Saturday, October 29, 2011

To the mattresses

I have trained about every way I can think of.  I believe what has been most beneficial over the years was weekly miles.  The more mileage piled up the better the end result tended to be.  The easiest way to achieve the mileage was 9-10 runs a week.  After your body gets used to it, then the speed you run those runs tends to increase, but depending on the season doesn't really have to.  You have to build the big aerobic engine.  I don't care if your running 5ks or ultras the same principle applies.

I also think it's important not to drop this big engine into a body not ready for it.  In words, don't go from 30 a week to 60+ right away.  The body needs to adjust to the demands as well.  When you can get these two to synch together you have a good thing going.  This is the best way to get ready for any season.

For ultras, I don't think it is necessary to run 3-4 hours every week on this plan unless your doing races off 100k+.  If you like do it every other or even every three weeks, just so you keep your mileage up.  Shorter runs of an hour done quite a few times a week tend to be done at faster paces and your recovery is faster.  At 50, I just don't recover enough on 1:30 runs like I used to.  I tend to try and get to the point where I work up to 2 hours Saturday and Sunday.  The rest of the week the goal would be to do 7-8 runs of 50 minutes to 1:10.  At least that is what I would like to get near this winter, though I may stick to back-to-back 1:30s over the winter with an occasional long run. 

If you can come into February-March with this under your belt you can make the adjustments you need to have a successful season.   

Saturday, October 22, 2011

They're generation steam heat

The last few weeks I have been enjoying HS XC.  It has been a blast watching these kids lay it on the line and race.  You see the puff of white smoke and here they come.  I know a few kids and a few of the coaches which makes it a bit more fun.  I have been cheering for Waukesha South and today they took second at Sectionals so off to state they go.  I was so happy for them and the parents I know.  They should be strong next year as the top 6 runners are returning.  Good luck Blackshirts!

Before the girls race a boom box was blaring out The Ramones (Hey Ho, Let's Go!) and I have to tell you, I wasn't the only guy around 50 bopping my head.  There is one thing I learned all those years ago and it still holds water today; you have to have a wicked buck wild kick the last quarter.  I hear some people say, "He had too much left if he can do that."  Though this may be true in a few cases, I just think in HS XC this has to be part of the arsenal.  You have to be able to turn and burn.  The Omega gear you possess needs to come unfurled...blitzkrieg bop.  Though, in our day it was P-Funk, uncut the bomb.

Last night as I went to bed, I remembered my last dual meet in HS XC against Mohawk who was a local power.  The race was run on my home course and I so badly wanted to win.  In track I usually faired well in dual meets because teams spread the wealth over the distance races.  This race would be me versus their top 7 and they had a coach who knew he had to pack run me.  Basically, who ever was feeling good at the time would take turns pushing the pace in an effort to wear me down.  Before most meets, my Dad and I would discuss strategy.  Dad had a keen sense of my strengths.  He never missed races and had watched me for three years.  What he told me was simple, "These guys read the paper.  You've won 7-8 races.  Go out there on your course and run them into the ground." 

The day was pleasant.  Dad brought a good friend of the family to watch me for the first time.  Never think that just because you show up that kids don't notice...I did.  The race went off hot, but I expected that.  Guys would take off and I'd have to respond.  I waited, because my hot spot would come.  At half-way Murphy and Marvola shot out and I went with them.  When I caught them around the back pond it hit me that after the little rise there is a slight downhill grade for a couple hundred yards.  It was early, but that's where I took off.  I tore through the unsuspecting gaggle of geese and just kept churning.  With a half mile to go it was over and I breezed in with a comfortable win.  Though I was happy, I knew it would be my last meet in dual meet competition.  Turn out the lights the party is over.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fleeting Glimpse

Shoes:  Not picky.  Any shoe works for me just so it fits.  I do like to race in flats for short races and light weight trainers for road ultras.  I like to tuck the laces under the shoe strings.  This has worked really well in regard to not becoming untied.  I try an hit 1,000 miles a pair.

