Friday, May 30, 2008

Blips on the radar!

Having completed my spring “A” race back in April I am looking at the diary and wondering what’s going unfold in the next few months. I have my option of fall ‘A’ races, I am leaning towards the Sierra Nevada (SN) run in September, I have heard that Mt Disappointment (MD) is considered to be one if not the hardest 50 miler in the state, not just due to the trail, elevation etc but also the heat, early August in the San Gabriel’s can easily top out at 100 degree or more, if I go for the SN I expect to volunteer for MD anyway and there are a couple of training runs in July which cover 30 or so miles of the 50 mile course which I could attend. Anyway I have given myself the week of June 23rd before I make a decision. The objective for whichever race is to break 11 hours and thereby be able to submit my name into the Western States lottery; there I said it in public and hey you gotta be in to win it, well by win I be be on a ticket when they pull the 400 names out the hat that contains nearly 1500!

In the meantime I am scouring the local schedules, by local I mean a couple of hours drive, for some trail races of reasonable length, HM and above and I found the Valley Crest one for next weekend, so I threw my hat in on that one. There is also the Bulldog 50k in Malibu Creek State Park in August; I DNSd here last year with ITB issues, this would be too late for MD!

The problem is that the weather just gets too hot and there are virtually no races in June or July! Anyway keep an eye on my race schedule as I fill it out and make my decision next month.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

100 hours in 1000 words!

A quick round up from over the weekend. Friday my wife and I headed to the local Four Seasons Hotel for a his'n'her massage, some pool time and a general catch up without the kids, it was actually our Wedding Anniversary, well a day late, ten years! And although we had gone away earlier in the year while my in-laws were in town, under the heading of “we’ll never manage it on the actual day” well, we did. After a great massage, lunch by the indoor pool I headed off to the gym, I was scheduled for a 10 miler but after 5 I was dieing, the gym was so hot I looked and felt like I had run a marathon through Kuala Lumpur! The only downside to the day was the weather and having had the previous weekend well over 100 today it was grey and wet with the temperature getting to all of 65!

The weather continued in the same vein the next day and I set out on my bike early to try and beat the rain, not a chance. Fortunately I had switched out my windjacket for some Goretex but my legs and butt where well exposed (not in the biblical sense) but hey when you're wet; you're wet. I changed up the scenery this weekend and took a slightly different route, out through Kanan, gingerly crossing the bridge where I had buckled my wheel and then back up though Malibu Canyon, which is usually the down outbound leg, it made for an interesting ride seeing everything backwards as such, but by mile 35 I was feeling it, there seemed to be a disproportionate amount of up (ok and one really big down!), a light dinner the night before and a bagel for breakfast hadn’t really topped off my tank and in spite of having four Hammer gels, a bar and a couple of bottles of fluid (Perpetuem/Amino Vital) by the time I got home ten miles later I was done in. Here's the MotionBased data. My bike was filthy and so I gave it a wash down and wax up and was finishing up just as my wife arrived back with the boys and so with the help of the eldest we went on to wash and wax both cars as, of course, by this time the sun had come out! Saturday night we had friends over for a BBQ, eaten inside as it really wasn’t that warm and the steak and beer slipped down a treat, although by 11pm I was so tired I was actually slipping down the chair myself!

Sunday day drifted by as they do and Sunday night I headed out for a 13 mile run, my legs were feeling a little tired and by mile 6 they were nagging, by mile 8 it was painful and by mile 11 I was stopping every quarter mile to give them some massage and generally swear at them, I would have kicked them in frustration but that would only be a really short term remedy! I dropped two ibuprofen en route but it was too little too late to make any real difference, I cut the run short by a quarter mile and went off into the corner to stretch and sulk. This knee business is really starting to get my goat and despite the cross and core (which I admit slipped a little last week) I am still having knee issues, not ITB, just knee.

