As some of you may know, Chris, Yariv and I are planning to do The NorthFace Endurance Challenge 50KM this Saturday. Well, Streeter and Yar are going to do the whole 50KM, I think I am going to cut it in half due to some back issues. I thought that I would let you know a little bit about how I prepared (or didn’t) and, hopefully, give you some tips on how to prepare for a race like this.
Volume: For a race this length, volume really matters. I don’t know that running volume is that important (at least to “do” the race, to be in the top 10, running volume is very important) but training volume is. By that I mean, volume like the workouts shown on CrossFit Endurance which would be about 8 hours a week including a long run on the weekend. One of the mistakes I made this time is forgetting what kind of shape I was in the last time I did this race. Two years ago when Dustin and I did the race, I was doing more CrossFit workouts, this time way less and more Olympic Weightlifting. Even though my strength and power numbers are about the same or maybe even better, I think my connective tissues and joints are much weaker because it takes me so long recover. By contrast, Streeter is running like a gazelle right now in part, because he started running training at least 2 months before I did. I can see how I have progressed and, while I doubt that I could be running like Streeter is right now even if I started training when he did, I would probably be healthier now because I should have ramped up a lot slower.
Mobility: In the past few months I have been training, I can’t say enough about how much adding mobility to my program has helped. I don’t like to play the age card but, as I have gotten older running gets harder and harder. I have found that consistency and time per mobility exercise are the most important components to endurance training. Some mobility everyday is really important, with a focus on my problem area, hips at least 5 times a week. In addition, time per mob is super important, 3-4 min per mob per leg has been the most successful. I usually do 2 or 3 mobs after a short run (about 15 – 20 min) and probably about 5 to 7 (about 30 – 40 min) after a long run. Notice I don’t say stretching as muscle length is only part of the issue. The lowest hanging fruit to performance is mobility.
Recovery: Recovery after a short run (3 – 7 miles) is really just mobility and some eating. Long runs are a different story. I usually do my mobility and then take a 20 – 25 min ice bath from the knees down. If my knee is bothering me, I will ice that too. I could be better about icing more than once and having food directly after the run. Another area that challenged me was making sure my immune system was working. It is pretty well documented that endurance events can compromise your immune system. After each long run for about 2 or 3 days, and when I was feeling run down (no pun intended), I would make sure to take 2 packets of EnergenC, vitamin D3 and Elderberry, in addition to sleeping at least 8 hours if not more. Finally, reducing alcohol really helped my running. The times I ran after alcohol the night before, even as little as 2 beers, I felt way slower. And no, tequila (less grain) didn’t help either. Alcohol and performance just don’t go together, well… after the race is less bad. Sorry… 🙂
Goals: If Yar and Streeter didn’t get me to sign up for this race, I would not be as good a shape as I am now. As Gwyn wrote in the her race prep articles, it is absolutely critical to have a goal and solidify it by committing in action (i.e. money) and word. In addition, it is important to have a focus. For this race, the focus was to use my knee issues as barometer for my hip mobility. Overall, I think I was successful in finding out what hurt my knee and what makes it feel better, so while I wish I could run the whole 50KM, just 25 KM is good enough for me. The best thing is that I can now run shorter distances relatively easily and they have been more enjoyable and less of a chore, which was unintended but anything a guy can do to add more joy to his life is a Good Thing™. My next goals are the Pacific Weightlifting championship (schedule is being sorted out in a few weeks) and either the Woodside 17KM or the Pirates Cove 20 KM in late March or possibly the Stinson Beach 25KM in July (more on why that late of a date in a later post). Note that the races in March have shorter distances, that I would be glad to do with anyone who wants to try a trail race.
I am going to give a plug for my beautiful wife, Susan. On Saturday, Jan. 21, she is offering a Make Life Happen clinic. Here are some details:
“Start the New Year off with power and intention! You’ll make your own collage in this one-day workshop that encourages focus on goals and intentions for the year to come. This is the perfect ritual to kick-start the New Year. $20 reserves your space and supplies. Lunch is provided. Please bring magazines and scissors.” You can sign up here.
You are going to see a lot more regarding goals from MDSoF this coming year, both in words and actions (you will be able to save money by setting goals), and you can thank my favorite ball-busters Joan, Jason, Dylan, Dustin, Erik and probably some other people I am forgetting. I digress…
A huge thank you to Streeter, Yariv and Samantha for getting me to the start line, looking forward to seeing everyone on race day!