Tag Archives: trail run

Summer Training Plans and Realities

I didn’t have any set training plan heading into summer. I knew I was going to lose access to my school gym, so I didn’t want to tie myself to a weights training plan that I couldn’t complete. And I didn’t know how well I’d handle the hot weather of summer (sweating is not exactly by best skill), or how much time I’d have to run with my summer job.

Luckily, not having a plan has worked out pretty well. I have kept my run mileage pretty steady over the past 5 weeks, and have even started to increase it a little bit. I generally pick a rough mileage for the week and keep track of what distances I’m running, but I don’t plan which days I’m doing which runs. I tend to focus more on monthly mileage, which I’ve gotten back up after it dropped in April and May during the end of grad school.

Summer Weekly Mileage

Summer Weekly Mileage

2012 Monthly Mileage

2012 Monthly Mileage

I also participated in the Runner’s World Run Streak from Memorial Day to the 4th of July, and managed to run (or walk) at least a mile every day during those days. But I’ve started to feel the effects of not strength training consistently, mostly in my knees and in my calves. The only strength program I’ve found that really seems to stabilize everything really well for me is The Female Body Breakthrough program, designed by Rachel Cosgrove. It focuses on heavy weights (for you), and low reps, and is pretty brutal. I haven’t made it all the way through the program yet, but her focus on hamstrings, glutes, and functional core training really seems to work for my running.

So my new summer plans are:

Start the Female Body Breakthrough program again, 3 weights workouts per week.

If I decide to run on weight days, stick to short sprints.

Increase run mileage gradually, hopefully peaking at 40-50 miles per week.

Start my 15 week training cycle for the Griffith Park Half Marathon on August 5th (I’ll post a training plan closer to the start date…it will include lots and lots of trail runs!)

Griffith Park Trail Run

Griffith Park Trail Run

It’s been really nice to not stress myself out about a specific summer training plan and just do what feels right in terms of temp and time.

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Race Recap: King of the Hill 2012 – Mount Woodson

We started the morning at 6:20, since we were staying in Escondido and didn’t have to drive all the way down from LA. The morning was cold, I hadn’t slept well, and I did NOT want to get out of bed. Or get dressed. Or run a race.

We grabbed our go cups of coffee and headed out. Try as I might, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast. We drove through the fog/drizzle to Lake Poway and checked in at the race site. We listened to the briefing for the Bad Ass racers (they carried 30-50 pound packs and all their own water) before they set out, and then we had a half hour to wait before we took off.

I was miserable. I was positive that I was going to get lost, die, be unable to finish, or be the last one across the line (strangely enough, all of these fears felt exactly as awful…yay type A!) I tried to talk Leo into changing our “racing alone” strategy to stick with me, but he gently refused and reminded me that I had signed up because I wanted a challenge.

Which is true. I’m trying to fail at more things, rather than not trying anything at all. But I didn’t expect a challenge to feel so scary. Lesson learned.

I ate a Larabar (chocolate chip cookie dough btw, the only flavor I really like), before pulling on my gloves and getting out of the car. It had started to rain, and I briefly thought about putting on my thicker shirt, or my fleece but decided not to. (I would think about this decision ruefully a little later).

We heard our briefing, then took off. I really focused on not killing myself too early on in the race. Basically, we raced up a mountain, then back down, with a few fitness challenge stops along the way. The worst one was definitely the station that started with 10 tuck jumps and 10 pushups, then 9 tuck jumps and 9 pushups, and so on down to 1.

We all slowed down a little when we got to steep switchbacks partway up the mountain. It was raining pretty steadily, and I was already soaked. But it was strangely fun to just keep trudging along up a mountain. I couldn’t see very far in front of me, or any distance off the mountain, since we were essentially inside a cloud. Gradually, I was all alone on the mountain.

I had been really worried that it would be too steep for me to handle (since I do not do well on actual “climbing”), but it was all do-able. At the top (where I later found out it was sleeting), we had to do 100 mountain climbers before heading down the mountain again. After my mountain climbers, I decided that my goal was to run the entire way down the mountain without stopping.

It was quite an adventure, as it was raining harder now, and I had to perfect a glasses wiping manuever that involved taking my glasses off with the least muddy portion of my gloves, wiping them on the back of my shirt (least muddy part), and then putting them back on. I did this probably every 8 minutes or so down the mountain. My arms were really numb at the top, and I started smacking them to get the blood flowing a little.

Despite all this, I was having a FANTASTIC time. I couldn’t keep the smile off my face, and I felt like such a badass covered in mud and sprinting down a mountain in the rain. That feeling only intensified when I was ordered to drop and perform 10 burpees in a mud puddle, before running up the hill to the finish.

I came down with a brutal cold later that day that I’m still recovering from, but it was totally worth it. Best run of the year so far.

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