Friday, March 14, 2014

projecting training to Woodside Ramble 50 km

I initially posted this at 1:59:26 am PDT on π day, which made me feel slightly clever, but then I felt considerably less clever when I realized I'd mistakingly concluded I had 5 weeks until the Woodside Ramble 50 km, rather than the 4 weeks I actually have. Analysis revised...

With only 4 weeks to go until my 50 km race, I'm becoming more and more obsessed with it. After Lake Chabois, I took a week off from running, but helped fill the void with cycling, made even more irresistable by my new bike, the Winter Allaban.

Woodside Ramble 50 km, Michigan Bluff photography

But with "rest week" over, my body fatigued from the rapid ramp-up in riding volume, it was time to start running again. And that meant Caltrain to work instead of SF2G. For Caltrain, it would be folly to take the Allaban, so I've been riding my "rain bike", a 1989 Trek 1500. That bike needs a new drivetrain, the derailleur and 7-speed cassette both well past their replacement date, and the Speedplay Frog cleats need to be swapped, but despite these issues it's still fun to ride. The geometry actually works fairly well for me, the same 73-73 angles and 75 cm top tube on the Allaban, although it runs 12 cm handlebar drop instead of 8 cm. The extra drop is okay, though, because with the brake-only levers the typical riding position is on the ramps rather than the hoods, which reduces the effective drop to my hands. I've really enjoyed being on the bike and it would be very difficult for me to part with it.

So I didn't come out of "rest week" as fresh and ready to run as I'd have liked. But I've been getting the runs in, culminating with 32.8 km on Saturday, 15.6 km hilly km on Sunday, then after two days of forced recovery due to the downhill pounding from that run, 12.2 km on Tue and 21.7 km on Wednesday. That's a nice solid block, but I've got to keep at it.

The goal is to continue my trend line of +61 meters/day of CTS increase per day, or +430 meters/day per week. I want to keep pushing that curve up. Right now, I'm sitting at 7 km per day:


Click on the plot to see higher resolution.

I've indicated on the plot my race dates, tagged with what my CTS was on those days relative to the race distance. At the Inside Trail Runs half-marathon distance at Montara Mountain, a very hilly course, I was at 18.5% of race distance and did a very nice run by my standards, finishing 11th. Then at the Lake Chabois 30 km (actually 29 km), also Inside Trail Runs, I was higher: 21.0% of race distance, on a flatter but still hilly course. That race also went well, and I finished strongly, in 11th.

Projecting CTS to the 50 km race, with 2 substantial climbs and additional "rollers", if I can keep to the +430 m/day/week rate of CTS increase I will be at 17.6% of race distance, significantly below the level I had at the half marathon, and well below the 21% I had at Lake Chabois. So if I believe this metric, then I need to be extra-conservative at the Woodside Ramble: throttle back on the opening climb, save more for the finish. But then this is sort of no brainer when starting the longest race you've ever run.

My recovery from Montara was haphazard, coming back too quickly then taking two extra weeks before I could run on a near-daily basis. Recovery from Lake Chabois, despite my overindulgance in cycling, has gone much better. This was critical for giving me the time for a solid training block between the two events.

The last point on the chart is within 100 meters of the CTS trend. To keep my CTS moving along the trend line I need to keep daily distance around 2.58 km/day above CTS, or since CTS is at 7.0 km/day now, I need to run around 9.6 km tomorrow to keep it moving upward at this rate. ATS is smoother than daily km, but it's lagging, so to keep CTS on the trend, ATS needs to be 2.15 km/day higher than CTS (dashed red line on plot). At present that's 9.2 km/day and it's 10.3 km/day so it's where it needs to be.

However, I need to do a bit better than these minimal values since I'll need to taper distance the last week, at least. But I've done this in the past: post-race CTS progress halts, pre-race CTS progress slows or halts, but in between I'm able to make up for lost time. This becomes more difficult as CTS rises, however. Obviously there's a limit. Competitive runners don't train distance in direct proportion to race distance. 10 km runners may run close their race distance every day, but marathons certainly do not, and 100-milers don't run even close to four times the training distance of marathoners. Longer distances are about trading speed for distance. And even if I stick to trend, I'll be a lower % of race distance than either of my previous two races. Is it enough? I have to think so, and treat the course with the respect it deserves.

This weekend: a bike camping trip with Cara, the Allaban's first tour. It's a short one, a beta test, and will leave plenty of time to get one or two solid runs in on the trails. With only a month to go I seriously need it.

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