Category Archives: Training

5 Ways to Adapt Your Nutrition for Fall Training (Guest Blog – SaltStick)

Hi readers!  From time to time I’ve let somebody else write on my blog for a few reasons:  They know more than I do, it might be helpful to other runners, and/or I really believe in & use their product for my own training.  Today’s guest blogger is all three – a nutritional support of mine SaltStick.  I’ve used them for years before they started supporting my training/racing and really like how balanced  their products are – no gut-rot or headaches!  I hope you take something away for your own running!

–Adam

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Regular readers of Adam’s blog will know he recently completed a stunning feat of endurance by running the Four Pass Loop around the Maroon Bells formation in Aspen, Colorado. Four passes over 12,000 feet (one of them in pouring rain) is a great achievement, and we have been thrilled to play a small part in Adam’s journey by providing SaltStick Caps to help keep him hydrated.

If any of you have been inspired by Adam to take on a fall running challenge, it will help to know the basic ways your nutritional needs will change in the cooler, dryer weather. To help out, this blog post provides five ways to adapt your nutrition for fall training. Continue reading 5 Ways to Adapt Your Nutrition for Fall Training (Guest Blog – SaltStick)

18 months later …

So … I haven’t really blogged, or run the Western States Trail, in ~18 months.  First off, my race report was waaayyyy too long and I thought I’d let “it” (running, blogging, pictures, etc) just breathe for a long while.  There have been other reasons for time away.  Good reasons.   I knew heading into the epic and thrilling run at WS100 in 2014 that my life would be changing in more ways than one.
Continue reading 18 months later …

Western States Training Weekend

Quick training update with what turned out to be a beautiful and fruitful weekend of training on Memorial Day Weekend on the Western States Trail.  As one of the few flatlanders entered in the race with over 18,000 ft of vertical ascent and over 22,000 ft of vertical descent this was a great opportunity to see what I’m actually getting into with five weeks of training left. Continue reading Western States Training Weekend

Photo Friday: Double Stroller

A #run I wont soon forget … we saw deer, sang songs, and cheered a fast train barrel down the tracks above us.

A post shared by Adam Condit (@adamcondit) on

I often find myself daydreaming and thinking about my future runs in the mountains – primarily Western States in June – while I’m on “regular” daily morning runs back home.  Earlier this week I had a run with my boys I won’t soon forget.  One I know I’ll be daydreaming and thinking about – even longing for – while I’m in the mountains in June. Continue reading Photo Friday: Double Stroller

Gear (and Race) Review: SaltStick / Simple Hydration at Ice Age 50mi

A great time was had this past weekend at one of the most competitive 50 mile trail races in the nation.  Despite some warming temperatures an incredible 26-year-old course record was broken by 12 minutes by Max King enroute to an unworldly 5:41:07 clocking on the sometimes wide, sometimes rolling, but mostly single track technical up-downs of the Kettle Moraine State Forrest. Max’s race report can be found here. Continue reading Gear (and Race) Review: SaltStick / Simple Hydration at Ice Age 50mi

Race Preview: 2014 Ice Age 50mi

Short story: it’s going to be a training run.

Long(er) story: I’ve decided to still run Ice Age 50mi trail run but to do so as a quality easy training run and not race for the podium for the following reasons:

  • Tender right achilles tendon has me cautious although progressing very well the last 10 days – I’m past pain and dealing with scar tissue / mobility at this point.
  • Better and more appropriate training stimulus / zone / gear for my priority in the spring (and all of 2014) being Western States on June 28th.
  • Full gear-check and forthcoming long overdue reviews of Salt Stick and Simple Hydration Bottles.
  • Greater chance of “bounce-back” and quality recovery for more quality training for Western States – most notably Memorial Day Weekend training runs on the WS trail only two weeks post Ice Age.
  • I don’t have to race!  One of the very lucky ones getting my ticket through the WS lottery 5 months ago.

Gear Review: Mio Alpha Heart Rate Watch

I love running and mostly everything that goes with it … especially cool gear.  This particular piece of gear is similar yet distinct to anything I have in my running closet.  I’ve had my fair share of running watches and have probably 3-4 heart rate monitor straps laying around somewhere, but the Mio Alpha is both in one sleek wrist watch for a truly unique and new technology. Continue reading Gear Review: Mio Alpha Heart Rate Watch

Quick Training Update

Especially after the 30miler last Saturday on 3.5 hours of sleep, I’ve been totally drained and worn out to continue normal training. Instead of limping along and still racing Hawkeye 50k in 3 weeks, I’m going to pull the plug now on it, take 5-15 days to get energy & legs back, and get my late-winter rest in before the more important 16-week build up to Western States.   This has been without a doubt the most brutle winter of running I’ve ever trudged through but actually the highest mileage I’ve been at for a while and am encouraged how this should serve a more specific build up towards June 28th.

I’m very much looking forward to being a full-time volunteer at the Hawkeye 25k/50k in a couple weeks as while racing I’ve always been a bit jealous of the volunteers and aid station workers.

