Monday, January 26, 2015

Virtues of Treadmill Training

Over the last four years, I have learned the virtues of treadmill running.  Prior to obtaining a treadmill (so graciously gifted to me by my friend John) I could never have imagined how a treadmill could actually become a useful, let alone enjoyable, as a training tool.  Obviously winter time reveals the treadmill's utility more readily, but I have found it to be a viable training tool year round.

Reasons to use the 'mill:
  1. Avoidance of the cold, dark, morning runs.
  2. Avoiding dangerous ice and all the perils that entails.
  3. Steady state tempo runs: The treadmill won't slow down, so you can't either!
  4. Recovery runs: Decreased pounding/impact.
  5. Injury Rehab: You can stop at the first hint of pain/discomfort . . . instead of limping miles home.
  6. Time Crunched: You can sneak in a training run any time.
  7. Hill Training:  All the benefits of the uphill, but no injury-risking down.
  8. Catching up on TV or movies.
My Favorite Treadmill Training Runs:
  1. Commercial Intervals:  Pick-up the pace for the duration of a TV commercial.
  2. Steady-State Tempo
  3. Long Runs: Ok . . . so not my favorite, but I have a streak of four years running a marathon on the treadmill.  Usually on a nasty Saturday in February where running 20+ miles outside is equally detestable.
  4. Hill/Tempo Combo:  2M Warm-up, then for each 0.25-mile I increase the pace by 0.1 mph and every 1-mile I do a quarter at 6% grade (btw: I always keep the grade at least 2.5% to take it easier on the motor).
Anyone else have any love for the treadmill and/or favorite workouts?

Monday, January 5, 2015

Frozen Sasquatch 50K 2015

I had the pleasure of running my fourth Frozen Sasquatch 50K this past Saturday in Charleston, WV.  After my broken rib/s hiatus from racing during the fall of '14, I was more than happy to hit the buttery single track -- actually, extremely muddy this year -- at Kanawha State Forest.

My training has been leisure over the past couple of months, but I have been running a decent amount of mileage -- just no real quality or specificity since early October.  I was excited to test my base fitness a bit and to measure the amount of work needed to be done before my stout spring racing schedule.

Courtesy of Nick Billock

Being a 2-loop 50K, the race lends itself to a solid assessment of pacing.  I came through the first lap in 2:17 -- feeling fine, but as if I was running a little too "fast" for it to be sustainable.  The little slips of the extremely muddy course were starting to take their toll on my hip flexors.  I believe I came through lap one around 2:14 in the two years that I ran 4:34 and 4:35 -- so considering my fitness . . . not too bad at all.  I knew I would inevitably slow, but at least I had two runners in front to cajole me along.

After AS 1 on loop #2, I simply wanted to cruise the last 10+ miles and be done.  I was feeling a little apathetic and tired; sometimes it's just a whole heck of a lot more fun running with someone!  After the Johnson Hollow AS (#2), I luckily found my second wind and really picked up the pace.  It wasn't intentional; I just felt really good and felt like running hard.  Eventually I saw Brian Talon up ahead.  We had chatted a few moments as he passed me on the first loop and learned that he was from CT.  He seemed like a great fellow from our brief exchange and I could tell he was a talented runner.  I was hoping for a sneak attack since Brian was still running well, but alas he looked back and saw me while I was still a good 200-meters behind.  Brian picked up the pace and I knew that he was going to be a great competitor and make me work for it.  The race was on!  This was the most fun I had the whole race.  Brian took off and I slowly reeled him in over the next mile.  Nothing like some good clean competition to get the motor running!  Man I love that . . . 

Regardless, I ended up finishing strong in 4:49 -- good enough for second place overall.  Not my slowest time, but not my best -- given the days conditions, I am well pleased.

Photo: Dan Todd
Congrats to young gun Andrew Rhodes who stoically ran out front all day and performed well to win in 4:35.  I believe this is Andrew's second ultra win in the last 12-mths, but I expect many more out of him. 

Many thanks to Mike Dolin and the rest of the wonderful volunteers at the Frozen Sasquatch.  Such a great grass-roots event and a wonderful way to start the New Year!  Full results HERE.

And I nearly forgot . . . How many races do you get the opportunity to moon a sasquatch?

The aforementioned post-mooning chuckle