Monday was a rest day. I hung out with the boys all day, they're a little under the weather so having some quiet time was a good thing for everyone. My wife was out all day hiking up Mt Baldy, she was ambushed by the snow and was grateful to have worn her boots rather than hiking shoes! She didn’t get back to late, and in the evening I hit the foam roller for a session; pummeling quads, hams, calves and the like into some form of submission and compliance.

Tuesday night I headed out, unusually for me, I managed to get out before it was dark and I had a great 7.5 mile run, at an easy pace, but I focused a lot on listening to my knees; they're very chatty you know. I was concentrating on staying on the right pace and in the right heart rate zone and thinking about my form and footstrike, I am not a heavy heel striker, I think somewhere between heel and forefoot would be a good description, maybe if I have time (yeah right) I'll check out the chi or pose running methods. Of course my knee pain on Sunday could have been caused by just the cycling the day before…maybe? And that brings us up today. My other knee, not Sunday night's one is a little achy, see how annoying is that that they get together and change it up overnight, it's a conspiracy I tell you!

This week I have to mix up the training a bit, I have an organized bike ride on Saturday, I hope this picture was taken from a plane as either way if it is to top on a climb or decent it’s already giving me the heeby-jeebies. I am definitely up for the metric century (62 miles) and may do the 100 mile ride; maybe. So that means I’ll rest on Friday and combine Friday and Saturday’s cross training into one session; see that's nice and tidy.

Like Zanne I am really enjoying my cycling at the moment, it's pain free so there's a bargain for you, although I wouldn't go so far as to say I am being adulterous at the moment, it's more like dating twins!

Ok that’s it for now, catch (in deference to Frayed Laces) y'all later.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

An accidental cross more!

This weeks “Take it and run Thursday” from Runners Lounge is about cross training, no not running about in a state of angriness that’s another post altogether but the oft acknowledged but then completely overlooked art of complimentary training to your running. Now I confess that my history in this field is somewhat accidental, without any real effort I found myself cross training and now with hindsight I can see the benefits that it brought to my sport.

While I have run on and off for years I have also been a frequent cyclist, either on the road or on the trails, in fact for four years or so my mountain bike and I traveled many of the trails in the Santa Monica mountains that I now find my self running. In between cycling I would run and so without any real conscious effort on my part I was cross training. Looking back, apart from the injuries caused by impact; head on rock, knee on bush, hands on trail and the like; I was actually “injury” free for that whole period of time. Last year when I was down with ITB issues my PT was happy for me to jump on my bike and put in the miles of course as I came out of the injury pipeline into recovery biking fell by the wayside and running took the main stage again and like a dolt I forgot a lot of the important lessons that I had learned. Well if the definition of an idiot is someone who is doomed to repeat their mistakes over and over then that was me as I went down in March with ITB problems…again. This time I was able to manage the problem and stop it in its tracks allowing me to complete my 'A' race for the spring but it was a close call.

Now there are not too many training programs that take you to 50 miles and beyond as a runner and so when I found myself constructing mine for my fall 'A' race I made sure to include a large proportion of miles dedicated to cross training, in my instance cycling and core body workouts which addresses not only the core but many of the joints and stabilizing muscles, I actually have a ratio of around 1:1.3 run miles to bike miles for the plan and I work on my core 6 days a week

For me there are two benefits; mental and physical. Mentally; if you do enough of one thing you’ll get bored, a little variation keeps the blade sharp and interest level high, additionally the range on a bike is so much more than running; at least for now. Physically; the benefit to me in cycling is the balance it provides in developing the muscle groups in my legs. It’s probably incorrect to state that these muscles are running and those are cycling as they are all interconnected and work in conjunction with each other and additionally there are muscles in the core and upper body that are used in both sports but here we are talking about everything below the waist. The reality is that the main muscle groups used when running are your calves, hamstrings and glutes; with the hamstrings doing most of the work. If you think about it the hamstrings, calves and glutes are on the back of your leg, that’s because the motion of running is propelling or pushing. In addition to the above groups when you hop on your bike you start to incorporate the largest muscles in your legs, in fact they are the largest in you body; your quadriceps. The quads come into play when cycling as you are also pulling, they don’t play a role in running until you start running hills, this is when they come into their own, you may have heard people talking about their quads “being mashed” after a long downhill stretch taken at speed, so ignore them at your peril.