Racing:  Years ago was more concerned about racing for place than time.  Now it's all about finding the correct pace and holding it as long as the race takes.  Surprisingly this is easy to get my head around. 

Training:  Consistent day in day out training is best for me.  Sure, I'll take days off, but I seem to run best when out most days.  Would like to get a few more doubles in this year.  Still not convinced a lot of runs over 3 hours needed.  Sure, maybe a 4 and a 5 hour, but not every week.  A couple at most before each race.  If I can get 2 runs of 2 hours in a week over the winter I feel good and can run the other days. 

Key Races:  To race well, I have to zone in on the goal and stay with a plan.  Get the weekly miles in, maintain the strength runs, run a lot near race pace, and run 10% below race pace.  The trick is knowing when to rest and when to forge through.  I like shorter cycles because (12 weeks) anything longer is really a drag.  I like 9 weeks of hard training with a 3 week taper.  If I race then, I expect the times to be slower under load.  It makes no sense for me to do mini tapers.  I like to do trial runs to prepare for the event and gain confidence.

Mileage:  The more the better if you can handle it.  70-80 is a really good week for me.  I haven't done that kind of training for years.  Hard for me to race well in ultras at 40-50 a week.

Competition:  I always do better when someone I know is training for the same event or has like minded goals.  It tends to get me out the door when I don't want to train.

Motivation:  The fact that I can still run is motivation enough.  Dream big.  If I fail, the crew still loves me the same.  Both home and away.

Marathons:  For me, this is the ultimate test for a distance runner.  More closely related to a 10K than any ultra.  Endurance and speed and having the guts to race past 20 on fumes.  You literally have to crawl inside the brain the last three miles and operate the remaining moving parts from up there.  Everyone gets to figure this out on their own.

Other:  Try and keep things simple.  Always carry toilet paper.  Run in clean shorts.  Run into the wind out at first.  Look at the weather before running.  Run at least 30 minutes before bagging any runs.  Yield the right-of-way, vehicles weigh a lot more than you.  Decide how many days you can run hard or long a week and stick to it.  Plan your race schedule a year in advance if getting serious.  Get sleep.  Avoid bonus time when Lapham closes.  Learn to run harder down the hills rather than up.  Go nuts every so often.  Try some sort of speed training one season.  Run your training by someone you trust  for a big event just to get another look at it.  Dedicate 4-5 months to just base training.  Of course your tired, your training.  Don't always run other peoples workouts.  Nothing wrong with the occasional run hard to the barn at the end of workouts.  Fit in a fair amount of hobby jogging a week.  Always run down people you see out and about running.  Know where all the key toilets are in your metro area.  Running for time only instead of always the same routes eliminates boredom; just turning here and there is kind of fun.  Try fartlek running once a week for a nice change.  Tell someone you love them everyday.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


This song still brings it...though not a Sabbath fan growing up, it always gets max volume when on the radio.

I am back to a morning runner.  Fifty-five minutes before work with Jamie and his dog Rosie.  Of course I bring Cookie most days, so it is a regular party.  Good to be back running with Jamie.  I usually end up running well when I get some steady AM stuff in.  This way I keep up the volume and don't do any real long runs of more than 15 over the winter.

I feel like I should be running harder, but I just like the hobby jogging thing.  Kind of nice to pick your spots and try and run healthy...especially over the fall/winter which did not happen last year.  I'd like to get to 60 a week and then get up around 70.

Three races this year, which is about average for me.  Ice Age and Voyageur and then the Al's 8k.  Still a chance I'll go and do that marathon in December.  Not sure how everyone manages all those ultras every year.  My hip carriage would cease to operate functionally.

Plan on running hard stuff next year, so I am not real excited by trying to get fast at the end of the year.  I really have to pick my spots and I'd like to have an exceptional amount of base work in prior to. 

Good luck to all at Glacial this weekend.  I have a four day weekend, so outside of painting and fishing I am going to enjoy the time down.