this time, i’ve gone too far

 
one of the difficult things about endurance sports is the time investment.  between my wife kris and i, we’ve spent nearly 20 hours preparing, training, or doing events in the past week.  that’s a significant chunk of time, especially with job, kids, and everything else there is to do.
 
i try to make the time spent training count.  i’ve logged all of my running for the past several years here.  this really helps in a number of ways :
 
  • the act of writing this down makes me think about how successful each run is.  i record not only how far and fast, but also how i felt while doing it.
  • i can see trends more easily.  i usually run between 30-35 miles per week.  more than that and i start to feel tired.  i know that one speed workout, and a couple of tempo runs are about my max too.
  • i’ve got lots of info about how long particular routes are – which helps me plan.

with all of this data (subjective and objective) i can see what’s working and what’s not.  my entries from june reflect how down i felt after crashing during the deadwood trail marathon.  being results-oriented is pounded into us in the workforce, so there’s a tendency to focus on those.  results come out of your day-to-day process though – so i’m always learning as i go.

over the past several weeks, i’ve stepped up my training quality significantly, preparing for the top of utah marathon next month.  focusing on this new goal, and seeing some good results day-to-day have really turned me around mentally from where i was about a month ago.  i’m concerned about running at altitude again, but will be as prepared as i can be.

so – this was what sent me outside to run 23 miles yesterday.  i planned this route the night before.  if you look at the elevation plots you’l notice that there’s a fair bit of up and down – taxing my body by climbing is one of the ways i can simulate running at altitude.  this run isn’t as difficult as running in the mountains, but it does the job – especially since there are a good 3 miles of climbing close to the end of the run.

i did a similar (less-challenging) run a couple of weeks back, and was really wiped out towards the end.  my latest experiment is with chi-running though – and the form focuses and more efficient technique seems to have worked.  don’t get me wrong – i felt tired from about mile 11 on.  i kept focusing on belly-breathing, cadence, keeping my upper-lower body aligned, and leaning forward a bit (to create momentum), and this all seemed to help significantly.

the wierdest part of this whole experiment is the uphill running method.  you turn to face about 45 degrees to the side, and run taking your back foot across the front of your body (like you’re climbing a hill on skis).  it looks pretty funny, and feels pretty awkward yet.  results here are mixed – my heart rate doesn’t climb as high, but my hip flexors are pretty zapped by this.  i climbed about 1700′ feet yesterday, much of it running sideways, but the jury is still out.

i’m noticing that different muscles are fatigued too.  i’ve got no calf cramping, and my quads are okay.  my hips are pretty sore though.  i think this is by-design, since most of the work should come from your core muscles, rather than your legs.  still – i almost need to do a real comparison of this method and my usual method in order to know.  at least i haven’t fallen down yet.

anyway – running 23.5 miles took about 4 hours.  not a bad place to be six weeks before the race.

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