Distance: 43.74 mi. Time: 07:41:00(on the dot, nice) Vertical: 7,869 ft.
Monday: ~ Adrenaline Climbing
Distance: 0.00 mi.
Vertical: 0 ft.
Put in a solid indoor rock-climbing 'rest day'. Core strength is crucial and rock climbing is, in my opinion, the best way to accomplish this while breaking up the training week. This past month I've slowly revved back up my core workouts, in the form of rock climbing, and I really feel like it's paying off in strength on the uphill climbs I suffocate myself on every Sunday.
Tuesday: ~ Buford Dam, Laurel Ridge Trail
Distance: 9.00 mi.
Vertical: 1,179 ft.
AM: For the past two weeks I've somewhat neglected the trails and opted for the track. Soley for the benefit of building some basic foot speed, because I'm lacking in the category in comparison to my potential. Best way to build speed is to increase leg cadence. Best place to safely do this, rubber track. Downside, hills strength dwindles and you're burning when you get back out on them. Nonetheless, the next four weeks my focus is back on the soft trail surface and back on the hills. The trail was wet, foggy, and my legs left feeling humbled.
PM: 15 minute bike ride on the rollers, tonight. I'm going to start adding this in one day this week, and two days next week and three days...you get the point.
Wednesday ~ Collins Hill Park
Distance: 6.24 mi.
Vertical: 538 ft.
AM: With my new found foot-speed (loosely applied here) I hit the trails for 4 X 1k repeats, which is such an awkward split for the imperial-minded athletes, but something that should be incorporated a little more into training. Just over a half-mile and right under 3/4 of a mile, the kilometer nestles your mind and body into an endurance discomfort not found between the 800m and 1600m repeats. My splits were awful, I felt exhausted, and was overall relieved when they were done. One issue is the soft footing at the park. The grounds crew has been working incredibly hard to lay down new mulch, which happens to be about four-inches thick in most places. So, the run is equivalent to a soft sand run on the beach with random short steep hills thrown in.
PM: Rock climbing at Adrenaline Climbing, great top roping workout tonight.
Thursday ~ Collins Hill Park
Distance: 4.00 mi.
Vertical: 360 ft.
Back-to-back days of the 'soft sand' trail, but this time for a 'no watch, no worries' recovery run. With my focus today solely on form I felt comfortable in the softer mulch and a lot more confident at my hill ability. Daylight faded and I retreated to the car just in time. I've got to get a headlamp or the sun needs to stay around longer, but not in an Alaskan kind-of-way.
Friday ~ Collins Hill Park
Distance: 8.50 mi.
Vertical: 750 ft.
With my 'mentally' humbling quality workout here, on Tuesday, I needed to take on the challenge again, but this time with a 4.5 mi. tempo run. Did a nicely paced, and comfortable, 2 mi. warm-up and began the hurt. Drained is a bit of an understatement for an appropriate adjective for my leg feeling, but dead/heavy is a bit extreme. My pace, with surface terrain in focus, actually wasn't that bad, and I felt fluid in terms of form at a faster pace. Even got a couple compliments for other runners...always an ego booster. Finished the run off with an uphill 2 mile cool-down.
Saturday ~ Rest Day
Distance: 0.00 mi.
Vertical: 0 ft.
Feeling a bit fatigued, my feet are sore, and tomorrow is going to be tough. Playing conservative, at the right moments, will pay off in an training plan. The key is to find those right moments.
Sunday ~ Byron Reece Access Trail, Blood Mountain x 2
Distance: 16.00 mi.
Vertical: 5,042 ft.
Yesterday's conservative training moment paid off. A brutal climbing today, 5,000+ feet, on the Appalachian Trail. Planned route: Byron Reece Access Trail up Blood Mountain, down the backside for a total of 4 miles out. U-turn, and repeat for a total of 16 miles. From the start to the top of Blood is about 2 miles with average grade of 13%. This means form is crucial. The first four miles were great, stopped for about 5 minutes 8 miles in, took in half a peanut butter sandwich, downed a gel, and took in about 250 ml of water. The nutrition is an important addition based on the last time I took on 16 miles of the Appalachian Trail with none. I never like to add more than is absolutely needed, while training, in terms of nutrition, so this was a bit much, but in the end it paid off. 2nd climb up Blood Mountain felt great. Legs were fatigued, but form and pace were better and faster than the 1st time up, today. The backside of Blood was covered in ice, on the north slopes, leveled off and the u-turn resulted in a shock to the system that felt like the start of a nice bonk, but I kept my head calm and focused on breathing and form and I got back into the groove and ran successfully to the top with only three minor walks (less than 15 seconds). Front side of Blood is nothing but a plyometric workout and going down is tougher, ankle safety wise, than going up. In the end, I ran somewhat conservatively, but made the right choices and paces on the climbs. Today, in total, looks like hill repeats more than a long run:
Distance: 200.84 mi. Time: 32:13:41 Vertical: 24,186 ft.
Overall this months focus was to build some foot-speed and take on some challenging long runs in the mountains. I've felt great all month with only an occasional foot ache, or a day of just feeling tired. Not too bad on the numbers. Next four weeks should entail a big gain in Vertical, and a little more overall distance. Long runs should increase to a max of twenty, and I'll definitely be running as much on the trails as possible. Core strengthening is going to see a drastic overhaul, and recovery techniques are going to play a crucial roll in my bodies ability to heal. So, rock-climbing, at Adrenaline Climbing, ice baths, stretching, and trigger point are back on with a vengeance; without malicious intent, that is.