As with any training period, sometimes we have good days and sometimes we have bad. The past two weeks have actually been quite good, despite some small setbacks along the way. I really enjoy being within the building stages in preparation for a big event. It's possibly the hardest aspect of training, at least for me. My philosophy is to put in the work before and then, when race day/week arrives, enjoy it! However, this is only possible through daily sacrifice and the discipline to get after it each day in order to set yourself up for success when it counts. I'm certainly no master of this, but I try to look at each day as an individual opportunity for success in bringing me closer to my goal.
Last week was really great for training and it was capped off with a really nice long run with friends who are also training for various ultra events. The weather was a bit dicey at times, but we fortunately avoided much of the extreme temps and snow/ice that pounded the east coast. Getting my mileage volume back up felt really good! Last Sunday, however, I woke-up with the "croop" and my body was just idling at such a low ebb that I thought it best to abandon any training plans and just rest. Work responsibilities and some lingering sickness gave me a very slow start to this week and my mileage totals suffered, but I made the most of what I had and finished yesterday with a really solid 25-mile tempo run in gorgeous weather.
The past 2+ years of training solely on my local trails have left me fairly burned-out on them and, with their recently washed-out conditions, I've taken the opportunity to reacquaint myself with the road. I have noticed that my speed (what little I had!) has suffered from years of long, slow trail routes. Getting back on the road has really helped me work on my turnover and to have some really long and uninterrupted sessions. I'm also fortunate to have access to a huge road section that is virtually closed to traffic, has monster-sized hills, and lies within a couple of miles of my house. Perfect for training!
On a non-training note, last Friday I received the word...I GOT INTO THE 2013 ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT-BLANC!!! I could not be more pumped! Arguably the pinnacle of international trail races, UTMB is a roughly 104-mile, single-stage event that begins and ends in Chamonix, France and takes runners around the whole of the Mont-Blanc massif. With one of the highest abandonment rates of any race, this thing is a killer! It will be amazingly difficult but, as they say, "the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward!" Take a glimpse at this legend in the following clip. Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Trailer
January 15: 16-mile tempo run. Lots of hills. Felt great! VERY cold! Followed with 1 hour of focused incline work. 1 hour of top-rope climbing in the evening.
January 16: Started the day with 1 hour of focused incline work and core. Finished with a 1000 ft tempo climb on the ladder. OUCH! 1 hour of top-rope climbing just before a 10-mile tempo run after dark. I think I got frostbite on my nose during this one!
January 17: 18-mile moderately paced run. Attacked the hills. Took a bit to shake the previous day's workouts from my legs, but this was another great run.
January 18: Work/Recovery
January 19: 23-mile run. Trails were pretty trashed but we pressed on. Pacing was perfect and I could have gone for several more hours at the end.
January 20: On the couch with the croop!
January 21: Work/Recovery
January 22: 30 minutes of focused incline followed by some light core. Ended the session with a 1000 ft tempo ladder climb. Stomach virus today and I felt like I was going to barf the entire time! Ran a very cold and sluggish 10-mile trail in the afternoon. Got the miles in but felt horrible.
January 23: Felt great today! 25 miles on the road. Great steady pacing.
January 24: Alternating incline work to start. 30 minute sessions on the EFX alternated with 1000 ft tempo climbs on the ladder. Tough one! Finished with core. Workout #2 was an 8-mile hill repeat loop. 5 repeats per lap.
January 25: Work/Recovery
January 26: 25-mile road run. Hammered the hills and opened-up on the flats. This run felt great and I couldn't have asked for better weather, 45F and sunshine.