Monday, December 27, 2004

2005 Goals and this weekend's walking

A lot of people are posting goals (as usual, Chris got things rolling) so I thought I would post my own.

I really only have four walking/fitness goals:

1. Complete the Heartland 100 Mile Endurance Run in October.
2. Get a bicycle and do some cross training.
3. Stick with an exercise routine--primarily just situps and pushups, but I want to stick with it to improve my strength and reduce my gut.
4. Lose about 10-15 more pounds (about 5 of those pounds were added this month!).

On a related note, I think I'm going to change my race plan and training plan. I had been planning to do another 50 mile race in February (Rocky Raccoon) and then a three day race in March (Three Days of Syllamo: 20k, 60k, 40k). But the problem with racing this frequently is that I am almost always in taper mode or recovery mode so I don't get much opportunity for quality training.

This point was driven home yesterday when I went out for my first trail training walk since SunMart. I went to the North Shore Trail at Lake Grapevine at about 6:15 yesterday morning. It was still dark so I used my new Petzl Tikka headlamp for the first time (it worked well!). I also used my CamelBak M.U.L.E. pack for only the second time since I planned to be out for about four hours with no good place to refill my smaller pack. I also thought I might need to store the headlamp and some of the cold weather clothes I was wearing (it was about 30 degress when I started).

My plan was to do the whole trail (it's a 9 mile trail so out-and-back is 18 miles). It is, in my opinion, a fairly rugged trail with lots of ups-and-downs, lots of rocks and roots, and, yesterday, lots of frozen mud and puddles (I fell once on the ice and banged my knee). I've done this trail before and love it but it can be very hard on the legs. I was in good shape and moving well for about the first 13-14 miles of trail, and my time at the turn around was good. After about 14 miles I started to slow down due to some pain in my left knee and my right ankle (I seem to have a recurring problem with that ankle that I need a doctor to look at). After about 17 miles I was in agony and had to just walk to the finish. After I got home I had some Advil and an ice bath and felt much better.

After thinking about this I've decided I need to take a different approach for a little while. Since I started ultras back in October I've never gone back and rebuilt my base; I've tapered and recovered, but once recovery was over I started high mileage long runs immediately. I think I need to take a little time to rebuild my long distance endurance.

Also, even though I've done three trail ultras, I really haven't trained very much on trails. I'm going to start building my base on trails as much as possible (I can never train on trails during the week but I can do all my long walks on trails if the weather permits). I think part of the soreness I'm getting in my knees and ankle is because I'm not used to the additional stresses that trail walking places on your body. So again I need to take time to rebuild and do as much training as possible on trails.

My plan is to start with some shorter daily walks for a couple of weeks and long walks in the 10-15 mile range for three weeks. Then I'm going to start increasng my long run mileage (increases two weeks in a row followed by a shorter third week). I can't increase by the tradtional 10% because I will never reach ultra distances, but I can increase by 5 miles per week (if my body permits). I'm not going to race in Rocky Raccoon in February. Instead I'm going to focus my attention on the Three Days of Syllamo three day race in March. That gives me slightly over 2 months to rebuild the base before this race. I think this race will be a great training race for Heartland since it will be 74.5 miles on rugged terrain over three days.

After Three Days of Syllamo everything will be focused on the Heartland 100. As I get closer to March I will post my training plan for the 100 miler.

Is everyone else thinking about plans and goals? What's on your horizon?

Happy New Year to the RBF!