Last Saturday I went down to Greenland to get some running taken care of. Mind you, Greenland is in Colorado even though it would probably extremely cool to go to the real Greenland and get some running in over there. Greenland Open Space is in Douglas County – south of Castle Rock and just north of Monument Hill right at Interstate 25. I signed up for the 50K race at the of April and I figured it would be wise to check it all out before the race. And I am glad I did. The course is not super difficult, but it is definitely helpful to know how the 2,000 ft. of elevation pan out. In addition, while I have run on trails during my training doing a long run on just trail and not on mixed surfaces was really helpful. The soreness I am experiencing at the moment is proof of that. Your body moves differently on trails and muscles you have not been using as much will be exposed accordingly.
I ran for almost 24 miles and I was suffering a bit. Last Tuesday evening I was out for a second run of the day and I actually got a blister during that run. I took care of the blister throughout the week, but it did not heal as fast as I had hoped for. On Friday afternoon and evening I gave it several rounds of Epsom Salt treatments and that helped a lot – but just not enough. During the run on Saturday the blister hurt quite a bit and you know how it is – you adjust your running form to mitigate the pain as much as possible. So, while the blister did Ok by itself – meaning, it provided pain but did not get worse, though my running definitely suffered. I woke up Sunday and my legs were very sore. They were so sore, that I even skipped my Monday morning run and might skip the Tuesday morning run as well to give them enough time to heal.
I think I’ve got the distance down for the 50K – especially assuming that all the little issues have enough time to heal during the taper. I am still in the middle of another experiment though and it will be a last minute thing to see the results. I mentioned before on my blog that I am not really losing wait from running or in general because my metabolism is so slow. I switched to the Phil Maffetone’s 180 Formula for running. This training approach is based on your age and your heart rate to determine what the best heart rate zone is for running to build up better endurance and to train your body to use fat as the main fuel source. I started with this training approach about 2 weeks ago and I know that I will not have fully converted/adjusted when the race comes. However, I am Ok with that for several reasons. For one I do not have a real time goal for my first 50K race. I want to finish and I want to have fun. Running this race slower than normal is just fine with me. The trick with this training method is that you slow down dramatically in the beginning to stay below the target heart rate. But after a while your body will adjust and you will start feeling better. Your pace will slowly quicken while staying in the same heart rate zone from where you started. There is a whole bunch more that goes into this, but these are the basics about this training approach.
Slowing down is tough – especially when you have been working hard to get faster and faster over time. Using this new training approach often means to walk or power-hike up hills and there are plenty of those where I live. Even running at a much slower pace feels kind of embarrassing and almost made me cover my face while running (I mean … crawling) through my immediate neighborhood. My pace switched from ~9 minutes per mile to about ~10.45/11.00 minutes per mile (and even slower on hills). But I am happy that I have been able to stick with it for almost 2 weeks now and I am really looking forward to race day to hopefully see some of the benefits materializing already. Even after the race is over I will continue utilizing this training method and make this a change for the long-term. The overall results should be more endurance and (hopefully) improved overall speeds. I am interested in qualifying for the Boston marathon and I have to admit that my (old) training over the last 2 years was not sufficient enough to get me even close to a qualifying time.
To make things even more complicated (hey, training is for testing new things) I skipped eating any gels this time around. For the entire run on Saturday I relied on Trailwind Nutrition, some peanuts, and one pouch of Justin’s Almond Butter. From an energy perspective I felt just fine using this approach. The slower pace should train my body to use body fat as fuel – substituted by Tailwind to keep the glycogen stores at healthy levels.
Anyway, now besides nursing the muscle soreness I am keeping a close eye on the weather forecast for next weekend. I want to run again in Greenland, but currently the weather forecast predicts a major snowstorm heading our way for the weekend. Not happy about that. I also ordered an additional pair of the Brooks Ghost 8 running shoe. This will be added to the mix and will be the pair of shoes that I am going to use on race day. The course is not super technical and it looks like there is no need for special trail running shoes.