28 January 2014

School is Back - Summer Training Block Review

Count:55 Activities
Distance:637.14 km
Time:56:58:50 h:m:s
Elevation Gain:13,486 m
Calories:42,862 C
Avg Speed:11.2 km/h
Avg HR:144 bpm
Avg Distance:11.58 km
Avg Time:1:02:10 h:m:s
Avg Elevation Gain:254 m
I went into the Summer holidays freshly cleared to return to training, all be it a gradual return to trail, but I could follow my normal program so to speak.  I had to be mindful of technical trail and monitor my ankle and how it responded to an increased training load.
I went into the period not trying to catch up on lost ground, I was still in position to build for April/May I just had to sacrifice a few races due to my lack of conditioning.  So the focus was to be on endurance, building my strength and development of technique. I was going to include lots of doubles as this would allow me to ease back into training and to focus on the family as well.
Another lap down
Training was good, I had only a few bad sessions and my last couple of weeks were good quality, I was happy with my legs progress and I was starting to run a little quicker, not super fast but there was noticeable improvement.  I have really been focusing on my pace control and the 2 races I contested were purely about finding a comfortable pace and holding it.  
The STS was a good test and I stayed at it throughout the race, sitting just below threshold finishing off well and sneaking onto the podium. This course was certainly a challenge and went a long way to building my confidence on technical trail at pace, particularly on descents.  All in all it was a positive trip to Manly and a race I took a bit out of to put into my training.
Sitting in behind Az (2nd overall) early days
About 3hrs in the middle was my best period
The hard rocky ground required loads
of concentration
Knapsack was a whole new beast, a 5k loop for 6 hours, in what could have been a stinking hot day.  It wasn't hot, rather cool, but still muggy, the loop however was the same and I was aiming to run for the 6 hours.  I started ok, slower than the front runners and after 3 or 4 laps found myself in a comfy spot just ticking over the laps at around 27min a pop.  I had to stop too much, my socks were causing a hot spot, refilling my bottle, etc. I took way too much advantage of the transition area and after a toilet stop on lap 7 I think I had given 10min already.  Laps 8 and 9 were solid but from 45km it became a challenge, Laps 10,11 and 12 slowed somewhat and I was happy to finish the 6hrs completely oblivious to the race that was unfolding around me.  I knew Matty had pulled and Marcus dropped at 3hrs but I seriously had no idea of where I was placed, I had been passed by Az (2nd overall) but didn't see anyone else other than the odd 6S on the back of runners legs.  I was treating this as a long run and really I probably should had got a 13th lap in but I just couldn't shake it along to get there before the 6hrs were up.  In the end I ran 12 laps (13 for NSWIB's total) and came 4th male, with all my stopping I figured I probably gave up between 10-15min and learnt a fair bit about lap racing and not taking advantage of having a cool drink and chance to stop every lap.

Kel had teamed up with Andrew and Alix, to form AKA in the 6hrs Teams event.  Coming back from injury it was the best plan to ease a longer day of k's into her legs.  All up they totalled 12 laps and beat me by a few minutes, coming in 3rd team overall.  Kel ran 4 laps with a even spread of times and will take confidence and fitness from the run.  All is now progressing for her to run well at 6 Foot and perform strongly in Buffalo and TNF50, hopefully her injury woes are in the past now.
Sky Camp was awesome, I wrote a blog on my experience at Bright earlier in the year.  But just quickly I learnt so much that is being incorporated into my training in the lead up to this event, the Buffalo Stampede Ultra. Hopefully we are able to get back down there in February with a bit of luck to run the course again.
So there it is, a pretty solid little period with a few good results and some valuable sessions offering much in terms of feedback and progress. The next few weeks will be high km weeks with an introduction of a sub-treshold run and weekly interval session building towards the high end sharpening required in the lead up to Buffalo and TNF100.  6 Foot will be a big race but my best time won't be achieved, I haven't been able to knock out enough 30km runs at a good pace and have not done the work on my anaerobic fitness that is required. I will be happy with a PB and am aiming for a sub 4hr time getting as close to 3:50 as possible. 

Photo Credit - Jo Brischetto, Darren MeClennan & Stefica Key

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