Friday, April 11, 2014

A new training plan'd think at this point in my life after running for 39 years (next week is the anniversary) that I would have my training down pat. But as many will find out, you have to change things as you age or will be left sitting on the sofa with tired, over-abused legs.

The past 10 years or so I've been following a mostly Maffetone training protocol that has you run at a low HR for the majority of your running. This keeps your legs and body fresh for continued training, but in order for his system to work, you need to do lots of volume. As I've been learning how to adapt to my aging body (I'm 62 with a lot of miles on me), I have found I need more recovery than training. In comes Scott Jurek's book "Eat and Run". His proclaimed recovery on the vegan diet got me to switch over to this type of eating not quite 2 years ago and I have to say I feel better than ever, but it still wasn't enough. My daily hour and multiple hours on the weekends that I've been doing for years was leaving me flat and tired all the time.

So I got into a discussion with someone I met online who had already gone through this and found a way to make training work. I found Rich through this article and more recently this one and it opened my eyes. We seniors absolutely need to inject more rest days or we're heading for disaster. It's not injury I'm worried about, but total body fatigue as the recovery times need to be increased.

Enter in every other day training...I have been dabbling in this off and on the past year with some success, but I kept making the same mistakes. As soon as I got recovered from the long runs, I'd go back to my old ways because I was now "fixed". Add to this the infection and cipro I talked about in my last post and more disaster, trying to run a road marathon in El Paso and a trail marathon in Salida within 3 weeks of each other last month didn't help either, especially while trying to recover from these while running the final miles in Salida, I decided to take the plunge and run only every other day. I will have to say that after 2 weeks of this, I'm enjoying my running better and the pace is starting to drop a bit. Not long ago my average running pace was in the mid 12's, it's now in the mid 10's and I expect it will drop further, but not as dramatically. I need to have patience through the process.
I still wear the HRM, but run by feel and collect the data afterwards for my log.

Here I will mention that I have 2 goals this year....a sub 20 minute 5K and a sub 3:30 marathon. These times are what the age grades say I "should" be able to run based on my PB's of 16:32 and 2:48 when in my early 30's. I have confidence that as I continue to improve on this training and move into the race pace phase, I'll reach or get close to those goals. The 5K has to come first in order to have the leg speed to run a marathon in a sub 8mpm pace. First I need to recover from my next event and I'll begin this journey.

Typical Zane Grey 50 trail
(in usual 90 degree heat with no shade)

The next event is the Zane Grey 50 miler in 2 weeks from tomorrow. We've been getting some good long runs with the road long runs up to 20 miles leading to El Paso through the Winter and the more recent long trail runs. Last weekend Deb and I ran 26 miles of the Jemez 50K route and I finished the run by running the last 7 miles at a solid pace (mostly downhill, but rocky and/or sandy). I needed 2 days off from that run this week, but I felt great on my 6.5 miler on Tuesday, feeling quite recovered from the long run.
Zane Grey isn't something that will help me with my goals mentioned above, but we entered last year and would like to get this one done after both DNF'ing in 2007. Zane Grey claims to be the toughest 50 miler in the country, but I'm not sure that's still true...but it's going to beat us up. I'm not planning on racing it, Deb and I are going to enjoy the day together and help each other in low spots. I'm looking forward to the journey!

Looking down from Kroger's Canteen, AKA Virginius Pass, 13,000+'
Where we announced our engagement in 2001 and could be where we sleep the first night this year while hiking the course

On another note, my friend Mark Heaphy and I agreed that I will be pacing him on his 16th journey and finish at the Hardrock 100. Mark and I spent most of the run together last year where I ended up finishing just in front of him because he and his wife Margaret stopped in the road before the finish to talk to someone. I didn't even know I went by them and would have pushed them along, if I had known it was them. We became separated when I stopped to take a 20 minute nap at the KT aid station, about 12 miles from the finish...but the nap refreshed me so much that I caught them and several others.
So I'm glad to have my Hardrock plans coming together. Deb and I are planning on hiking the whole course the weekend before the race. We'll take our time and do this in 3-4 days, either sleeping under the stars or staying at a hostel or motel in Ouray and at a friends in Lake City. The first night should be between Telluride and Ouray and we'll camp up high to watch the fireworks as that will be the 4th of July.

We are planning on doing a lot of hiking in Colorado this Summer, rather than run races as it may be our last Summer in the beautiful Rocky Mountains.

So that's it for now, time to get working on our house. One more bathroom to replace and we're almost done!
Steve and Deb


  1. Yea, I'm glad I'll be seeing you both at Hardrock! I'll be there the Saturday before...

    1. Shelby, come join us on part of our hike on the course!

  2. Nice write up Steve. You and Deb are tough.

    1. Thanks, Patty....we might have been once, but that is going away with age ;-)

  3. Thanks. Something I may need to consider. Planning my 1st 100 in December.

    1. Depending on your age, you should run as much as your body allows for a 100...even if it's lots of hiking, it'll callous you for the event.

  4. Read the latest article first and actually said there that I am running now only 2-3 times a week. I do go to the gym on other days, where I weight-train 30 min and Stairmaster another 30 min. So, kind of similar approach? (I need to read the links you posted to that guy's articles). Glad you get your HR fix. Hope we get to meet for some hike sometime in years ahead!