Now in addition to the main muscle groups in the legs there are lots of smaller interconnected stabilizing muscles that hold things together (like your hips, knees and ankles) as well as the ligaments and tendons etc that all play an important role and all need to have some attention levied at them; think balance and wobble boards, stretching plyometrics, core strengthening exercises and the like. Check out some of the books in the widget thing in the sidebar. While I profess to be no expert and this is all based on my experience and my second hand knowledge the benefits of cross training are a pretty well accepted standard, just look at the FIRST training program. You may want to know why I choose cycling over swimming which is a great alternative, the answer is simple I have the aquatic characteristics of a large stone!

The message here is run all the time and your will develop all the things that help you run and ignore all the rest. Cycle all the time, ditto. Mixing it up actually benefits you overall training, ignore it and you may end up injured, sidelined and just cross!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

An alternative 10k

Just a mini milestone in my short blogging career, this week I hit the 10,000 hit count on my Frappr map, for those of you who read this in a reader you will have never seen it and for those of you who only read the most recent post at the top of the page likewise, but scroll right to the very bottom and it’s there in all it’s technographic, geographic, technicolor gloriousness, it’s not super accurate as it includes my visits and I am an avid reader of my exploits!

Please feel free to add yourself and tell us where you’re from, you don’t need a picture but it’s more fun if you do. Oh and of course your can always add one to your blog!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Samson night!

I am sure you may well be familiar with the tale of Samson and Delilah, where Samson’s strength is lost after Delilah’s servant cuts away his seven locks of hair. Well my day was somewhat the reverse, no Delilah or servant of hers but there was a haircut and strength gain. So yes I got my haircut, no real biggie there. This evening I was scheduled for an 8 miler, it was significantly cooler when I headed out just after 8pm. A chirp from my Forerunner and I was off, eight miles later and 1:02:45, a new training PR, I was done! Complete with the prerequisite negative splits, it went something like this: 7:35, 8:04, 8:13, 8:02, 7:44, 7:50, 7:47 & 7:21. Not super fast compared to others but it’s been quite a while since I threw down such a run and I was just happy enough to have it in the bag; hence the post’s title.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home, home on the range!

I got back into LA yesterday, a ten and half hours flight, luckily the plane was a little empty so I had an empty seat next to me.

Weather here is somewhat warmer than when I left, it maxed at 107F yesterday and was 84F at 9pm at night; it’s supposed to cool down as the week goes by, fingers crossed. It was great to see my wife and the boys, five days is not long but it’s long enough.

I uploaded all my Garmin data and updated my training logs etc. Last week was not a total write off, I plugged in 25 miles running but no cross training other than dragging two suitcases around with me. My diet was ok and I managed to not go crazy on home treats although my Mum did bake an awesome cake, she’s a wicked good cook and the occasional Jammie Dogder was consumed!

I did manage a 10 miler on Saturday and had no trouble from the ITB, I am hesitant to say it’s behind me and I want to maintain the good habits I have developed. I have to mix things up this week (rest days/training days) to work around the traveling but it should balance out at the end. I also retired a pair Asics Kayano 13s (368 miles) fondly known as "Pair 1" and will introduce a new pair of Kayano 14s that have been calling me from my wardrobe and will be known as "Kayano blue".

Looking at the MotionBased data just made me laugh, for some reason it’s not recognizing London and has, rather appropriately, called it “Cubitt Town”! And so I present to you SLB running in circles!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Have Passport will run!

After a cross country flight and a plane change in Dulles I touched down at Heathrow, a quick train ride into and across London and I am at my friend’s house. They live in Blackheath, a beautiful part of a London which enjoys being adjacent to both Blackheath’s heath, where they start the Flora London Marathon, and to Greenwich Park.

