Sunday, January 12, 2014

path to 50 km

A new year's resolution for this year was to race a 50 km trail run. Not just finish a 50 km, that can be done by walking all of the uphills, running the downhills, and jogging the flats. I want to run the whole thing (power walking is fine on steep climbs: it's just as fast and more efficient).

I did a 19 km trail run Saturday 4 Jan following a 15 km road run the day before. My next run wasn't for another week, due to fatigue, at least in part likely allergies.But it's good to occasionally rest. And when I finally felt ready to go again, paranoid I'd lost all my fitness, fat and out of shape, I went out for a 20 km run where once I got the kinks out I actually felt fairly good. So it's clear I've got a half-marathon in me.

So the next rung in my ladder is my first trail run race since my injury: Inside Trail Racing's Montara Mountain half marathon. This will be my first run by Inside Trail Racing. It will be interesting to see how their promotion goes. I ran the same course in March 2011 in a race promoted by Coastal Trail Runs. That one was in the rain with low visibility. That had its own merit, but I'm hoping for clear weather next week.

My moving time the last time was 2:23 (Strava activity). My goal is to break that time. I should be able to do so: I was at that time coming off a long period of detraining due to focusing on what was at that time my new job. As an aside, I think I'm more productive when I make the time to exercise.

As an aside, it's interesting going back to that run report, since I dismiss there the idea that run gait efficiency is limiting my descending speed. I'd previously had my gait analyzed at Innersport in Berkeley. But a followup visit in March 2013 showed I was still overstriding, wasting energy with each foot-strike. Improving that will be key to improving running speed on flats and downhills.

So what next? One nice option is Inside Trail Racing's Lake Chabot race on 22 Feb, where the 30 km race looks like a very nice course. This is 5 weeks after next weekend's race, which is a nice interval. It provides time for recovery, then training, then tapering.

A very nice looking 50 km race is Woodside Ramble, Inside Trail Racing's race out of Woodside, CA, on 10 April. This is 7 weeks after the Lake Chabot race. This should be time to get my endurance from 30 km up to 50 km: it's 7.5% per week. My first trail race was in Huddart Park so I have a bit of a soft spot for it, and it's really a wonderful place to run. This course goes well beyond the boundaries of Huddart Park, however: 50 km without any multiple loops. Really nice. I will definitely need to scale back my pace on the 50 km race, though: treat it as a training run, not a race. The goal is to finish, running the whole way. 30 km races are different: there I want to go fast.

If I can do a 50k, I'll feel I've broken through a big barrier. It's important to break some new barriers each year. I know I should be able to do it. 50 km is considered a beginner event in the ultrarunning community. It's mostly about taking care of myself.

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