"The goal is to become the unique, awesome, never to be repeated human being that we were called to be." -Patricia Deegan

Friday, March 23, 2018

From Sea to Summit: Simultaneously Training for Track and Mountain Races

Being my own coach means a lot of things.

Autonomy. The freedom to stuff up totally in programming for myself. No independent, objective consultants to offer potentially disagreeable opinions on my "brilliant" training plan.

Internal Accountability. No one to answer to if I hit snooze and sleep through that early session. No one to notice if I change "Mona fartlek" in the program to "easy 10k."

Unique training: flag a trail race then run it hours later!
Improved Reading Skills. Scouring the research for the latest in training ideas*, injury prevention and management*, strength training for runners**, and recovery strategies also offers the opportunity to hold a paid-for UWA library membership for journal access.

I'm training for the Coburg 12hr. I'm in for the 6hr and 100km splits, followed by a pretty bad 12hr finish distance! Race day is 21 April. This has been one of the longest, most structured programs I've ever undertaken. It's got some new elements in it for me (which, as my own coach, I don't have to worry about any disapproval over!)

I've been at it for 8 weeks and am now 4 weeks out from race day. My "A goal" is to break the AUS W45 record held by Lavinia Petrie of 8.22.17 from 1992. I should also record a 6hr split that would better my CAN W45 6hr record. I don't think I've worked harder for a goal race outside of UTMB.

Other than the April 100k race, which was an obvious choice for me after coming within 5 minutes of the AUS record at January's hot and windy summer Australia Day Ultra, the rest of my year sat open before me. So many races, but I just couldn't find one that called me with an irresistible siren song. I can never be sure what the tune will be when I'm looking for a race. For example, UTMB held no allure for me for years. Finally, at the end of 2014, I found myself captivated by it. How well could my 46-year-old-me do, if I put everything I could into it?

The 2018 race that sang out to me back in December was Tenerife Bluetrail. Roughly 100km + 6800m from one side of Tenerife island (Canary Islands) to the other side, over Pico del Teide, a volcano that stands at 3,718m and counts as Spain's highest peak. Whoa! A race that's almost all uphill for nearly 60km?? On a volcano? Point to point? On a country's highest peak? Move over, sirens, I'm headed for shore!

But ...the date...only 7 weeks after the 100k track race. How could I recover properly and then train for a mountain race? A race with D+680m per 10k. That's more vert per 10k than UTMB.

I searched and searched for another siren song. A race at the end of June would be much better. Like Marathon du Mont-Blanc (91k+6220m). I've been sitting on that entry for 1.5 months.

So, the Tenerife date isn't perfect. But it calls. And if anything, trying to figure out how to train for a massive mountain race, whilst simultaneously recovering from a 100k track race adds to the alluring challenge. And if there's one siren call I always hear, it's CHALLENGE.

Hence, the unique training program. Which I shall not divulge the details of. Just in case I need to patent it later.

But here are some numbers from the past 21 days:

Distance run: 495km
Vertical: 14,275m
Number of days waking to an alarm because of work: 1
Number of days waking to an alarm because of running: 12
Nights slept in full compression tights: 5
Hammer Race Caps and Mito Caps consumed: 21 each
Udo's Oil consumed: ~26-30 tbsp
Number of one hour massages: 4
Sports chiro visits: 1
Treadmill runs: 1
Other altered runs: 2 (for heat)
Loads of laundry done: 295 (or thereabouts)

Tenerife Bluetrail profile

I must say, although this has been a very challenging program, made more so by it being summer, I'm happy to report that I still love running. I've had loads of whinges and a few bad words have been uttered about Perth summer heat, the insane humidity this year, and crazy winds that make holding speed work pace an impossibility some days. But my easy days have become an even better excuse to do rubbish collection on the trails. Mother Nature is winning!

My "single use" shop bags have become too small for my efforts!

*I still won't be investing in a pseudo altitude training mask or voodoo floss
**I have found great value in my purchase of Jay Dicharry's latest book Running Rewired.