Saturday, October 23, 2010

10/24/2010: Fine Tuning for MMTR

As you can probably tell, I'm really getting excited for the MMTR 50. The big training is done, and now I mostly just need to make sure I'm rested for the race. I definitely want to avoid what happened in Laurel Highlands, where I came into the race not nearly rested enough.

I hit 90 miles last week, which was the third week out from the race. While it may not seem like that is tapering at all, the mileage was heavily stacked to the start of the week, and I was taking it easy in the second half of the week. I ran 6 easy miles on Wednesday, 3 easy miles on Thursday, and took Friday off.

Aside from resting, my other goal is to do some fine tuning to make sure I'm fully race ready. The first part of that was to get in a "comfortably hard" final long run this weekend. I did some light running and cross training yesterday to make sure I'd be ready for a long run on the Potomac Heritage trail today, which is fairly hilly and has a good amount of short steep climbs. The goal was to run hard but not redline it.

I had hoped to run to the end of the trail and back, which would have been 26 miles. But my legs were feeling really tired and "tweaked" though when I started the run. I guess I was still feeling the 90 mile week and 44 mile long run. I decided to cut it short and maybe not run as hard.

The first 7 miles were on hilly roads. I was hitting around 8 minute miles, and my legs definitely were not feeling great. When I hit the trail at mile 7, I surprised myself by really coming to life. My legs hurt less, and I was able to pick up the effort level. I felt fantastic on the climbs and descents. Usually 10 minute miles is fairly brisk on the Potomac Heritage trail, but I was averaging under 9 minute miles. I came off the trail at mile 16 and ran pretty hard to the end. Finished in 3 hours 3 minutes, which is a 7 minute PR on that route. Definitely better than I had expected, especially with tired legs. This run was a huge confidence builder for MMTR, which is exactly what I wanted.

Later this week, I'm also planning to do one of my favorite workouts for ultras as long as my legs are up to it. It's a treadmill workout where I run a few 6 minute miles, take a short break, and run a few 10 minute miles miles at 10% grade. I love this workout because it is a bit of a speed workout and then a great way to practice running hard uphill when you're already tired.

I'll do another short speed workout early in the week before the race just to keep the legs moving. I'm also trying to do some cross training and strength training this week, though I'll back off from that next week. Yesterday I biked 10 miles easy and did a good amount of upper body lifting.

Hopefully this will all result in me being in perfect shape for race day on 11/6!

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