January 2010 Archives

Sandwich Training

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This past weekend I did some sandwich training, i.e. I took a running day off on Friday, ran long(er) runs on Saturday and Sunday and took a training day off on Monday. I found this training method to be quite effective last year as I trained for my first 100K race.

On Saturday I met Gerd at our running club trailhead about an hour and a half early so we could run a loop before our scheduled running club run. It was just above freezing temperature outside and was icy in spots, but overall good to run, we managed around 14 km (8.7 mi.) and made it back to the trailhead a couple minutes before the group took off. Gerd went home and I started out with Conny and a small group, but dropped back and ran with Uli, RB and another friend after a kilometer or two, because Conny and crew were running a bit faster than I wanted. I had a good time running and chatting away with my friends, the miles melted away. I ended up with just under 26 km (16 mi.), about a mile further than planned.

On Sunday noon I drove to Weingarten with the intent of running at least 20 km (12.5 mi.) on my hilly route. My legs were a bit tired from the day before, but this feeling faded as I warmed up with a relatively flat kilometer. After my short warmup I headed up the first hill, whereas it didn't take long on the steep climb to remember that it has been a very long time since I had done any hill training.

I adjusted my pace and kept running, eventually making it to the top after 7-8 minutes. I turned and ran down another path that brought me almost to the bottom of the hill on the 80 km (50 mi.) course that I run every June. I started back up the hill running for a couple minutes before turning onto a path that is one of the steepest that I have found so far, on a bad day I usually end up walking the latter part, but on this day I was still fresh and made it to the top with still some resemblance of running. Out of breath, I headed back down the mountain on still another path.

I continued this up and down training a couple more times, then headed out over the rolling hills, eventually heading down through a valley toward the next group of hills. This second group of hills borders the town of Weingarten and is where the town has established their vineyards that produce the fruit that the town is named after (Weingarten = wine garden). I soon found myself running along a path with rows and rows of grapevines and, as the vineyards are located on the hillsides, was soon climbing again.

I tried a couple new paths that I had noticed last year when I trained in this area, and soon was running a winding single track path down into Weingarten. I arrived at the edge of town an followed a bike path for a few minutes until I found a new path leading back into the woods. The trail was slick from the mud and snow, but I clawed my way up the hillside, eventually returning to a single track path that led me back up to the vineyards. As I arrived at the top I did a quick calculation and figured it was time to turn back and head to the car. Thirty minutes and several hills later I was back to the trailhead, tired, hungry and 22 km (14 mi.) richer. My Garmin tells me that my run consisted of 1050 meters of elevation gain and 1067 of elevation loss, not bad for a start!

I hope the weather holds and I can head for the hills next weekend. Have a nice week!

Waking the fish within me

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Last night I came to grips with my secret fears inside and met friend Uli at the swimming pool in Karlsruhe. Fear? Yes, you see Uli and her husband Bernd are Ironman (Ironmen?), and they have been the main catalyst in my decision to participate in a Triathlon. I have seen both of them swim, they make it look sooo easy, I mean I thrash through the water in comparison.

I arrived at the pool a little early so I could warm up before Uli arrived. The pool was full, which didn't help my nerves, which were doing backflips due to my lack of confidence in my swimming ability. After a couple hundred meters I spotted Uli's red swimming cap and joined her. Bernd was with her, he wanted to train with the Triathlon club that met Friday nights.

Uli warmed up with a lap as I talked to Bernd, then Bernd turned me over to my new swim instructor. Uli swam a lane with me, then got out of the pool and watched me as I swam the crawl back to the other side. To my surprise she said my technique was much better than she had expected. She mentioned that my main weak points seem to be that I don't lift my elbows out of the water enough and I need to learn to glide forward.

From there Uli got down to business, we did lap after lap of various drills, with only a short pause after each to explain the next one. Most of the drills I recognized from my swim class, and I managed to once again prove how uncoordinated I am in the water. Luckily Uli understands the difficulties of a beginner and has a great sense of humor - she kept me smiling as she dogged me out.

After about 45 minutes Uli noticed that I was suffering, and I admitted that I needed a break. She left me to unwind with some easy laps and she knocked out 700-800 meters of her own training. Afterward she suggested we do a couple fast laps, I knew there was no way this was going to happen. She took off in the lead and I tried to hang with her, after 25 meters I could barely lift my arms any longer, so slowed down. I met her at the end of the 50 meter lane and I said I probably need to swim the breast stroke back. As she took off I decided to at least try to crawl as far as I could, after about 25 meters I noticed Bernd was watching me from the sidelines, no stopping now, I tried to bring my form in grips and managed to make it to the end of the pool still crawling.

