The Noble Canyon 50k is this weekend and I can’t wait. A few weeks ago I posted about my “well rounded” training plan and wrote “I am not training specifically for any one race right now”. I’m not sure that came out right. There are definitely races that I want to run fast at but my training isn’t built around a single one. Instead it’s just been about getting super fit. To be ready for the races I want to do well at I am just dialing it back leading up. The Bulldog 25k and the Endure the Bear 30k were fun training races for me and I didn’t rest heading into them. Noble Canyon is one I want to nail.
The build up to this race has been quite a bit different than how I started the year. I started the year with 100% focus on running with the Orflamme 50k, PCT 50 Miler, and the Tahoe Rim Trail 100 on my radar. Unfortunately I only got to the start line of one of those races… Oriflamme. I was fit and had a great race but shortly after I was down and out with a frustrating injury. What I thought was just gnarly shin splint ended up being a tibial stress fracture. Lame.
From the start of the year through Oriflamme I was running a lot. Typically about 6 days a week and the one day I wasn’t running I’d usually go for an easy spin on my bike. I was also doing a lot of workouts and harder running. It was fun for sure but it started wearing on me a bit. After not following a specific training plan since 2011 I thought it would be fun and also help me get back some speed. I definitely put down some good workouts and was getting faster but it was burning me out mentally, and apparently physically as well. So after letting my shin heal and getting back to training in early June I decided on a different approach.
I basically had this skeleton schedule and for most part my weeks looked like this for past 12+ weeks:
- Mon: Rest Day
- Tues: Am 60-75 min run with Maggie, Pm Yoga
- Weds: Am 1.5-2 hour hilly mtb, Lunch strength session at NaKoa (agility & high intensity)
- Thurs: 60-75 min hilly run, Pm occasional easy 30 min jog with Maggie (only and handful of times)
- Friday: Am easy 60-90 min spin, lunch strength session on my own (heavy)
- Sat: Long, mellow run in the mtns.
- Sun: 2-3 ride & 30 min run or 60-90 min easy run
It was pretty simple and really easy for me to pull off with my work and life schedule. Taking monday’s off from running or riding each week was awesome and something I rarely have done in the past. Full days of rest didn’t used come regularly but as I’m getting older and still going for it pretty hard the day off helps a lot. It also let me get extra sleep on monday mornings and took my typically fast recovery to another level.
I tried to reduce the days of back to back running, ride my mountain bike a lot, work really hard in the gym, and just do the kind of running that’s fun for me. Like I’ve mentioned before the only “hard” running I’ve done in the past 10 weeks has been unstructured and 100% uphill or in races. No intervals, no hill repeats, no tempo, nothing… but it’s been working. What else I found with running a bit less is that running never felt like a grind. Holding myself back and not running as much had me even more stoked to get out there door on running days than I usually am. The weekend runs in the mountains were some of the most fun I’ve ever had running. Maggie and I have done so many awesome runs this summer. We’ve run all over tahoe, mammoth, baldy, san jacinto, east county san diego, and the santa ana mountains Those days had nothing to do with training. I never worried about how they would pay off come race day or how fast or slow were were going. It was just all about just being outside, up high, having fun, and exploring with maggie.
A good sign that I’m fitter right now than I’ve been in some time was my run last Thursday at Mt Woodson. It’s a good local climb that I’ve run quite a bit and it’s a good test. There’s a Strava segment (Lake Poway Boat Ramp to Mt Woodson) for the climb and I had the 4th best time up the climb. Before I go any further… I know not everybody uses Strava and the CR’s/KOM’s aren’t necessarily the fastest time anybody has ever run that segment. Some fast local guys had run that segment faster than me so chasing the CR was good motivation to knock out one more hard effort before Noble.
I set my previous best time about a year ago at the end of last august after we got back form leadville. i thought I was in good shape and went 36:57 for the climb and it was basically everything I had. When I ran it last Thursday I went 34:32. Almost two and a half minutes faster and getting the CR by 35 seconds. I was stoked with effort and know I could clock a faster time. I blew by the turn at about 1.8 miles in and lost just over a minute before getting back on the right trail. I think something in the 33′s is doable.
I’ve had a couple of good shorter races but I guess the question is how this will this all work out on Saturday when I have to run 30+ miles.
For comparison’s sake below is the 10 weeks before the Oriflamme 50k back in the spring and the past 10 weeks leading up to Noble Canyon.
week of – run miles (climbing) ,ride miles (climbing)
10 Weeks leading up to the Oriflamme 50k (4.5.2014)
- 1/20 – 52 (559) ,24 (1204)
- 1/27 – 49 (5490) , 24 (1230) (Xterra Mission Gorge 15k)
- 2/3 – 56 (4808), 18 (610)
- 2/10 – 61 (6969), 23 (1214) (Baz 21k)
- 2/17 – 68 (4798), 24 (1207)
- 2/24 – 76.5 (8707), 23.5 (1211)
- 3/3 – 50 (1300), 0 – MA/VA vacation/rest week
- 3/10 – 75 (7139), 45 (1923)
- 3/17 – 74 (8745), 48 (2142)
- 3/24 – 67 (5570), 78 (3045) (got my new road bike!)
- Weekly avg: run 63/5408 miles/climbing, ride 31/1378 miles/climbing
- 6786 avg feet of climbing per week combined
- Avg 85 feet of climbing per mile running
- Avg 44 feet of climbing per mile riding
10 Weeks leading up to the Noble Canyon 50k (9.20.2014)
- 7/7 – 33 (4561), 120 (11244)
- 7/14 – 47 (9228), 77 (6650) (tahoe & mammoth)
- 7/21 – 42 (6136), 70 (5820)
- 7/28 – 53 (9604), 48 (3976)
- 8/4 – 49 (11083), 77 (6516)
- 8/11 – 46 (5626), 42 (3596)
- 8/18 – 40 (5981), 85 (5023) (bulldog)
- 8/25 – 46 (8688), 102 (7703)
- 9/1 – 53 (7345), 60 (4528) (Big Bear/ETB)
- 9/8 – 34 (5342, 90 (5929)
- Weekly avg: run 44/7349 miles/climbing, ride 77/6100 miles/climbing
- 13449 avg feet of climbing per week combined
- avg 167 feet of climbing per mile running
- avg 80 feet of climbing per mile riding
Definitely some geeky numbers and I know just running and riding volume doesn’t tell the whole story. I knew I was running less, riding more, and doing more climbing so I just wanted to see how much. The really focused strength work, more rest, amount of fun I’m having, and good beer also have a lot to do with how good I’m feeling these days. I’m really interested to see how this all plays out on Saturday. Of course there are more factors than just the training that go into having a successful, fast race but I think I’ve got a handle on most of those variables. I’ve raced enough 50k’s that I have my nutrition dialed. I’ve run the entire course and as for pacing… that’s the easy part… gut myself. I’m just really looking forward to having fun, running extremely hard, and getting to bang elbows with bunch of friends and fast runners… and of course the post race beers.