San Diego 100 is just a few short days away, four to be exact (but who's counting?).  You know a taper is going really well when you put together a new website, albeit most of the heavy lifting and credit goes to SquareSpace, but the words and pictures are all mine!

2015 has already been a whirlwind, I haven't raced too much, but I have had a great first-half of the year and feel like I am in the best running shape of my life, both physically and mentally.  The last three months have been some of the strongest, highest volume, and most fun running I have had since moving to Los Angeles.  I am pretty pumped to head to San Diego and have a fun weekend on an awesome course.  With a great crew with me led up by my awesome girlfriend Josie, and a couple of my good running friends Dave Daley and Josh Spector who will pace me the last 44 miles of the course I'm hoping for a great day! 

Training

 Getting one last climb up Mt. Wilson before SD100.  Photo Credit: Alison Chavez

Getting one last climb up Mt. Wilson before SD100.  Photo Credit: Alison Chavez

Training for most endurance athletes is an ever evolving game.  Going into my third full-year of running ultra's I feel I know my body better than ever and hope I will see some benefits of solid training this weekend.  I don't do a specific week over week training program, but I did focus on a few key elements to get me ready for San Diego:

  1. Timing
  2. Volume and Cycle training
  3. Consistency
  4. The Wild Card

Timing

Everyone has different training program lengths that work for them.  In the past I have seen that training for a specific race for 4-5 months has left me burnt out and peaked to early (Pine to Palm my first 100 Miler attempt).  I felt that I just couldn't focus on training for one race for that long and it resulted in a rough day in September '13.  Last summer I ran Angeles Crest and due to work I essentially did the reverse, a relatively short, but high-quality training program of about 10 weeks.  I came into AC feeling great and had an amazing day.  So for San Diego I settled on a 12-13 week training program that started on March 1st.  Prior to March I did train for and race Sean O'Brien 100K in early February, but I went into the race treating it more like a kick-off to the year and not a goal race.  Getting good base miles in during December and January did give me a great base going into February and I had a solid race and finished with a PR time of 10:26.  I took the last couple weeks of February very easy, and by March 1st I was feeling fresh and chomping at the bits to train for SD.

Volume and Cycle Training

For 100 mile mountain races I am a believer in high-mileage and even higher-quality training.  For me this broke out to the following volume splits over the last three months:

  • March: 
    • 43 Hours
    • 300 Miles
    • 33,000 ft. Vertical
  • April
    • 63 Hours
    • 417 Miles
    • 64,000 ft. Vertical
  • May (includes tapering)
    • 50 Hours
    • 350 Miles
    • 57,000 ft. Vertical
  • Three month totals:
    • 156 Hours
    • 1067 Miles
    • 154,000 ft. Vertical

*Feel free to check out my Strava for more detailed breakdown, if your that into the numbers!

It was a great training program in which I felt stronger going from one month to the next and saw lots of improvement in my overall speed, endurance, and how my body reacted to the increasing volume.  A big part of how I was able to feel stronger from one month to the next was- cycling or block training.  I am a believer in three-week cycles followed by a rest week.  Besides for the simplicity of having three weeks that build on each other to start the month, followed by a step-back week to end the month, this style of training has always left me feeling fresh going into a new month of training.  Due to some pre-planned travel I did a 3-week block in March followed by a 58-mile step back week.  I then did a 4-week block in April followed by a 51-mile step back week.  My third and final block was slightly shorter, but pretty-intense two week block in May, followed by a two-week "taper" that has me feeling great here in race week!

Consistency

Honestly my biggest flaw in my training is almost always being somewhat inconsistent.  While part of it can be chalked up to traveling with my job at TOMS, a good portion of the blame can sit with me for simply wanting to sleep in, or just not always being motivated to train.  I am a momentum runner, and always feel like I am running my strongest when I can string together multiple weeks of solid training.  This last three months has been some of the most consistent training I have ever had.  Between not having to travel quite as much for work, being committed to bringing running clothes and hopping on the treadmill at the end of a long work day while traveling, and simply being more committed to getting in pre-work runs with my friends I was able to string together 12 weeks of consistent running!  I literally hit almost every mileage and time goal I set for myself, something I have never been able to do before!  I was also able to hone in on a couple of consistent training runs that I did week over week and saw some solid improvement from this.  One example being a loop I did on Tuesday mornings.  I would start at Temescal Canyon with our usual group of Pacific Mountain Runners and head up to what we call Green Peak a solid 3.6 mile climb.  During my second and third cycle I consistently did Temescal and then added in the Backbone trail to Will Rogers and cut back to Temescal.   This 15 mile/ 3000 ft. Vert loop became my staple Tuesday run and I was able to do it eight times in a row over the last couple of months.  Each week my time seemed to improve and it was almost always a good solid effort that set the tone for the week of training.

Not a bad view huh?  Waking up with LA, view from Temescal Green Peak.  Photo Credit: Andy Pearson

Wild Card

OK this is probably not that wild for most runners, but it was for me- Rolling! In the past I have been decent at stretching and doing cross-training and weightlifting once or twice a week, but never got into the whole Rolling my muscles for recovery.  I readily admit I am addicted and happy my girlfriend Josie convinced me to add this into a nightly routine. It has significantly reduced the level of soreness I am used to, specifically in my calves and achilles and while it can be painful it is 100% worth the 15-20 minutes each night as I wake up the next day feeling significantly less sore and overall looser and ready to train.

 Love this thing!

Love this thing!

Race Day Goals

  1. Have fun- I seem to be getting a bit of a reputation for always having a smile on my face during races:)  Running is one of my favorite things to do, so racing and having a bunch of friends and volunteers supporting us to accomplish our goals and get from A to Z of a race is a unique and awesome experience each time I do it.   I want to make sure I always appreciate this and don't take the gift of being able to run in the mountains for granted.
  2. 19 Hours- I have gone back in forth a bit on what my time goal is for San Diego.  While I have tons of respect (and a solid dose of fear) for the course after pacing my good friend Josh a couple years ago and getting back on the course this year for a couple training runs I do feel I am capable of a 19 hour day.  Will plan on going out and running my own race and depending on how hot the weather gets or maybe how cool it is well see what happens.  Either way its going to be a great day!

Hope you enjoy the new website and thanks for giving my blog a read!

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