Having gotten beyond the Holidays, what's in store, more specifically, for 2009? I have to mention that this post should have been done earlier, but it's been interrupted a few times because I've been reading about training, planning my day to planning my life, other people's training/training plans, etc. Having said that, what I write here in this post about my 2009 plans is totally subject to change because of A) the reading and any subsequent inspiration; and B) such is life.
I have these races on the "calendar." Haven't even run them by my manager, so this is pretty here and now. My goal for the year is to participate in 10 races.
Feb. 1 Mission Gorge 15k xterra
March 8 Malibu Creek 25k pct
March 22 Black Mt. 15k xterra
April 5, Sycamore Canyon 50k pct
May 9 Malibu Creek 22k xterra
July 4 Angel Island 50k
August 22 Bulldog 50k
September 27? Noble Canyon 50k
Also, I hope to pace for 1 runner during the SD100. We'll see about that.
Right off the top, am I dragging my family to S.F. for July 4? Pretty doubtful, but stranger things have happened. What I have going for me on this sell is the fact that S.F. for the 4th would be outstanding! Another iffy at the outset is Noble Canyon since my wife's B-day is 9/26 (hey, sweetie, I have this killer idea for your birthday. . . ). Interesting that the rest are in San Diego or near and around Malibu. Not a coincidence. I'm passing on Boney Mt. Xduro, which is in the Malibu area but from the east side of the park that's off HWY 101, north of L.A. Although it is a great race, and is site of my first trail race ever ('08), I'm still in off-season. Another possibility is the 25/50k World of Hurt outside of Vegas. I did the 25k (50k is 2 loops) this year and loved it. But for now, I like my list. I love the venues, they're pretty close to home, and if I can manage all (or minus 1-2), that would be a really nice season. I have to stress that other races could definitely make the list in the future because I think racing often is key, especially when "it's on," and also I want to race in Oct.-Dec. and I don't have any representation there. So, a rough draft, but at least I'm focusing. . .
My hopes at the outset include maintaining health throughout the campaign, racing often, and achieving some "results." Results are tangible and intangible, meaning that finishing well in my AG is certainly important, as is the successful build-up to a race, hitting work-outs, making gains on the stop-watch/HRM. I'm looking for a variety of signs and signals that indicate that things are going well. Perhaps the main objective is that my wife appreciates the "work" in that we all three are benefiting from Matt's trail running (everything from cool travel, to improved health, to your basic progression of life between organisms ((i'm wondering how intangible or vague i can get here))).
Training is going to be key. Like the old football coach would say, we get our work done during the week, so the games (weekends) are just going through the motions. If you're prepared, the races are just throwing down as the great JW might say. The execution of my training is going to be the most interesting part of all of this, which makes so much sense. It affects races, my family, my work, and my life. Race results, family relationships (growth), career, and personal health/social life. It reflects the routine. It speaks to consistency, progress, growth. What did Aristotle say about excellence? "We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit."
The general plan: Accountable Early Informed Often and Unpredictable (I just made that up, it's AEIOU and it will probably change, but I like them all).
The blog is terribly key to the training. I will post my training discourse as it unfolds, which helps keep me Accountable. I need to go to bed Early and get up Early (this maybe the most fundamental piece of the puzzle; execute you slacker!). Being Informed is obvious. I'm learning more and more about this running thing. The research should be swimming around my head while I sweat. Also, my training schedule should reflect some thoughtfulness on the work-out, on how that work-out affects the overall plan of attack. I need to exercise Often. The Early bird will get the worm. If I've run 3-10 miles in the a.m., before most of humanity has awakened, I'm going to be Victor the voluminous one. Nailing all of my work-outs and my races (the 10 I run this year) will really add to my fitness. Often is huge. Unpredictable is the caveman clause. If I am supposed to have an easy day but end-up doing something crazy, I'll survive. If I'm supposed to do a 10 mile tempo, but end-up eating, I'll survive. I just need to be wise and honest.
I will be reading Noakes and Jim Fixx for now, but will continue to have a good training text going always. I will read GZ, AC (and CV and GB), TW, and JW like the clock. These folks are a lot of inspiration and like, let's see, how do I say it . . .. . really smart? Matt Fitzgerald seems like another good read, too. I remember reading an article of his a few years ago before I shocked my world with a 1:30ish 1/2 marry; MF was saying how training needs to simulate racing, especially in that last build-up phase, speed-wise. Seems pretty obvious, but I remember thinking I wasn't hearing much about that at the time. Anyways, this reading will certainly inform my approach to the life.
