Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winter training

While I feel like I haven't run much in the past month since I got back from New York, I did just come off a couple of 40+ mile weeks, so I am actually right on track with where I should be on total mileage.  The day after Thanksgiving I joined my friend Jeremy to pace him for the 2 final 8 mile loops of the first annual Frosty Buns Turkey Loop Trail Marathon. I had 14 on the schedule for my long run so I didn't have any issues doing a few more, plus it gave me a chance to test out my current pack in sub freezing weather.  I joined Jeremy after 1 loop but we only did 1 more rather than 2.  There was 8 inches of fresh snow and we were running primarily on single track so it was very slow miles, but lots of fun either way.

A fun snowy morning on the Turkey Loop

Frosty Buns Turkey Loop Trail Marathon aid station
The Saturday after Thanksgiving myself and a couple of friends of mine climbed a small peak called Baldy near my friends house.  Its about 1,000 ft of gain in less than a mile, nothing crazy but it did mark my first trip up Baldy and also the first peak I have hit in the winter. Since this climb was less than 2 miles, I squeezed in another 4 later that day.

Sunday my legs were pretty sore from the climbing so I took it easy and did another few miles then I decided I would run to work on Monday and Tuesday.  My work route is 4.2 miles one-way, and mostly on sidewalks and pathways.  The way to work in the mornings is generally a little more challenging since I have a full pack with my work clothes, breakfast, and lunch, so the way back is faster since I have less weight.  I had to work that weekend so on Sunday night I headed out for my first winter attempt at a true long run.  However, I only made it 1.5 miles out before I turned around, running 20 miles in ankle deep slush was just not going to happen (it was 45 degrees and raining the day before).

So this all means that last Saturday marked my first long run in the winter, and overall it went pretty well.  I have moved my long runs back to Saturday (from Sunday in the run up to the NY Marathon) and my goal is to start at 11 AM as that is Little Su race start time.  This will give me a chance to see what the weather does at this time of day.  So at about 11 on Saturday morning I packed up my bag and headed out for 20 miles.  There is a loop by my house that is about 15 miles with 700 ft of elevation gain, probably more climbing than I need but it is good for strength building.  I ate all 4 energy gels I had with me and realized that I need to fuel more than I had been.  My goal was a gel every 45 minutes after the first hour but I need to do about 1 gel every 30 minutes.  The good news however, is that my water didn't freeze and I was able to average 11 minute miles, which included a quick stop at the house.  I also discovered that the 1 liter pack I have now will be sufficient to get me to the first aid station at the race, mile 16, and the second aid station at mile 24, as both of these will have water.  One thing I can say that I have learned with the EDDC is that high mileage spread out overtime can make up, to a point, the mileage covered during a weekly long run.  What this means is that right now my body is pretty strong and I am capable of pretty high mileage.  With that said, enjoy some pics of winter running and thanks for checking out my blog!

8 inches of fresh snow on the trail

The sidewalk on the way to the multi-use trail I run on

I wear the mask when it gets really cold