 less weekend than March. That can have a significant impact on my numbers as weekends are when I usually go for my long runs.)

At a high-level, April broke down like this: easy week, hard week, hard week, easy week.

4 weeks of training.
The first easy week was due to illness and spring break travel/family time (camping in Fruita). The second easy week was due to my right knee acting up (so extra biking). I think I've got that lingering injury under control now... Consistent daily stretching seems to be the solution. The two hard weeks sandwiched in between were my two hardest weeks of the year. So, that’s something.

Ethan dying Easter eggs in the desert.

My R2R2R adventure was the cornerstone of my training in April. No question about that. I can't imagine April without it, and I don't know what I could have possibly substituted for it. It was a huge dose of quality, both mentally and physically.

Though I didn’t make it up Mt. Elbert in April as I had hoped, I did hike up Mosquito Pass once. It's always windy up there, but this time the wind was so strong it felt like it was going to tear my jacket off! 60 mph, maybe?

Climbing up Mosquito Pass. (Before the mid-April blizzard.)

Damn windy.
When you look at the data a little deeper, I do like the fact that March and April were fairly different even though my total running time wasn’t that different. I basically traded lots of flat, sea-level miles in March for more vertical in April. And I did far more running at altitude in April. I ran some fast stuff. I ran some slow stuff. April had a pretty good mix of runs.

A week-by-week comparison of April training for the last few years

One thing to keep an eye on, though, is that I think I’m pretty well adapted to my standard long run of 4.5 hours and 1 mile of vertical. That's about 3 laps up and down Midland Hill in Buena Vista-- what has become my go-to long run this year. I don’t really feel that sore the day after, nor do I have low energy, etc. So… I gotta raise the bar on that in May, somehow.

My current training for Hardrock is very much influenced by my past training history. Since we're all an experiment of one, I feel like historical training numbers are an invaluable tool in shaping my training plan-- such as it is-- and gauging how things are going. Hardrock presents a unique challenge for me not just because of the course, but because of its timing-- more than a month earlier than the Leadville 100. So, I'm always looking slightly ahead on the calendar to see what I was doing back in '14, '13, '12, etc.

The good: I trained more in April ‘15 than I did in any past May (except May ‘10, which was an all-time monthly PR that stood for a long while).

The less good: I trained less in April ‘15 than I did in every past June! I’m pretty close for some Junes, but my April numbers are way behind my June ‘13 numbers.

So, yes, I’m 4 to 6 weeks ahead of my normal training schedule/fitness. (Hooray!) But, I’m really going to have to kick things up a notch in May if I want to beat my June ‘13 training numbers. I can't become complacent. May cannot look like April.

And, of course, I want this June to be my all-time toughest month of training ever. I think I'm on track... But, we'll see what May brings!

See that red hump from '13 that I'm approaching? That's what I want to beat!

I'm less worried about past distance PRs since I'm focusing more on vertical for Hardrock.


  1. It reads like you are right on track Andy. The one challenge that I figured HR100 would throw into the training schedule is that it forces you to be one month ahead of where you are used to being. Sounds like you have that all dialed in and accounted for. It will be interesting to see the volume you rack up on June, both distance and elevation. Keep at it man!

    1. Thanks, Andy! Yeah, the toughest thing about preparing for an earlier race is simply the fact that all the local trails are still snowed in. This definitely limits my route options... But, I'm hoping a few local trails might melt out by next week. We'll see!