The last few blocks of training I have been focusing on easy training, strength and technique. The easy training has been a combination of running, hiking, rowing and roller skiing in preparation for the upcoming ski season. As part of the preparation I have been doing the Frank's XC Fall Race Series on Wednesdays and the New Balance XC Race Series on Saturdays.
At last weekends New Balance event in Goldbar Park I had a moment where everything came together mid race when it occurred to me that I was letting expectations take the pure enjoyment out of racing, in that moment I let go and raced as fast as my body allowed, I wasn't racing anyone, pacing off anyone, just simply running as fast as I could on that day given the conditions and man did I enjoy.
Since that moment with each race since I have set myself on the start line with the task at hand and have let my body decide, freeing myself to simply run.
Breaking free, breaking free putting in the mileage and the hours of training, taking in the views and enjoying each moment. These past few weeks have been a change of direction for me, taking more of a multisport approach (running, mountain biking, roller skiing, rowing and hiking) with the mileage and reducing the intensity to focus on technique and position activating a greater range of muscles. The technique method incorporates very slow repetition speeds as compared to traditional tempo workouts, with emphasis on minimizing acceleration and momentum to reduce the force the body is exposed to during exercise and improve muscular loading. This way the mileage can be increased progressively while reducing injury and the muscular fatigue from the impact of the increased mileage while building aerobic power.
The first week of the mileage game is under my belt with two runs per day for the full seven days with a 40 minute run in the morning and a 40 minute run in the evening with core strength, feeling good and ready for another week.
"the mileage game"
Returning home from Nationals and having the outdoor track season wind up, a moment to reflect.
The trip to Montreal itself was a treat, time with Shauna, taking in the Just for Laughs comedy festival and being a part of the National Championship environment was something very special.
I took part in the Open Men's 800m and the Master Men's Exhibition 800m events. I posted a time of 2:30 in the open event and 2:25 in the masters event. Great races. It was certainly the best I could do on the day and have no disappointment.
What I do feel is, I can do better. I feel I am missing something, doing something incorrectly. Not incorrect in terms of training methodology as many training systems work but incorrect in terms of what is best for me.
My mix of strength, endurance and intervals and the many aspects of what goes into my training I feel needs adjusting.
For many years I have had a feeling of what I needed upon completion of a training cycle, made notes compared with other training models and have invariably gone a different direction, not trusting my gut feelings.
The training journey is the part that I enjoy the most, taking a path and seeing where it leads. With this training cycle leading up to the X-Country and Nordic seasons the goal will be to implement my own ideas and see what they bring.
’m not an idiot often but when I am I miss my race. The Foote Field 800m was on tap a few weeks back. I left shop early to go home and relax and start pre race routine. Arriving home I started to get ready and literally said, “I better put my Garmin on so I know exactly what time it is”. Unfortunately I did a workout in Vancouver the day before, so I arrived at Foote exactly the moment my event started, exactly one hour late as my Garmin did not reset to current time zone. Like I said idiot!
Athletics Canada is staging an 800m exhibition masters race (age 35+) at the 2019 Canadian Track & Field Championships in Montreal in late July and I had posted a time of 2:25 earlier this year but had hoped to lower that time at the Foote Field Open to guarantee a spot. With GarminGate and missing the event I sent an email thanking the organizers for the opportunity and wished them a successful event, in that I didn't think my time of 2:25 would earn me a spot on the start line.
That same evening I received the following reply, "that’s okay, Jack. Your seed time is among the 12 fastest who’ve applied for this event, so I anticipate there likely being a spot for you in the race. I should have more information for you next week". In the days to come I in fact received an invitation to register and am now heading to Montreal later this month for the Master 800m invitational. I may have also registered in the Open 800m qualifying round, as well, I am there anyways and well I like a good challenge.
On the workout side I have been doing a combination of short speed, hard tempo and core strength developing rotational strength, balancing lower back and abdominal strength and improving coordination. You cannot be at your strongest without training the rotational muscles of the trunk!
The hard tempo was the Edmonton 10k which was a great day on the roads. And by hard tempo, I mean the hardest I could go for 10km up to that awkward moment when you are wearing 4%'s and you realize you can't run 4% faster and fade at the 6km mark, 37:09 for 10K and atop the Master 50-54 category and fourth Master 40+ overall.