At this point Bernd took over and suggested we go to the smaller pool in the back and work on some specific training. He showed me several different drills that I could use to improve various points in my swimming technique.

Finally after almost two hours at the pool I headed for the showers, I was exhausted, this was the hardest swim workout ever! As I showered I thought about all that Bernd and Uli had said, it was clear that I have a lot of work ahead of me. But they both said that I should have no problem completing my sprint Triathlon in July, I only need to keep up the training. As I walked to the car my muscles ached, I was hungry, tired - but my heart glowed, I can't wait to head to the pool again!

On Tuesday I met friend Birgit at the local research center for a couple laps around the outside of the lighted compound. Most of the snow from the previous weekend was gone, making it much safer to complete our 13.2 km (8.2 mi.) run.

On Wednesday morning I stopped at the swimming pool in Karlsruhe on the way to work and did 1200 meters of laps, alternating 100 meter breaststroke and 100 meter crawl. My breathing is slowly improving, as is my overall swimming endurance. I still need to work a lot on my technique, but first when my breathing is more comfortable.

Last night I met Birgit, Uli and Gerd at the local research center for two 6.6 km laps. It was a bit warmer than it has been, around 3°C/37°F, and the asphalt path surrounding the complex was mostly free of ice. We had a good time running and chatting, time goes fast in a group. Towards the end of the last round we were joined by Uli's husband Bernd, who ran from their house to join us. He talked Birgit and I into running part of a third loop with him, he knows Ultra runners are easy to talk into a couple more miles.

Tonight I am meeting Uli at the pool, she is sitting out the Triathlon swim training that she usually does on Friday evenings and offered to give me some pointers on how to improve my swim technique. Uli completed her first Ironman in Zurich, Switzerland last year, she and her husband Bernd talked me into doing my first sprint Tri this coming summer - they obviously don't know how bad I swim.

This weekend I have 24 km (15 mi.) on my training plan for Saturday and 20 hilly km (12.5 mi.) on Sunday, I hope the weather cooperates. We are supposed to get more snow in the next couple days, snow is okay, but ice I could do without...we'll see.

My training is about a month behind last year's training, I figured out that I peaked about four weeks early last year, so adjusted my schedule accordingly. At the moment my body is still getting used to longer runs and higher mileage, most runs feel a bit sluggish in the moment - but last December was the same, so by next end of next month I should be ready for some hard training. Stay tuned.

Gearing up for Crossfit

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Yesterday morning my legs were still sore from slipping and sliding around the trails on the weekend, so I postponed my Monday night run until tonight. But rather than laying around on the couch I decided it would be a good time to FINALLY start my weight training that I have been putting off since November.

I warmed up with a set of jumping jacks, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, back-extension and dips then headed upstairs in my shed to my "fitness room" (basically an unheated attic). I haven't done any Crossfit since last year, so decided to start slowly with some circuit training. I went through 2 rounds of the following exercises:

5 min. cycling on stationary bike
10 x bench press
10 x kettlebell swings
50 strokes rowing
10 x jerk
10 x dead lift

I used really low weight with the lifting, it has been almost a half year since I have been doing any lifting so need to build up gradually.

The workout warmed up my muscles well, without working stressing them too much, in other words ideal for a "recovery" day. The important thing is that I have started, now I only need to work up to the normal Crossfit routines. Tonight I'm meeting friends for a run, on Wednesday after work I want to do laps at the pool.

As the old year ticked over into the year I officially started training for the 2010 race season. Over the last three weeks I have been averaging around 80-85 km (50+ miles) of running a week, 10-15% more than I have on my training schedule. The past two weeks we have had up to 20 cm of snow on the ground, making longer runs challenging. On Saturday it warmed up just enough to make the snowy trails treacherous to run, I slipped and slid my way over 24 km (15 mi.), the effort leaving my legs sore and tired, particularly noticeable when I woke up Sunday. I ended up reducing my Sunday run from 20 km to 13, no point in overdoing it on icy trails, besides my mileage was well over what I had on my training schedule.

I was looking over my training plan yesterday afternoon and concluded that my training is much too advanced so early in the year. My gut feeling is that if I continue at this rate I may end up peaking way too early - not around the 100K in June when it is desirable. To counter this I want to drop back to 4 days a week running and add some weight training (Crossfit). I also want continue with my two days a week swimming for a couple more months, at least until my mileage starts to peak.

