Thursday, April 02, 2015

How to Prepare for a Trail Race in 5 Weeks

The Salt Fork Spring Challenge is a race that I've been looking at for months, but I finally pulled the trigger recently. Between a Twitter promo that saved me $10 and the fact that the cost of the race was going up soon, I couldn't resist. The race falls the week before the Cleveland half, which is the last "long" run and it's only 8 miles, and I normally don't like to miss that run with the training group. It's fun and it's short and hopefully it gets them pumped up. But this group doesn't have too many newbies, and many of them are doing the Cleveland 10 Miler at the end of April.

In any case, I am not prepared. My endurance isn't great. I can run slowly, on the flat, all day long, but throw in steep climbs and I'm toast. Because of the training group, long trail runs aren't going to be possible either, but here's my plan:

Tip #1: Keep Running
Duh. I regularly run 25-35 miles/week, and I'll keep that up. I almost always have one run that's at least 9 miles, and it's usually slower. So I have the time on my feet.

Tip #2: Incorporate Hills
I've been hitting the Brecksville Reservation hill recently, and I'll keep that up. I need to resist running on the flat for short runs. I only ran 3 miles tonight, for example, but it was on a hillier section of the Bike & Hike instead of the flat section near my work.

Tip #3: Run Trails
Another duh, but I have to put it here. I always try to do trails, but usually end up with one or two trail runs per month. I would like to have one or two per week. I'm starting off well -- I had two trail runs last week. I'm off tomorrow, so I will likely do a short trail run if the weather cooperates. My legs are TIRED though so it won't be pretty.

Tip #4: Do Intervals
I'm going to do short, hard intervals with running recovery to get used to pushing myself (like on a steep incline) and actually running afterward. I think I'm going to start with 60 on/60 off intervals and see how that goes. Often, when I do intervals, I walk the recovery, but I want to train myself to KEEP RUNNING. I also like giving myself permission NOT to do tempo runs or mile repeats. Those are definitely the better workouts for distance races, but I'm not sure how helpful they would be right now. I haven't done this yet.

Tip #5: Drop 5-10 Unnecessary Pounds
I have time to drop 5 pounds without starving myself. However I ate dinner at Ray's, and I have a pint of beer and some chocolate staring at me right now.

I realize those are common-sense, but let's be honest: I haven't been doing some of these things. Maybe writing them down will help. I don't want to be completely trashed after Salt Fork so I need to prepare myself as well as I possibly can with the limited time available. Maybe I'll do a post about recovering from a trail race in one week since the Cleveland half is the next weekend. I don't have any goals for that race, as I said earlier; I'll just wait and see how I feel.

I'll let you know after Salt Fork if these tips helped. There is a time limit -- 3 hours, which is 17:xx pace. My goal pace is 12, but how can I have a goal when I haven't been training? Realistically, I'm guessing 14. I should be happy with that.

I think I've rounded up a person or two to do the race with me (not Aaron). That should help things. We can drive down together the day of the race and then drive back (one girl has to work that night -- luckily she's a lot younger than I am and in better shape; it would be impossible for me to do it probably).

Anyhow, that's the plan for the next five weeks or so. We'll see how it goes. I have Athens in between (I am formulating a plan that is realistic -- and doesn't get me to sub-2 but hopefully sub 2:03).

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