Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Shifting Focus

Last year I saw some improvements in my running that started at the approach to training. Trying to be more competitive in the races that I choose to run, I started to push a little harder on my workout days and was pleased with the results from it. I didn't have a running schedule in place, but rather ran similar workouts to target the specific races that were forthcoming. Ending 2013 satisfied with my efforts at races, and after taking a planned break around the holidays I am just starting to get back into something that resembles regular training.

This year I will be training to attempt the following:
  • Get faster and try to run a five minute mile: The 5 minute mile is something that has eluded me as I have always struggled with increasing my speed. Over the past few years, I have mainly focused on building base mileage and have not been concerned with trying to be competitive or running the long distances at a faster rate. By putting in a consistent amount of speedwork and dedicated workout days, I plan to attempt to run a five minute mile someday.
  • April 13 - Midstate Trail Traverse North to South (95mi): My running friend, Justin Contois, and I have always discussed how it would be fun to run the whole Midstate Trail that runs from the end of the Wapack Trail near the MA/NH border in Ashburnham/New Ipswich to the MA/RI border in Douglas. This year we plan to attempt it as a supported run on April 13th. 
Amanda and I after we finished section hiking the Midstate Trail in March 2009, this is where Justin and I will finish in April after the through run

  • May 10 - Wapack-and-Back 50 miler: I ran the 50 mile option of this race last year for the first time and finished the race, but feel like I could improve on my time. I didn't do well after the turnaround at mile 21 and feel with more specific training and some longer back-to-back runs - my time could improve. Here's a link to last Spring's race report.

Jogging the last few hundred feet of last year's Wapack 50 with my son Matthew

Foggy section of the Wapack Trail near Temple Mtn.

  • June 7 - TARC 50 miler:  The venue has changed for this race from Weston to Hale Reservation in Westwood and it sounds like it will be a fun and hillier race (which I prefer). I paced Justin Contois for a few miles and Eric Ahern for a few more miles at the TARC 100 race this year through the mud in Weston (writeup here) and had a great time at the first year race. 
TARC 100 Pacing: with Justin and Eric in the early morning hours

TARC 100 Pacing: One of the mud puddles along the way

  • July - White Mts. MacPhail Hut-to-Hut Traverse (52mi +/-, 18,000'+ climb): This is a run/hike that has intrigued me for a while as it moves through the White Mountains hitting all the AMC huts along the way. I will probably plan on starting at Madison Hut and ending at Lonesome Lake in Franconia Notch. Logistically this route seems to make sense since there are many opportunities in the summer to refuel at each hut along the way. Here is a link to more information, or here, and here.

Madison Hut
Lonesome Lake Hut in 2008

  • August - Pemi Loop (31.5 mi, 9,160' climb): I completed this run for the first time last July with Justin, report here. in 9 hours and 30 minutes. I would like to return and try to take some time off, hopefully it will be on a less humid and windy day with some views.

  • September - Double Presidential Traverse (42 mi +/-, lots of climbing): I have some unfinished business on the Presidential Range after we had to abort our trip prematurely. This run I attempted last year in August, although I ended up bailing at Pinkham Notch on the way back. My plan that day was to get to Mt. Pierce and turn around at the summit, making the route sort of a partial traverse. This year, assuming I get the time and weather window, I plan to hopefully complete a full double traverse going from the base of Madison to the base of Pierce and back, making up around 42 miles and quite a bit of climbing.

Summit of Mt. Adams
Ridgeline views

Since the majority of the runs this year will be mountain focused, I plan to visit Mt. Wachusett at least two times a month for some hill repeats. It is a small mountain, but is only a 25 minute drive from my house and I can get most of my running done before the sun comes up and be home for breakfast with the family. I am trying to also hit Mt. Monadnock as a focused workout before the Wapack race and I will be going to Pleasant Mtn. in Maine during our trips to my wife's parents Sebago Lake cabin.

Rather than training just to get the miles in, like last year's training method, I plan to dedicate at least two days during the week on most weeks to focusing on speed. For these runs I am planning on running interval runs on one day and maybe a tempo or progression run on the other - roughly planning on Tuesdays and Thursdays/Fridays. The rest of the miles I will make up with easy/moderate runs and a long run or two on the weekends. We'll see how this goes, as I attempt to go from taking some time "off" during the past few weeks around the holidays to able to run almost 100 miles in less than three months.