Speaking of swimming, I was at the pool on Friday following work and for the first time in a couple months had a halfway decent workout. Since my swim course ended at the end of November I have been struggling to complete a 50 meter freestyle lap without running out of breath. On this particular night I slowed down and concentrated on my form and was completing 100 meter laps without hesitation. I swam a total of 1300 meters, alternating 100 meters of breaststroke and crawl, with a 5-10 breath pause at the end of each 100 meters, probably not impressive for most of you out there, but nevertheless a breakthrough for me.

My swim goals for the next few months are to work up to 2000 meters combined breast/crawl by the end of June, with at least 700 meters nonstop crawl. The latter is needed for my sprint Tri in July, it will take lots of hard work!

Are Ultrarunners lousy bloggers?

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I am still having trouble dropping back into my blogging routine...Mark at Mark Tanaka's Trail and Ultra Running Blog logged an entry the other day that pretty much sums up my feelings about blogging lately:

"Obvious to me for quite some time, but increasingly so as the problem continues to worsen-- blogging about ultrarunning is inherently difficult.

If I have time to blog, then I have time to run. Because of my schedule and a general lack of time to run as much as I'd like, if I have time to run, I need to take advantage of it. For those who don't run ultras, training runs usually take hours, and many ultrarunners get addicted to racing..."

From my perspective I've never met an ultrarunner that is NOT addicted to racing, but I guess there must be a few out there ;-)

In any case I will try to get back to somewhat of a blogging routine, after all the main purpose that I started blogging was to document my training for my own reference...

My Training Goals for 2010


The train that I take to work was late this morning and I missed my connection. This gave me some time to think a little bit about where I am headed in the sports arena this year. I have been putting this off for awhile because, with the shaky economy we are experiencing, I am a bit hesitant in making too many plans.

I have three goals that will be the catalyst for most of my training this year:

1. Complete the 100K race in Biel, Switzerland on June 11 and the 80K (50 miles) Fidelitas Night Run on June 26.
2. Complete my first sprint triathlon in Stutensee on July 11.
3. Complete the Canandaigua 50 Mile race on October 9.

The last goal will be the most challenging, both logistically and physically. In 2007 the locally famous Bopple Hill broke me to the point that I ran short of time and didn't finish. If I can make it to New York in October I will be on a quest, get ready Sis, I could sure use your support!

Heute an die weg zum Arbeit mein Zug war verspätet, so ich habe meine Verbindung verpasst. Als ich habe für die nächste S-Bahn gewartet habe ich ein bisschen über meinen Sport Ziel für 2010 nachgedacht. Auf Grund der Wirtschaftskrise will ich nur vorsichtig Planen.

Ich habe drei Zeile das wurde mein Training treiben:

1. Die 100K in Biel an 11. Juni und der Fidelitas Nachtlauf an 26. Juni laufen.
2. Mein erste Volkstriathlon in Stutensee an 11. Juli hinter mir bringen.
3. Über das Ziel bei dem Canandaigua 50 Meile Lauf an 9. Oktober kommen.

Dem letzten Ziel wurde sehr schwer, logistisch und sportlich gesehen. In 2007 vor Ort bekannte Bopple Hill hat mich gebrochen, ich könnte nicht unter das Zeitlimit an Ziel kommen. Wenn ich kann nach New York in Oktober anreisen, will ich meine Rache mit diese Berg! Ich hoffe mein Laufschwester Lara aus New York kann mir unterstutzten, ich könnte es sicher brauchen.

Starting the Year out Right

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I have officially started training for 2010's big event, a 100K race in Biel, Switzerland on June 11th. I will be running the race with a couple from my running club, Birgit and Andreas, both experienced marathon and ultra runners but yet to complete a 100K.

My first run of the year was on Saturday, I arrived at our running club trailhead an hour early and got in 10K before the rest of the group showed up. I ran with Birgit and the mid-speed pack, then tacked on another kilometer or two for a total of 22.2 km (14 miles) at and average pace of 5:54/km (9:30/mi.). At noon today Andreas and Birgit picked me up and we drove to there favorite trail and ran some hills, completing 15.4 km (9.5 mi.) in 1:44:00, an easy cruising speed that will get us through 100K in June.

My training schedule for January will basically look something like this:

Monday: 13 km (8 mi.) run
Tuesday: Swim
Wednesday: 13 km (8 mi.) run
Thursday: Swim and/or 1 hour run
Friday: Rest
Saturday: Long run 22-26 km (14-16 mi.)
Sunday: Long hilly run 16-20 km (10-12 mi.)

I will also start mixing in some weight training and Crossfit, hopefully working up to 2-3 times a week.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2009 is the previous archive.

February 2010 is the next archive.

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