Friday, September 5, 2014

late summer training

Long story short: I'm attempting to run fast in some cross-country races this fall. But I am unwilling to train for them traditionally.  I'd get hurt-- I'm too old, too far out from regular speed workouts, and too burned out from years of doing the road and track grind. It sucks. All it ever did was break me down, making me slow and weak. Harrumph, and so be it.

The experiment: Can I run good XC races-- even personal bests-- off of mountain training? This month, I'll make a few runs at cracking the top 10 all-time list at the local XC series in Northampton. It'll take 15:46 on this tough little course.  (I ran 16:00 there a few weeks ago on tired legs, in hot weather. I hope there's 14 seconds to find.) Then I'll run against a tougher field at the Western Mass Distance Project XC race in October, and maybe continue the "season" with Mayor's Cup or the New England championships, if I can keep life balanced this fall.

 I'm continuing the weekly uphill workouts, both for long-term mountain running development and also as my biggest training stimulus.  These are run recklessly hard, yielding 40-60 minutes total of near-race-effort stimulus.* My other weekly workout all year has been "fast", but only recently have I increased its importance and added some 8k race pace work. Training is rounded out with a 2 hr long run (nothing crazy), a weekly mountain bike ride, weight lifting, and a few very easy days. Here are the weekly hard workouts that I ran from July through early September, from the training log.

*Coaches typically assign threshold workouts (tempos) of 20-30 min, and VO2-max workouts (intervals) of 30 min max total hard running.  This is because running longer at these intensities-- on flat ground-- would become race effort, because the eccentric muscle abuse becomes a limiting factor.  But the mountain workouts below are a mix of threshold and VO2-max effort, totaling 40-60 minutes.  This is possible because uphill running has very little eccentric muscle action, providing a way to get way more training stimulus than track intervals or tempos.

**"Keep it Rollin" is a workout Coach Joe had us do a lot in college.  His version is 3x 10 min AT effort, going a bit further with each interval. Lots of bang for your effort/buck. 

date          miles       time                                              notes
15-Jul80:56:31AM: 5k track tempo (17:27, 5:37's), then 2x 200 (:35, :34). Tempo felt awkward, slowed a bit last half. Hot/humid.


treadmill hillclimb: continuous 4 miles, avg. 10.5%, 2217': 9% (8:51), 10% (8:55), 11% (9:13), 12% (8:59). Ran the last mile hard and the last .25 very hard.

treadmill testing w/ Nate Smith-- 4x 3 min runs, increasing pace, ~5:40 pace down to ~5:10 pace, w/ ~1 min breaks for blood sampling; then 3 min very hard running to determine Vo2 max (down to 4:51 pace). Results: 4 mmol "threshold"= 5:24/mile. VO2 max= 63.8 ml/kg/min @ 4:51 pace. Prob could have gone faster (higher VO2) but panicked trying to breathe in the freakin' mask.
25-Jul162:12:074x Toby phone line repeats, easy down carriage rd: 9:51, 9:52, 9:49, 9:57. Avg- 9:52. Weather-- 70-75 and dry. This is an enormous workout! 3200' hard climbing, 3600+ total climbing and " " descending. James McMahon joined for the last 3.
29-Jul11.51:18:33Keep it Rollin**-- 3x 2 miles w/ 2:30 walk/jog rest, over Renn field 1-mile loop (grass, gravel, trail). 11:31, 11:28, 11:28. Challening terrain for an interval-- maybe :25 slower than track?
1-Aug111:35:38treadmill hillclimb: 6 miles continuous- 8/10/12/8/10/12%. 53:49 (a bit faster than previously), 3180'. Very very hot; very hard by the end, staggered home.
5-Aug91:00:00NoHo XC- 16:00, 1st. My 2nd fastest time here ever; 85 and a little humid; hard but controlled. Challenged through 2+ miles by Brad Mish, but broke away on the hill. Splits-- 5:06, 7:50 halfway, didn't get splits after this.
8-Aug111:38:34Treadmill hillclimb, continuous, 4.5 miles: 11, 12, 13, 14%, last 1/2 mile at 15%: 45:49 (10:10 pace). 3035'.
8x 400 w/ 400 rest, wet track, slowed things down a bit: 77, 74, 73, 73, 73, 74, 70, 69.
14-Aug9.51:20:302x Wachusett Mtn. 17:29 warmup/exploration on trails, down to near the base of the ski center; 24:18 roundabout run to the summit from here (service rds, trail), varying grade, backed off on flat/technical sections; 10:46 run down paved road back to ski center; 10:37 hard and gnarly run up ski slopes back to the summit (high effort, tall grass, no trail); 17:29 back down. ~1800' hard running, ~2500' total. Fun adventure but this mountain ain't big enough for a flat-out mountain workout.

treadmill hillclimb- "The Ascutney": 4 miles continuous, 11, 12, 13, 10%. 36:38, 11.5% avg, 2428'. AT+ effort throughout, worked the last mile hard. 
19-Aug11.51:20:50Keep it Rollin-- 3x 3200M track w/ 2:30 jog rest: 11:08, 10:58, 10:53. Only aerobically challenging over the last mile; feet burned a bit today (it's been a while!); but didn't have alot of pep today in the legs. 9 AM, very slow warmup, maybe just not loose enough.
22-Aug152:04:434x phone line trail w/ recovery down the carriage rd: 9:31 (tied for fastest yet), 9:35, 9:37, 9:44. Avg- 9:37. 3200' hard. Hard getting motivated, a bit psyched out, then hit the groove nicely. Run very hard but feeling used to the effort and volume.
27-Aug111:15:504x 2102M over the Renn Kilo loop: 7:01, 7:04, 7:12, 7:11. Avg- 7:07 (5:27/mile, 3:23/kilo). Moved start/finish to just past the house to put the hill 2/3 through the loop. 86 and dewpoint 73, not acclimated to this; workout was very limited by heat buildup. Workout run in Brook XC flats.
treadmill hillclimb, 6 miles, 8/10/12/9/10/11%: 54:42 (9:07 avg). 3168'. Very tired this week and this morning but went for the big workout anyway, per the pattern this year. Also per usual, cooldown home was a death march.
8408M (5.2 mile) tempo over Renn Kilo grass loop (8 laps)-- 29:26 (5:38/mile), in xc flats. Felt decent, the hill is tough. Happy with the pace given the grass and hills. Need to tape 5th toe when wearing these flats (bled/hurt badly). 

6.5 Mt. Sugarloaf repeats: 7:05, 6:57, 6:49, 6:50, 6:47, 6:28, 3:56 (to the halfway turn). Felt excellent. Total-- ~3000'. Fastest rep (6:28)= 7:26 pace.

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