am) 4 miles with 3 X 8" max effort hill sprints. 80 miles for the week so far..
Comment from Claus:
Hi Tim, the pictures of the trails look really nice, but also very tough. Being a total flatlander, I know how hard it is on my lower legs to suddenly implement hill running in every workout, as when on training camps in hilly/mountainous terrain. Even recovering on the bike can be a hassle, if you live in the bottom of a valley or on some mountainside and you can choose between going up or down. Having followed your blog for a long time, I know you're not shy of hitting the hills hard, but I think the difference lies in the recovery days. Up at your new place it seems you have no choice, but to go down to the flats or buy a treadmill. And besides the recovery issue, there's the turnover thing, how will you resemble the specific, efficient, flatland stride, that you'll need for a quick flat marathon. Do you know of other serious runners that live in places similar to yours? I read about that Anton Krupicka, who seems to love hilly runs, but he targets mountain/terrain running, while you're still in the flat/fast game. No means to discourage you, but I'm curious to know of how you're dealing with this environment in the long run - no pun intended... Your new picture reminds me of some new age logo, like the newborn whatever or some worshipper of the sun... Could you paste on your moustache, to mellow up the superhuman look?
Claus- I think you have asked the #1 question in regards to how I can succeed living in this 'harsh' environment. I believe completely that a 2:20 marathoner does not have, nor do they need, superior aerobic fitness. In every marathon I've run (15 Ironmans included) I have not experienced a loss of cardiovascular strength... what I have experienced is a neurological and muscular break down which I believe is associated with muscles that have not been trained to hold that specific pace or muscle movement pattern for 26.2 miles. Right now I probably have the aerobic fitness to run 2:20. What I lack is specific muscular strength and endurance. How do I achieve this living at 8500ft when there is no flat terrain? First and most importantly- I need to drive down to Boulder often. There is a track not 15:00 from my house which I need to visit frequently. Secondly- I need to exploit the downhills. I will be able to run race pace on the downhills which is only a mild stimulus. Downhill running is still not as specific as the flats. Recovery I believe is going to become a very significant factor. Diet is critical. First making sure that I eat enough- at this altitude my body is processing carbohydrate much differently, it isn't storing it like it would at sea level or even Boulder. I hope that as I gain fitness at this altitude I will be able to perform recovery jogs that are effective, right now though all I can do is walk the steeper hills in order to lessen the intensity.
You're not discouraging me at all. This challenge is what I live for! And I also think I thrive on other people's doubt in my ability. I am not familiar with any other marathoners that live in a similar environment. The Mammoth group (Deena Kastor, Ryan Hall) live at this same altitude but the live in a valley that has a lot of flat terrain. Krupicka is amazing and a hard man but he has different goals. I think the only thing I have heard of is 'training camps' in similar environments.
I have considered setting up my Computrainer and doing recovery spins on that. Far from ideal but maybe a good idea? I am still a cyclist at heart and I think it would be fun for me and effective in recovery, just not effective at stimulating specific marathon fitness.
Thank you for the comment.. thoughts? Anyone?