Greenwich Park is the home of the Prime Median Line and of course “Greenwich Mean Time; GMT” and is steeped in history, Henry the VIII (1491) was born here as was Elizabeth I (1533) and it is the home of the Royal Observatory designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The park is the oldest enclosed Royal Park dating back to the early 1600’s.

After a cup of tea; quintessentially English! I don my running kit and head out. Greenwich Park is in full bloom, the sun is out, it’s a little hazy and a little humid but it’s great running weather. The park is built on the side of a hill and slopes down towards the Thames there are great views from the patio of the Royal Observatory across the London skyline which is a real mix of old; The National Maritime Museum dating the 17th Century to Canary Wharf dating back to 1988.

An hour later and seven miles of meandering and photo taking (follow this link for the photos) I had managed a haphazard lap of both the Park and Blackheath, had been down to see the restoration of the Cutty Sark and along the Thames Path. There really is no city like London. Tomorrow I head off to my home county, known as the garden of England; Kent so we’ll see what’s out there?

Oh yes and as for yesterday's cross training, well dragging my cases half a mile uphill was what I will imaginatively qualified for that!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Feet to the fire!

Seven days into a 57 day program and I am off schedule, not by much but by some; a classic example of life getting in the way. The cycle started with a rest day, that I accomplished without any trouble, it was followed by a bike/run on alternative days for the rest of the week, I was pushed off schedule by my bike being the shop, this was overcome by shuffling days around; no problem.

Saturday I was due to put in 11 miles but ran out of time and only managed 7.5. This gave me a total run mileage of 21.09 against a target of 25 and a total bike mileage of 65.43 against a target of 50, a 2:1 bike/run ratio so I was happy with the ratio. I have been keeping up the CPE program and the exercises are becoming easier and my form is improving.

My century ride from Sunday was deferred by two weeks.

This week I am overseas, six days away, two of which are spent on a plane, all for a job interview! The photo is from the plane flying over the San Gabriel's range and looking out over the Mojave Desert from about 32,000'.

The upside is I get to see my family for the first time in ten months. Monday was scheduled as rest and I intended to switch that with Tuesday, that didn’t work so I am off by a day and I didn’t pack my bike, don’t laugh it did cross my mind, so I’ll have to come up with some alternative form of cross training. So my feet are warm but they're not quite as hot as I had hoped. The good news is that there I have no niggles from my ITB, although it was only kicking in at around 10 miles at a decent pace, I have a 10 scheduled for Saturday so we’ll see what happens then.

I am traveling around a bit during my trip; four nights, three different stops so I will be able to run in some pretty interesting places and hopefully get some good photos.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Have you ever had one of those days?

Mothers Day came a day early in our house, my wife had planned a hike with her Mt Whitney partner and headed out yesterday at 7am returning dusty and happy around three in the afternoon. So this morning I picked up the reins and headed out, not before fulfilling my MD duties and providing breakfast for everyone and having a quick tidy up, you know how Sunday mornings are!

I was looking forward to getting out on the roads and giving the new wheels a road test. The ride started in the fashion that it was to continue in, at least the first half did, hence the post title; my back light fell off! After I had picked up the pieces, reassembled it and put it back on I started off again. Four miles later I realized I had left my water bottles behind! I stopped at a gas station and picked up a couple of bottles of water. I was only planning a short ride; my legs were feeling heavy from the week so I decided to do a usual 40 mile loop that is a good benchmark on time/fitness. I’ve ridden this ride quite a few times, it’s a nice combination of some rolling hillwork, a good flat section and then a solid climb through a canyon, my best time is 3:08 so I was hoping to shave a few minutes off and finish it around the three hour mark.

The cloud was low and moody and the sky looked like it was a pile of wet washing, I pulled out my camera to take some pictures on the go and managed one photo (see above) before the batteries went flat. Despite all these minor irritations I was making good timing and the new wheels and crankset seemed to allow me to up the ante by 2-3 mph and instead of cruising in the high teens I found myself rolling along in the early twenties. I notched off the first 16 miles in around an hour, not bad for an elevation gain of 1845’.

