Thursday, September 15, 2011

CookRunBeer: Training Notes: A Rookie Break through

CookRunBeer: Training Notes: A Rookie Break through: Atop Old Rag Mountain in Syria, VA I don't know if you are like me but when I am interested/passionate about something I immerse my se...

Training Notes: A Rookie Break through

Atop Old Rag Mountain in Syria, VA

I don't know if you are like me but when I am interested/passionate about something I immerse my self with reading, watching videos, listening to podcasts or just asking the veterans Questions about how it works, how to get better etc. Since starting this ultra running thing I have followed so many techniques and read so much. The most common thing i've read about training for ultra marathons is that no one technique works for everyone. In a nut shell, you have to try a lot of methods to build your stamina, pain tolerance, endurance, strength and anything else it takes to run longer than most people like to drive. In my reading I found a runner who has a philosophy that keeps coming back to my mind, Geoff Roes. Geoff has become one of my running hero's because of his laid back approach, I dont mean laid back as in lazy or "whatever man" he is no doubt a hard worker, the proof is in all the wins he has bagged over the years. Is Geoff my only hero? No, but when it comes to training I have found that the mind set he has or at least the one he talks about (I've never had a conversation about it with him, let alone met him) fits me perfect.

I have been trying all sorts of methods to get better: speed training, hill work, all trail, all road, 50/50, 70/30 you get the point. My biggest obstacle has been consistency, I would go hard and then get tired or worse, hurt, Until recently. I have been following the "Relentless Forward Progress" training program (this is not a mantra it's a book written by Bryon Powell, a great book at that so check out the link) I love this program, it gives me guidance, a set schedule, and motivation.  However good the program and however much I like it ,  I have been getting tired and  having a days worth of cold symptoms, then it goes and then it comes back. Given the stress I was having of making sure I get the run done no matter what and the cranky pants that comes when I don't get or even don't want to get it done, It was time for a tweak. The problem was that I didn't have a tweak in my holster, I haven't been doing this long enough. Behold a tweet from Geoff Roes. He had an article about consistency, but a different type of consistency than I have been having. This is a long term consistency rather than a, you guessed it,  short term. Rather than focussing on your day or week or even month, focus on your year or life. Think long term, if you push your self every day of every week, week after week then you will break down and then if you keep doing it you will break. I would like to say that this is what I took from the article you can read it yourself and take what you may. Think about running consistently for a year in a sense that, if you're not injured or broken you can take a beak when you get tired and unmotivated then pick it back up when your ready. the most important thing I took or interpreted from this is that you never have to run when you dont want to so therefore all your runs are invigorating and fun. Isn't fun the most important part of running? If you're not making money doing it, why be out on the trail miserable? I run for that child like sense of adventure, where it can take you and the things you can experience. From my own experience you cant run into a bear or a rattle snake running intervals around the track. You certainly cant strip down and jump into a cool natural pool after a run in your neighborhood.

The Pool - The Strip = Spared

For the past two weeks I have switched gears and began running when I felt like it and the thing I noticed is that I am not running less but running more and happier.  I do my long runs in the mountains on the weekend and they are getting easier or less hard (if it's easy you're not doing it right), my weekly runs have not been so regimented if I go out and feel like doing 10 or 12 miles mid week I do it, if I only feel like 3 then thats all I do. Another thing I noticed is that my millage in the past two weeks is higher than it has been and I feel better than I have ever felt. The interim weight I gained living back home has vanished. I am back down to my 50k PR weight. The funny thing about that, is that when I was down in weight and ran my PR I was training the same way but didn't realize it. I was just out there with my buddies Jake and Ben (who I hope will be ready for an even better time at Sylamore next year) just having a good time and if I did not feel like running there was always something else to do. I hope that I can hold on to this felling and have this consistency through out life because every time I lace up my shoes I want that grin of excitement to wash over me and I want to let it fly.... Or not!

Here is a link to Geoff's blog and the article he wrote on consistency Fumbling Towards Endurance

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Running in the mountains

I hope everyone had as good a Labor Day as I did. This year I traded a hot dog and beer coma for hours of trail running and some camping. Was there beer? yes... Was there hot dogs? yes.... The main focus was the trail running. A dinner party brought me to the Shenandoah Valley this weekend and besides making a little money the idea of spending all weekend running around the mountains was a welcome idea.

A day before I left for the Shenandoah I put a post on WVMTR's Facebook page, a call to anyone wanting to run 24 miles out in that area on Sunday. A familiar voice called back, Terrapin 50k race buddy Kenny sent me an email and shortly after that, we had a plan (kind of). All we knew was we were going to run on the Allegheny trail. What we didn't know, is what was in store. The plan was 2 pm at exit 1 on 64, which turned out to be known as Jerry's Run. For those interested in exploring the Allegheny, the southern terminus starts at Jerry's run. Coming from the North you would take I-64 west off of I-81 and take it to exit 1 about 55 miles, from the exit turn right and continue on the gravel road past the sign that reads ".25 miles road ends". From the South, take I-64 east from West Virginia crossing into Virginia at exit 1 take a left and cross the over pass to the gravel road.

At 2:00 or shortly after that, I met Kenny on the side of the road, we parked there because of the strange people parked at the parking area. (I think a good tip for anyone, if there are strange people at a remote parking lot and you plan on being out for hours, park somewhere else and run in to the trail head) We headed out about 2:45, and since it was later in the day we decided to focus more on the time. So off we went for a 2.5 hours out and back. Our first impression was that no one had been out there in a long time. Not much happened to change our impression. The terrain was all but very runnable. A lot of the trail was more of a "connect the blazes" type trail and the amount of wrong turns we took was proof of that. Along with briars and prickers there was enough bear scat to put up a log cabin. I hoped for a sighting but no luck that day. All in all I had a great day, not surprisingly Kenny was great company and a treasure trove of info. Highlight of said info was the new water treating technique that I almost had to use. Summation of the day 15+ miles in 4:48, a very slow pace by normal standards but considering the 7200 feet of gain and loss, poorly managed trail, and wrong turns we had a good time and a good run/hike.

Day 2 put me about 40 miles east on I-64 at Douthat State Park. This was my 2nd visit there and I really love it. I put together a nice 13 mile loop on the fly. I was feeling a little stiff and exhausted, I think due to my deflated air mattress, putting my rib cage right on a tree root, or maybe all the driving, or even the realization that I had not had enough electrolytes. The latter of the reasons was a humorous realization mid way through my run on Monday. On the recomendation of a recent purchase of "Fixing your feet" a book written by John Vonhof, I purchased some lysine and glysine to ease an Achilles strain. The humorous/potentially dangerous part of this is that glysine looks exactly like Endurolytes. The bottle they came in was glass, I dropped it, put it in a baggie and stuck it in my running kit. Two weeks later I found them right before we stepped on the Allegheny. So for that 5 hour run and the 2.5 hour run the following day I was taking glysine, instead of Endurolytes. It doesn't work quite the same, either way I lived and ended up having a good run. If your ever near Douthat check out  The Buckhorn camp ground just out side the park heading toward Clifton Forge. Take care everyone, till next time.