Make it bounce

Sample size of 1.

I’ve been running in Altras for the past … 3 years? A mix of Torin’s and Lone Peak’s for road to trail. The latest Torin (3.5) had some nice updates. The mesh is nice and cool when it’s hot. The sole no longer extends beyond the upper so it looks less like a duck foot. After a 12 mile run 2 weeks ago, they started to just feel kind of flat. I was tired and my form wasn’t the best, but even running on asphalt, they just felt really firm.

So I started to think about something with a bigger stack height, something softer for long training runs on dirt/gravel/concrete/asphalt … which means moving away from Altra zero drop. I moved from New Balance to Brooks Pure Flow’s maybe 8 years ago and destroyed my calves and achilles. I think it’s common when moving to a zero drop shoe. It took an entire season to recover from the Plantar Fasciitis I had back then – mostly I just ran through it and iced and stretched it. I was sleeping in a boot on my right foot. It sucked.

Once I had the foot strength built up for run in zero drops I never went back. Using a custom orthotic in a zero drop shoe I would guess I’m getting maybe 3-4mm toe/heel drop. It’s been working for me – with the exception of the recent hard landings in the Torin 3.5. I always just thought I was sore from the running. That my quads and hips were just sore from the effort.

I picked up a pair of Hoka Clifton 5’s to throw into the rotation and see if they would work for longer mixed surface runs. Not saying I’m a fan boy yet – but I’m no longer sore when I wake up in the morning. I did a long 9 mile road/trail on Friday and didn’t feel any residual soreness on Saturday. I took Saturday off and then did a medium/hard (downhill) run on Sunday. I was running downhill fast (around 6:00 pace). And I was thinking my quads were going to be shredded running that hard – but Monday morning – nothing. It’s the Hoka cushioning (I think). I could be just adapting to the increase in mileage, but I really think I’m getting a softer landing.

I’m considering a Hoka for trails, but one thing I love about the Lone Peaks is the ground feel. I’m not sure I want to be that high off the ground.

Suuuuuurge!!!

Some strides for speed today. It was kind of a tempo run to strides to cool down. The biggest issue for me this training cycle as I start to increase load is to not get injured…so sleep, lots of calories, lots of stretching and foam rolling.

It would be fun to burn down a 10K at race pace… soon. The intensity definitely fires me up though. I actually like that burning lactic acid. Based on past 5K’s at race pace my lactic threshold is around 6:20-6:30. I’m going to see how true that is soon and see what I can do to push that down.

Week 1 in Review

This is the first week of real training. I’ve been fluctuating right around 20 miles consistently (with an exception of 2 weeks in February when I was sick) for the past …. 3 years? ( I just looked at my Strava training log and it’s pretty consistent with the exception of work or vacation travel interruptions).

Because I commute to work by bike, all my rest days will be ‘active rest’ days. I think that’ll be fine until my mileage increases – it’s nice to stretch out my legs when I’m coasting downhill and spin the junk out of my legs after a hard running effort.

A few thoughts for the coming weeks.

  • My orthotics both cracked and need to be replaced.
  • I’m not sure the Torin 3.5’s are great for runs longer than 10 miles. Yesterday they felt flat when I started to get tired. I have been running road/trail in Altra Lone Peaks – which seems odd to run on the road with them, but the lugs are soft enough to provide a nice cushion – I think they’re softer than the Torin’s as a result. I’m on the search for a softer high mileage training shoe.
  • The bottom’s of my knees were just slightly sore after yesterday’s long run (12.5). I was on concrete/asphalt/trail.
  • I had a good recovery window right after the long run and hydrated/ate/stretched right away and kept stretching in the hours post-run. Today (Monday) – I’m not sore and feel pretty loose.
  • I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to fit a day of lifting into the schedule
  • I’m really really really itching to go climbing.

Motivated

Kind feeling like it’s back. I’m starting my first training block for a July marathon and the embers are starting to smolder a bit. I had a really good tempo run early in the week – clipping along around a 7:15/7:20 pace on the flats.

I’m zeroing in on my lactate threshold pace. Based on a fast 5K, I think it’s in the neighborhood of 6:30/6:40. I’ll see how much I can push that in the coming weeks.

I really feeling like I’ve been in maintenance mode for the last couple of years (I know!!!). I’m ready to bring the hurt though. Embrace the suck.

The only downside is that my mileage plan may conflict with my spring climbing schedule. It’ll be a challenge to balance the 2. I’ll be keeping track of training progression over the next few months. Buckle up.

Thinking and running

Good article on philosophy of mind and performance:

There is some material from Ericsson and Pool’s book, Peak A really good read on the same topic.

I had a great trail run yesterday. I was time-boxed between 2 appointments… which always puts some pressure on start and end times and pushes me to run harder. After reading the above article I realized how much I think when I’m running. I’m constantly repeating in my head: keep my hips under me, arms still, upper body still… or on a long climb: lean my head forward slightly to move some weight forward, swing my arms to keep forward momentum.

It’s funny because when I was descending a particular rocky section of trail I briefly considered if I should just let go and propel down without considering my foot placements (I don’t want to roll an ankle). It turned into a wager of the statistical likelihood of a mistep on a rock and and ankle roll vs. moving a bit more cautiously (slower) and mitigating the risk. Maybe if the stakes were higher – in a race for example. But not worth it on a training run.

PASTA PRIMAVERA!!!

Spring Break hi jinks on the PCT. I tried to convince them to bring their skis and find a hill we could lap, but they weren’t having it.

We snowshoed out from Barlow Pass and then set up a basecamp. They’ve been stoked to go winter camping and I wanted to do a trial run to see what they thought. They loved it.

We cut benches in the side of the shelter and kept a nice countertop for cooking. Then we cleared out a little more space and had a dance party.

This tent is palatial. A little bit tricky setting it up, but easy enough with someone holding the center pole and another person staking.