The speed sessions have been 40m to 100m sprints with limited rest at top speed, one of the latest was 10 x 110m in 17 seconds for each of the ten repeats on the track and some 30 x 30 second with 30 second recovery workouts on the road. In combination with the short speed sessions I have also been doing plyometrics keeping loads light with quick movement so that the exercises carry over to the 800m distance and then on to Nordic sprint racing down the road in the winter.
On the technique side my main focus has been the heel to hamstring action and foot placement.
Two weeks until the big race, allot of work to be done...
It can happen, even in the woods, a guy can be wrong.
Turns out, I am not that into returning too long distance running. Once I had regained strength and had built up mileage I thought I might like increase my track distance to 10000m and possibly return to Ultra Running but now having run a 5000m on the track and attempted the 50K at the Calgary Marathon I now know I like the middle distance 800m and 1500m events considerably more.
On the Nordic side I attempted the 50km at Nationals this past winter and enjoyed it, but at the end of the day I really do prefer the Sprint Events.
In some respects I think I was on the fence thinking the longer distances is what I should be doing and not what I want to be doing, I enjoy the training for the shorter events and I much prefer the racing and the effort that goes along with the shorter events and well at the end of the day its all about what you enjoy that is the most important.
So on that note my next event is the Foote Field Open 800m and 1500m and based on times put down I will either go to Open Nationals or Master Nationals and after those I will start to focus on the Nordic side to get ready for the Sprint events this coming winter.
On the racing side I have thought to reduce travel and do fewer events outside of Edmonton and to replace those with time trials thus reducing travel, carbon foot print and allowing more time at home and less interruption between training blocks
On the training side the focus will be on the short tempos, short intervals and olympic lifting.
Yes indeed, with the daily morning snow who can tell spring has sprung but we forge on putting in the miles. The routine these past few weeks has been a forty minute run in the morning and a forty minute run in the evening on grass trails, a two hour recovery run on Sundays and then the club workouts out of the shop on Wednesday and Saturdays.
I keep the short tempo runs at a heart rate of 120 and the interval workouts at a heart rate of 130 keeping all the workouts aerobic. On the strength side I focus on technique and speed of bar on recovery days and then focus on moving weight on Wednesday and Saturdays.
What am I training for this summer, a little of this, a little of that, can't put a label on me with a focus on gearing up for next seasons ski season.
Spring has sprung and so have the goals. Outdoor track season is on the horizon and the training has begun. the focus this year aerobic best training and olympic lifting.
Aerobic best a Lydiard system or maximum aerobic function MAF a Phil Maffetone system, very similar approaches and I'm on board, I refer to them as aerobic tempo runs maximizing technique, pace and mental clarity at my maximum aerobic heart rate of 129 or 180 - age.
Olympic lifting, well I love olympic lifting, so I have decided to make it my focus with daily lifting working on technique and form. I have tried a number of approaches to strength training and olympic lifting is the one that appeals to me the most and I throughly enjoy the process and the technique aspect.
The aerobic best runs are short, focused and the olympic lifting sessions are light, working with the bar only, lasting 20 to 40 minutes with warm up and cool down lifts.
Training and racing, it kind of fun, like so much fun!
DFL today at the Ski Nationals 50km in 3:05 and loved every minute. A 50km Classic ski race on some monster climbs with no back pain, I consider that a win, a huge win. Smashed a pole, in the stadium. But of course. Shit happens when you stomp on your pole.
May have crashed not once but twice but I don’t think anyone saw the second crash so I get a pass. Like I said there were some monster uphills followed by some monster downhills.
Went with skin skis and gripped like a boss for the full 50km, but did sacrifice some glide in doing so. In the warm up I sheared off a good portion of my klister on my race skis as the morning conditions were pretty abrasive and if you ran the numbers I would have had to double pole the last 30km at that rate and sure as shit I wanted no part of that.
Did I mention the hills.
I am still smiling that after 7 laps the stadium took me by surprise each and every time.
Passionate runner and nordic skier who happens to own a run & ski shop!