The ride is basically a square with a tail and I was on the third side which follows the Pacific Coast Highway, despite the traffic this can be a fairly flat and fast section and I hoped to make up some time, I rode past Malibu Lagoon and that was where trouble struck; roadworks, not just digging up the road but resurfacing it and I found myself in the middle of the process, where they have roughly removed to top layer and had scored it with so many grooves and pits that my eyes were nearly shaken out of my head! My speed bled away and I found myself tooling along at 10 mph, hmm, the worst mile in this section took over six minutes! Finally after several boneshaking miles I was back on the old blacktop and I pushed through the few remaining miles watching a pod of dolphins swimming south parallel to the shoreline, before making the penultimate turn into the climbing side of the square; Topanga Canyon. This climb is familiar to me and I wondered if the increased range on my cassette 12-27 versus my old 12-25 would make any difference. I cleared the heaviest of the climb 1459’ in four miles in just over 23 minutes, which shaved a few minutes of past rides; the extra range seemed to help as I could just sit still and push up the hill in a steady effort (my HR averaged around 140 for the total 10 miles of climbing), and then cruised through the rest of the canyon, another 1300’ making it to top by 2:26 for a total of 33.5 miles. I span down the backside and pushed hard to get home within the three hour mark making it to my driveway in 2:55:35, for a total elevation gain of 6207’ and 3412 calories; that should help with the 8 or so pounds I want to loose!

So despite a rough start it all came good, the new bike parts performed flawlessly and I know that had I not had the rocky road middle section I would have been even faster, but hey I have to save something for later.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A little something for the weekend!

I picked up my bike yesterday after it had undergone major surgery. Old, oily and worn bits were cut away and discarded and new, shiny and smooth ones installed in their place. In addition to the new wheels a new crankset, chain and cassette were fitted, my old pedals; Speedplay X5s were refitted and the result is what you see in the photo; bike porn! I took him for a spin, well as much of a spin as you can on a trainer last night and there was never a mistimed gear change and the chain purred like a content cat having his tummy rubbed. I was scheduled to ride a century this week but there is a household activity conflict; my wife has a training hike for her Mt Whitney climb next month, I wanted to go cycling and that left...errr no one to look after the little ones. A quick whiz around the internet and I had found another ride in a couple of weeks, which actually looks a better one, problem solved!

Talking about the weekend, as I am sure everyone, read guys, knows this weekend is Mother’s day (in the US), do yourself a favor and don’t forget it, get out there and get a little something for your mother and the mother of your children, for the weekend; you know it’s worth it!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

The after picture...

What a difference a month makes, this is the “after" photo taken 5 weeks after this one. Fire season is nearly upon us in Southern California and there has already been one fire in the Sierra Madre region, that’s not really local to us, it’s about 30 or so miles away but it affected Mt Wilson. All evacuation orders were lifted on April 30th and full containment was completed the weekend of May 3rd/4th. As of April 30th the fire had destroyed 584 acres (to put that into perspective an acre is about the size of a football field) of which 238 acres were on National Forest land, and the remaining 346 acres belonging to the City of Sierra Madre. This centre of the fire was around mile 75 on the AC100.

Residents who live near to open land, like we do, are required to cut back all the undergrowth for 30-50 yards around the perimeter of the property, hefty fines are levied by the city for lack of compliance, hence this is now the view from the back yard. Nearly all of the spring flowers are now turned into dry grasses and after such a mild winter, the high Sierra snowpack is only 67% of average, and with little or no rain since February it looks like it is going to be a long hot summer.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Review: Salomon XT Wings

I took my new Salomon XT Wings for a spin on the local trails at the weekend and I have to say that I am impressed. When they first arrived I eagerly tried them on and felt them slip on my right heel, so I boxed them up and was ready to ship them back, it then dawned on me that I should try them with my running socks, so I spent the next 4 days wearing them about the house and doing all the usual things, I am fortunate enough that I virtually live in running shoes, the downside is that as soon as something new is on my feet it feels a bit odd. The retailer provided a 90 day money back warranty and suggested that I went for a run etc in them so I did.