Listening to the body … going to pay off in the long run. Hard to do … gotta do it.

Training Cycles Part 5/5: Year Around Training

A successful training program is one that gets you to the start line feeling fit and fresh.  Most endurance athletes may not struggle with getting out the door and doing some hard work, but in fact allowing themselves to rest and recover enough.  We must break up our training in cycles and be as intentional (if not more) about our rest than our hard quality sessions.  Below is part 5 (of a 5 part series) regarding smart training cycles:

  1. Daily Training
  2. Weekly Scheduling
  3. Specific Training Phase
  4. Key Race Build-Up
  5. Year-Around Training

Year Around Training

Building upon the previous four writings (found above) regarding different training cycles, the year-long approach is no different – rest is key.  We must prioritize and then stress & rest the system according to this prioritization.  I personally come from a more traditional track / road racing background in which I aim to be in peak fitness but only about two times per year – once in the spring and once in the fall.  Winter and summer are used as building back base fitness as it’s not optimum racing weather anyways.  Depending on the distance I’m training for, it lends 2 to 3 (mayyyybe 4) high priority races across two main buildups within the year.  Continue reading Training Cycles Part 5/5: Year Around Training

Training Cycles Part 4/5: Key Race Build-Up

A successful training program is one that gets you to the start line feeling fit and fresh.  Most endurance athletes may not struggle with getting out the door and doing some hard work, but in fact allowing themselves to rest and recover enough.  We must break up our training in cycles and be as intentional (if not more) about our rest than our hard quality sessions.  Below is part 4 (of a 5 part series) regarding smart training cycles: Continue reading Training Cycles Part 4/5: Key Race Build-Up

Training Cycles Part 3/5: Specific Training Phase

A successful training program is one that gets you to the start line feeling fit and fresh.  Most endurance athletes may not struggle with getting out the door and doing some hard work, but in fact allowing themselves to rest and recover enough.  We must break up our training in cycles and be as intentional (if not more) about our rest than our hard quality sessions.  Below is part 3 (of a 5 part series) regarding smart training cycles: Continue reading Training Cycles Part 3/5: Specific Training Phase

Training Cycles Part 2/5: Weekly Scheduling

A successful training program is one that gets you to the start line feeling fit and fresh.  Most endurance athletes may not struggle with getting out the door and doing some hard work, but in fact allowing themselves to rest and recover enough.  We must break up our training in cycles and be as intentional (if not more) about our rest than our hard quality sessions.  Below is part 2 (of a 5 part series) regarding smart training cycles: Continue reading Training Cycles Part 2/5: Weekly Scheduling

Training Cycles Part 1/5: Daily Training

A successful training program is one that gets you to the start line feeling fit and fresh.  Most endurance athletes may not struggle with getting out the door and doing some hard work, but in fact allowing themselves to rest and recover enough.  We must break up our training in cycles and be as intentional (if not more) about our rest than our hard quality sessions.  Below is part 1 (of a 5 part series) regarding smart training cycles: Continue reading Training Cycles Part 1/5: Daily Training

Why You NEED Fartlek Running

Fartlek_PosterLast weeks main topic on The RunCast episode #3 was my incorporation of fartlek running in my current ultra training.  I claim that fartlek running is by far the best bang-for-your-buck single workout you can do to improve your fitness.  Farlek running includes many short (or long) intervals followed by active rest (jogging or running slow) before you go into your next “hard” interval.  For those of us that don’t have hours and hours to train everyday, hold a job & family, and can’t tinker around with time-consuming logistics of running the perfect workout with the perfect warmup / cool down on the perfect track / trail and hit the perfect splits that the perfect running calculator told us to hit fartlek running is something that everybody wanting to improve their strength, V02 max, and speed should be accustom to.  Here’s why:

Time

Let’s say you want to run 5x1000m on the track … a classic V02 type of workout perfect for 5k / 10k training.  3mile warmup (20-25min) … 15min to change shoes, stretch, do strides, and start your intervals … ~30-35min of intervals (including equal rest) … 5min to change shoes, walk around, and get going on your cool down of maybe 2 miles (15min?).  This whole track workout took 95 minutes in which you got 5 miles of easy running (warmup / cool down) and 3.1mi (5000m) of intervals in.

Change this to a 12mi run with 6x (3min on, 3min off) in the middle to get more easy and quality miles in less time or an 8mi run with 5x (3min on, 3min off) and you’ll be back easily 30+ minutes earlier.  There is a trade off of course – maybe not getting your stretching / strides in before the intervals, but this is minimized as fartlek running allows you to warm up longer to get your body ready for hard running and I tend to do strides on shorter easy days when I have more time.

