|Myself atop Mt. Shasta 14,179'|
Generally, I tried to stay around 100 mile race effort the whole time, and my goals of this training block were two fold. First, I wanted to increase my endurance and time on feet so my body could better handle long, sustained efforts. Except for the steep climbs, I want to feel like I can run the whole P2P course by always being able to fall back on a slow, but running pace. Instead of a run/walk strategy on the flats and gradual climbs late in the race, as at San Diego, I want to be able to run. Saving up to five minutes per mile would be huge late in the race. Of course, this assumes my nutrition and hydration are on target come race day.
Second and probably more important, I wanted to train my mind. I usually only go to those deep, dark places in races. I wanted to go there in training to better cope with the mental demons and build confidence. This idea also ties into my first point by being comfortable being uncomfortable. The more accustom to the discomfort I am, the better I can cope with it and maintain more running. Mentally, I want to get as comfortable as possible with a slow jog, even if there is more discomfort.
Big Training Weeks Explained
The first week, I shot for 100 miles and 20,000' in gain, which on average, would match the P2P course. The second week, I flew to Houston, TX for my brothers graduation, but that did not hold me back. Although Houston is very flat, I had to battle the high heat and humidity. My target for this week, was 120 miles. The last week was just about getting in as many miles as possible with moderate elevation gain, and I was hoping for 20 miles per day or 140 miles total. Over these three weeks, I also wanted to avoid 25+ mile runs. I feel like I can recover pretty quickly from 20 miles. Instead of a couple 30 mile days, which could take a few days to recover from, I wanted more balance, so "shorter" runs day after day.
|Sunrise on Mt. Tam.|
101.0 miles with 21,800' gain in 17:46
Because I knew I was headed to Houston next week, I wanted to get in as much climbing as possible. I started off by heading up Mt. Tam Monday morning, which was a great treat to climb above the clouds during the sunrise. For the rest of the weekdays, I commuted to and from Berkeley aiming for 2,000' of gain each day. The Berkeley Hills offer relentless hills up and down the windy roads. Saturday, I headed up Mt. Shasta and Sunday, I went up to Vollmer Peak in Tilden. Overall, my quads were feeling all the climbing so I was actually looking forward to giving them a break in Houston. Although I never thought about it at the time, I think switching things up a bit in the middle of this buildup helped me stay motivated and avoid the same workout everyday.
Training Week 8/11 - 8/17
120.5 miles with 5,000' gain in 17:48
On Wednesday, I flew to Houston, so on Monday and Tuesday, I tried to get in some last minute climbing. Overall my goal was to run a handful of 20 mile runs, except for Friday, since I only had time for a quick five miles just before my brother's graduation. On Thursday and Saturday, I went out for 20 miles along the river from downtown Houston to some trails in Memorial Park. Since it was so hot and humid, I frequently ran into gas stations to refill my handheld bottle. This is a great strategy in an urban environment when you don't want to carry a bunch of water or run a bunch of loops. It was hot and humid, but I was determined to tough it out and get in the distance. The key is to adjust your effort and stay hydrated. By Sunday, I was at 105 miles, so I just went out for 15 miles to hit my goal. I had considered running another 20, but thought it would be better to save the energy for next week and spend more time with my family.
Training Week 8/18 - 8/24
150.6 miles with 19,500' gain in 25:12
This week was epic as I ran 20 miles each weekday and 25 miles both Saturday and Sunday. Monday was my last run in Houston in which I ran a similar route along the river to Memorial Park. The heat and humidity was wearing on me, and I was excited to run some hills in cooler temperatures. When I got back Tuesday, I immediately ran up Vollmer Peak. Wednesday and Thursday, I stuck to some easy climbs in the Berkeley Hills. These were the toughest days since I was feeling the high volume and knew there was still a lot more to come. Friday and throughout the weekend, I mentally felt a lot better since I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. Saturday, I joined the SFRC for 15 miles and extended it to 25 miles with a buddy Josh. On Sunday, I ran 25 miles with Dario, and we started with a Double Dipsea, including a beautiful out and back on Steep Ravine. I concluded the epic training block the same way it started, up and down Mt. Tam, which was a fitting end. By far my biggest training week ever, and I was very surprised to see how well my body handled it all. I didn't feel overly beat up and my legs felt pretty good all things considered, but mentally, I was ready for a break.
I don't think I have ever really nailed a great taper. For my past 100 milers, I think they have been too short, which usually means I start the race with some lingering fatigue. For short races and lower volume training, I have had decent results with a two week taper. For San Diego, I did a two week taper, but that did not seem to be enough after moderately high training volume. Since my volume has been much higher for P2P, I am going for three weeks. I want to feel 100% ready to go at the start. Although I didn't feel bad at the start of San Diego, I wasn't dying to run either. This time, I want to be itching to run, and I hope to use by experience to hold myself back during the early miles. I don't have each day of the next three weeks planned. Instead, I will go by feel aiming to get to the start as fresh as possible. I will be sure to report the details just before the race or in my race report.
Thanks for reading, and good luck in your fall races! Enjoy the pictures!
Mt. Shasta - 8/9/14
|Our first glimpse of Mt. Shasta on the climb.|
|We started way down there!|
|Levi and I at the summit!!|
|The clouds rolled in on the north side.|
|A few others at the summit.|