Saturday I headed to the local trails, they’re not technical and vary between a dirt road and a what I would call double track, wide enough for two people, the terrain is a little hilly, more rolling actually and the surface is quite varied including; sand, rock, dirt and gravel road, being that this is Southern California mud is always a push, if you really want to see what I was running over have a look at this.

The first thing you’ll notice about the shoe is the asymmetrical lacing, it starts on one side rather than in the middle, this is designed in conjunction with the Kevlar laces to get an optimum fit and provide support throughout the shoe by way of the rather snazzy lightening strips, the laces are the pull type which when tight you tuck the toggle and excess cord under a flap on the tongue which is half sewn in. It’s a rather neat feature which, once gotten used to, works very well, and the snugness of the lacing system can be felt as it envelops your foot. The downside of the laces is that it will be tricky to hook gaiters to them; a simple 5c D ring sewn on would be really useful here. Moving down the shoe there is a toe guard which adds some protection against sharp or blunt things you might encounter on the trail, a lizard with a switchblade or a bag of nickels waiting to mug you for your shoes for example. Further down there is a rubber “mud guard” which is higher then the sole and creeps up the upper, as mentioned earlier I am not expecting to have to test this mud feature anytime soon. Talking of uppers, they are fabric and seem pretty breathable; I am not someone who is prone to hot feet, well only on the dance floor! But conversely they seem to let a lot of dust in; of course this could be residual dust from my washed socks but probably not, so be prepared for dusty toes. They come in a couple of colors, I choose the orange (called XGames orange?) due to my shy and retiring personality, there is also a more subdued Black/Silver version.

The inside the shoe is accommodating; the toe box is wide enough for me, and compares well to the Asics mentioned above or Kayanos which are my road shoe. I went a half size up compared to normal shoes.

And so to where the rubber meets to road, literally. The shoe is designed to address pronation, there is some discussion I have read that running trails, where the surface and terrain can change ever few steps that a shoe with a pronation device, here a triple density sole, is redundant, but my chiropodist, who I have paid a large sum of money to for my orthotics would disagree and he spent a lot longer in school that I did! Anyway the triple density sole does make for a comfortable ride. There is no strike plate within the sole but the level of cushioning may be enough to overcome that...that's not an experiment I signed up for! There is a lot of information about how the design of the Agile Chassis System (ACS) integrates three components to increase runner efficiency: the skeleton, muscle and tendon, I am not going to get into that here though. Torsional rigidity (can I sound more technical?) is high, WT? you say, well it's how much to shoe will twist, this is more important on the trail where you are more likely to misplant your foot and roll you ankle. Finally the outsole is reasonably flexible and responsive, that is you don’t feel like you’re running in hiking boots. The weight of the shoe is on the high end in general at 14oz (size 11 and my measurement) but this is only 2oz more than Asics 2120 Trail shoes but the Wings feel a much more substantial shoe, of course they are new and my Asics have over 300 hard miles on them.

Now to the test run, initially they felt a little loose but as my feet warmed up they became snug and supportive, over the mixed terrain/surface they were very grippy, (this is a technical term) and I had no incidents of slipping on either the ups or the downs. On the flat the cushioning was really noticeable and there was plenty of spring in them. They felt a little heavy but I think that was me thinking about them more than the weight of the shoe. As mentioned the upper let in some dust, this on the face of it is no biggy but it could lead to blisters over a longer distance, this run was just less than six miles.

It was the first run since Leona Divide, I wasn’t running fast and was just out there enjoying myself, it's been a while since I was "out the back", the trailhead is a half mile from my house, see here for where town meets county, and it was glorious day in the early 70's. I did manage to take some video, which meant I ran up and down the same section of trail several times much to the amusement of some hikers, and some photos using the gorilla tripod, unfortunately my video editing software won’t let me upload it so the rather nifty “film”, used in the loosest sense of the word, remains locked in the vault until I can figure it out and at face value life is too short! I did manage to get a couple of decent photos though, yeah call me vain but who doesn't want some decent pictures of themself!