Mental Pressure

The #1 reason I LOVE fartlek running is because I don’t have to mentally fret about hitting splits or a certain time.  I am the kind of personality and runner that can push myself very hard running alone and when I’m told to run hard, I run hard … I always know I’m getting exactly what my body needs for that workout by running on feel rather than worrying about hitting a specific split-time.  Some people get really down on themselves when they run workouts or intervals slower than prescribed, but there are so many factors that can leave you feeling extra fresh or extra fatigued going into the workout (sleep, workload, phase/volume of training, etc) … when you’re supposed to run 5k or half marathon EFFORT, you can always be spot on by listening to your body.

Work All Systems

You can tailor different length farlek runs and intervals to work completely different systems in your training.  When approaching a marathon-specific phase, I’ll go out and run something like 6-10x (3min on, 1min off, 1min on, 1min off, 30sec on, 30sec off).  This gives me good turnover but also gets me running quick tempo paces on tired legs with limited rest.  World class marathoner Keith Dowling used to go out for 10-20x (30sec on, 30sec off) during marathon training … do you know how fast this workout goes by?  do you know how quickly you’re sucking wind?  Essentially, fartlek running gets your body used to “changing gears” which is essential in racing any distance – it really is.  Don’t believe me all you 100 mile trail running gurus?  Ever run hill repeats?  Same thing.  How do your legs / lungs feel when climbing the trail and cresting the top plodding 10min pace … better or worse than coasting 6min/mi going down hill?  Different gears, different systems … lactic acid needs to be cleared so teach your body how to clear it easily and more efficiently.  Running hard on effort while tired is essential in building quality mechanics – something that will directly effect your pace no matter what gear you’re in.

I didn’t say fartlek running is the ONLY way to train and should always replace any intervals or hard effort – far from it, but it truly does give an excellent ratio of quality running vs time running and in my book is a lot more fun than grinding on the track.

Quick shameless plug regarding my favorite tried and true GPS watch that DOES have an interval function (perfect for fartleks!) – check out the Garmin Forerunner 210 and this post I wrote about when (and when not) to run with a GPS.

Garmin 210 – Amazon Link

Back in the Saddle Again – Hungry for 2013 Racing

NOTE: scroll down to start or stop mind-blowing cowboy music video

back-in-the-saddleFirst off, if the first thing you did before reading this was shut off the cowboy music, shame on you … it’s glorious.  Moving on, my 2+ weeks off has come and gone. Usually these bi-yearly rest & recovery stints come after a big peak race and includes:

  • Shoveling ice cream & quality beer into my gullet every night
  • Spending $1000’s at Taco Bell
  • Sleeping in
  • All of the above

This spring was different. My whole first week of “rest” was forced due to the worst stomach virus I’ve ever had .  Out of work for a week and living in one of two places – in bed or on the crapper. The worst. After a week of “fun” not eating solids, losing weight, and going “big potty” billions of times over, I knew I wouldn’t arrive at the starting line at Ice Age Trail 50 in a position to run a successful 50 mile trail debut … better a DNS than a DNF with the condition I was in. I took the opportunity to recover from sickness and take an additional following week of rest & relaxation – zero running but this second week included a lot more Taco Bell and ice cream than the week before.

And now … it’s come to pass and I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong, letting things go with an intentional rest / relaxation phase a couple times per year is very very very good for you – physically but especially mentally.  But, now it’s time to get back on the horse, back in the saddle, and get ready for the pain I so dearly love to wake up to.  I’ve tightened up my remaining upcoming summer 2013 schedule to still include a couple of 50 milers on the trails:

  • Pacing duties at Western States 100
  • Dances With Dirt Devil’s Lake 50 mile trail run (rugged for Wisconsin)
  • The North Face Endurance Challenge Wisconsin 50 mile trail run
  • Late Fall – other trail / xc stuff??  Who knows….

TNF will be my peak race 18 weeks out from right now – perfect to build back up and attack! I’m also very proud to announce I’ve employed the experience of an ultra running coach for this build up – Ian Torrence – of McMillan Running Group.  I come to the table with plenty of running knowledge and experience (I love coaching myself in fact!) but am such an ultra newbie and look forward to Ian’s vast ultra knowledge & experience to guide me through race specific workouts and molding the long runs required (super long, back-to-back, fast finish, etc) to be successful and see where it goes for 2013.

Running again feels better each day.  Today’s 12 miler felt better than yesterday’s 8 miler which was better than Monday’s 5 miler.  I love routine and the spring & summer weather fosters my most effective schedule (with kids / family / job / etc) – up early and back from running, drills, strides before 7am (before kids are up).  I even have a “daddy chart” (next to my 3yr old’s potty chart) with goals to be efficient with my time … back by 7am, do the big dishes, shower / dressed in 15min, brush / floss teeth.  Yes, I’m 30 (not 3) years old and I have a chart … keeps me accountable with the little things to be more efficient with my time … gives me more quality time with family.  Anybody snickering at my version of a big-boy-potty-chart can meet me at 5am and see if they can keep up for the next 12-18 miles (earlier & longer on Saturdays)

Besides, if I get enough “checks” I get a sticker … and maybe some Taco Bell?