As I get things started-up here in the next week or so, I will be doing about 2 months of "base." This is HRM training and will try to be pretty disciplined about it. I will be doing a lot of strength work, core-work, hiking/biking, etc. As I said previously, I will do a "fun run" once a week where I can go a little harder and have a little more "fun." But the HRM training is pretty key. I trust that approach for sure.
Think of how smart I will be by mid-March or April when I enter another phase? So, it's pretty silly to start to discuss "Sharpening" now. I will address the next phase with my higher priority races, too. But really the training is for the mountainous slopes of this beautiful planet, so my training will be pretty basic throughout. I am definitely, without at first realizing what I'm doing, training to train. Thanks, MF. My best years on the circuit will be when I turn 48. That's one way to look at it. Either way, I'll be having fun along the way.
Right now, I'm not doing anything. Professor Couzins' discussion of the off-season helped me shut things down a little more recently. I have to print part of that post here:
"First of all, what is the purpose of the off-season?
Simply, the purpose of the off-season is to shed ALL of the fatigue accumulated in the preceding season so that the athlete is starting from a blank slate at the start of the next preparation period. If you hold onto just 20% of your fatigue from the previous season, the cumulative effect means that after 5 years you’ll be starting the next season as fatigued as you were at your peak training volume 5 years ago. This is going to significantly compromise your ability to tolerate the extra training load that you want to do that season and ultimately lead to a plateau in your long term performance.
It should be noted that while studies have shown a significant correlation between performance fatigue and hormonal markers of over-reaching/over-training, less of a correlation has been exhibited between subjective ratings of fatigue and performance indicated fatigue. In other words, while you may feel ‘good to go’ and ready to start the next season, it is the lingering fatigue that you don’t feel that will ultimately limit your performance."
Other thoughts/variables that have affected the training now include anecdotal evidence about the Kenyans (when they're off they're off) and the general thought that I'm going to be training and racing (pretty hard/consistently) from January-February to November-December. That's a ton. Sitting on my ass right now is OKAY. Also, this week, the week my son was to go back to school and my break continued, starting a two week period where I might be able to get in some long hikes/jogs along beautiful trails in the beautiful winter air, my son has gotten very sick. He's asthmatic like me and has been battling. It's the worst. So, the PJs stay on and I read and day-dream A LOT. But I think it's the healthiest way either way. Should I be doing some aerobic stuff none the less? Sure it's the off season, but shouldn't I at least be at least skipping or playing hop-scotch? I think not. Again, the training will run consistently and seriously for like 11 months and despite some recovery periods, I will always look to get back on the horse, active recovery, etc. Right now, I should be contemplating the doughnut or the double IPA.
That's where I'm at.
As I do start to train this weekend (in fact!!), I will pretty much stick to low and high aerobic work-outs. I don't think there's anything wrong with 150 HR. That's pretty Steady-State for me and very good for the aerobic system. So my HR for most of the first two months of the season will be 130 to 150. Of course, some strength work-outs (weights, core, etc.) will push the HR as will my fun run. I want to get strong. First things first. Building a strong engine and chassis will give my foundation so much more capability. Of course, volume is another factor. I won't dive in to 50 mile weeks right away, but will very much build quickly to some respectable mileage. If I'm taking it EZ, there's nothing wrong with working towards big weeks. I may have to work with hours of training since I'm not very fast, but that's fine. 1, 2 and 3 hour runs will be the ABC of my weeks.
Obviously, the 50k is on this season's "map." You betcha. I got a little squirrally last season - I probably should have done 50k in Vegas where I was strong. Instead, I ran the 25k with hawaii on the schedule. Errrr. Moving on . . .
I have a feeling this distance will come and go and I'll want more. That's the point of this interview with Dave Mackey. And besides, that's been my experience with most endeavors (at first you succeed and then you want more - in fact this is the root of some of my problems. . .). The 50k will encourage more responsibility, a better use of training, better nutrition and a stricter sleeping regimen (I can only hope). I'm looking forward to knocking down 5-6 hour events on my feet in the rocks and grass.
So, that's it for now. I have some specific things I want to post (links and tidbits from my reading) in the next few days. Plus, the training will resume pretty soon.
Goals (the checklist)
1. 10 races this year!
2. Discernible fitness gains!
a. Race results
b. HRM/speed improvements
3. Establish "the routine"!