So overall early days but compared to all the other shoes that I have tried; Brooks Cascade; too flat, Merrell Overdrive I; uncomfortable outsole, Merrell Overdrive II tight toebox, Vasque Velocity; too stiff, Montrail Hardrock; too stiff and too narrow, Asics 2130 Trail; tight toebox and a few others whose name escapes me, these are a comfortable fit and ride. Let me put a hundred miles on them or so and I’ll give you an update. Oh yes one last thing; they’re $120 a pair so I am wide open to some blogger love!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Boss it's de plan, de plan!

Well it’s a catchy title!

So after much deliberation this is the fruit of my labor. Despite trying my best to apply the basic principle of KISS (Keep it simple SLB!) I find myself having to triple guess my target race, I am deliberating between the two main races; Mt Disappointment and the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run the decision point is the 8 week mark. I also have been served a fastball (marked as CCC, more on that later) which may throw the schedule off so I have had to include that as a possibility; ironically it falls at the optimum training point.

In designing the program I wanted to incorporate a large amount of cycling and therefore it rotates on a bi-weekly (every two weeks) between back to back long run weekends and long run/long ride weekends, I included the cycling as a balance to the running as they work different muscle groups, there is a mileage ratio of 1:1 on back to back long run weeks and 2:1 on long run/long ride weeks. Each day also incorporates a Core Performance workout which addresses, Power, Strength and Regeneration. It’s slightly off kilter from the get-go as I have a potential century ride on the first weekend, at this stage I am not sure if I will do the metric century (62 miles) or the miles one and I am overseas from the 11th for a week, but hey that's life!

Tomorrow I hit the local trails in the XT Wings, I have been wearing them around the house for the last week and so far so good, I'll post a review over the weekend.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Prep week

I studied up on Mark Vestegen’s Core Performance Endurance last week and this week I have been going through the exercises in a dry run before starting training proper next week. The foundation of the program broken down into three elements; Power, Strength and Regeneration. Power days comprise three exercise; Movement Prep (think stretching) Prehab (think core workout) and Elasticity (think pylometrics) units along with Energy System Development (ESD, basically intervals dictated by heart rate zones). Strength days consist of Movement Prep which focuses on developing mobility and stability and ESD which builds cardio strength. The last element is Regeneration which is about active recovery and involves stretching and foam rollering and also has part specific areas; knees, hips, back etc.

I will be the first to admit the program is pretty confusing to start with and to be honest this is probably why I picked it up the book last year and put it back down again. This time I persevered and this week I have gone through the “floor exercises” and avoided the ESD, just to get a feel for them and figure out what is what. The nice thing is that they while they are prescribed you can push them to own limits, and already there are some things that I can do better than others; I can hold a Pillar Bridge Front for 2 x 1 minute, but struggle to hold a Lateral Pillar Bridge for 2 x 30 seconds. Some of the stretches I am familiar with and some of them are new along with the self massaging techniques both of which take a little time and effort to get correct. The nice thing is that there is a website where you can register and get a weeks free trial and have access to a library of videos showing you how to execute the move. I am still in the process of pulling together the training plan in terms of mileages etc and will have that complete in the next day or so. I need to incorporate 30 minutes of this Core Program into my total workout time per day, this already gives me 3 plus hours worth of training before I even put on my running shoes or get on my bike. The idea here is that I will work through the first 8 weeks and see how I feel before deciding on which race; Mt Disappointment or the Sierra Nevada Endurance Run.

On the shoe front, I might have made a breakthrough and have been walking about this week in a pair of Salomon XT Wings, (in sexy sorbet sherbet orange, that's my marketing genius at work!) and while they initially felt a little loose and the Kevlar lacing took some time to get used to, they seem to bedding in quite nicely. I’ll be taking them for a trail spin this weekend, failing that I did manage to score a pair of Montrail Continental Divides off the 'net for $40.00, that's a 65% discount, so fingers crossed that one of these will work; I really would like to get this shoe thing sorted out.