My first trail marathon is less than a month away which means that trail running season is here. Someone forgot to tell Mother Nature because it's been snowing here for the past two days and is supposed to continue for a couple more. Just when I was feeling optimistic about the trails thawing out. Funny. Regardless, I haven't been getting in my long runs and I might end up paying for it down in Buena Vista.
I recently finished "How to Run Faster From the 5K to the Marathon" by Brad Hudson. I found the book very useful as a guide for self-coaching. Hudson is a coach of many elite runners and a proponent of "progressive training," the basic idea being that you build your run training around a long run, a threshold run and hill training (to build strength). The remainder of your weekly runs should focus on "specific endurance", runs geared toward your race distance. I'm racing alot of different distances this summer, from 8 to 50 miles, so my weekly runs should be just medium mileage (anywhere from 4 - 10 miles with intervals, hills, recovery, trail and road runs all mixed in). For threshold runs, I want to build to 2 hours of hard running and my long run should be 4+ hours, by mid-summer. One of the things I like about Hudson's approach is that you create a schedule but make small adjustments according to how you feel. For me, the important thing is to continue running for years, not just push myself through a set training schedule so I can run a bunch of races. As I get older, it seems like an extra day of rest does more good than pushing through a workout too tough for my body on that day. So, flexibility in training but sticking to certain building blocks to improve specific endurance.
Yesterday, I went for a :40 trail run with the dogs in the afternoon. There was a partially sunny break, in an otherwise snowy day, when I got home from the shop. I took it nice and slow, to help my legs bounce back from the harder run the day before. Did the long uphill to First Vista, while maintaining my heart rate at 138 - 144 bpm the entire climb. Even tempo on the downhill. At the bottom of the hill, one section was so punchy, I postholed to my knee every other step. A little extra workout I wasn't quite ready for.
Today, BA and I went up on the mountain late morning and rode for a couple of hours while a blizzard pounded the top of Mount Werner. Storm Peak, Four Points, Sundown and Sunshine lifts, were all closed. Still, B took me through some sweet old school stashes on the skiers left side of Pony and we were loving it. Deep snow the whole way down so we decided to do it again, this time with his homie, Eric, who we met up with in the lift line. After that, we went down to Thunderhead, where the weather was great. Calm and lightly snowing, we did a lap through the trees and did the short hike behind the teepee on Vagabond. Killer turns here and deep until we got lower. One more lap on Thunderhead, through the trees near Ted's Ridge, through the mini park and we called it a day.
I ran a road loop around River Road and Mt. Werner Circle and up to Apres Ski Way and home this afternoon. Running on the road feels so damn long. I ran 9.5 miles in 1:27, 9:15/mile and it felt like a two hour run. Two hours on the trail is a pleasure. Can't wait for summer. I think for my long run next weekend, I may go down to Boulder, where it's a little more thawed out, and find some trails and possibly set up a tattoo appointment.