Let's start at the start. My younger daughter told me a little story that my wife wanted me to 1) build up my arms and 2) grow a mustache. Of course, this was a complete fabrication. I was already working on my upper body so I took this as an excuse to grow a mustache. And I wanted to model my mustache after the great runners of the 70's: Prefontaine, Shorter but especially after the course record holder for Angeles Crest - Jim O'Brien. So this prompted me to Google Jim O'Brien Angeles Crest and read some of the articles. I saw one video on Flotrack where he was talking about meeting Arthur Lydiard in a shoe store and talking to him for 2+ hours. I read about some of Jim's philosophy regrading ultra running as related by Joe Franko in a Larry Gassan article. At this point (late March) I had been stuck in a rut of running 40 to 50 miles on a good week. I'd have a good workout here and there but didn't feel like I really was doing all that my body would allow. So I guess I just started out by trying to run 10 miles a day for a week. That week started out with a run up Harquahala Mountain in western Arizona. I kind of expected to have some days where my legs were dead but got through the week with 7 10 mile days. I extended that on to get through the month of April only missing 1 day (when I had a 2+ hour dentist appt) and getting 66 to 70 miles per week. At the same time, I've come close to tripling the amount of vertical (climb) per week, starting at just under 3500' and getting just under 9700' this past week. My experience in the past was basically what Frank Shorter said - "Hill training is speed work in disguise." And presently, when I do my 2 hour track runs, the limiting factor seems to be my lower legs, not my cardio capacity. So my near term goal is to be able to perform my 3 targeted workouts per week: Monday - 14 miles in 2 hours on the track, Thursday - 3500' of vertical on a particular hill in Whittier in 2 hours (or close) and Saturday - do one of the mountain runs. Otherwise, keep the mileage steady until I'm consistently hitting those goal workouts.
Along the way, I run into various problems and then come up with a fix. So in trying to do everything right, I've come up with this list:
- I have two sets of exercises mainly to work on core and upper body strength.
- Use the foam roller after workouts on my legs.
- Stretch after workouts
- Eat something right after a workout. After yesterday's mountain run, I ate a tamale, chocolate soy milk, bagel and baked potato on the drive home.
- Get enough sleep. Can be difficult during the week.
- Keep the callus on my foot in check.
So I've been consistent over the last 5 weeks in miles run but have been progressing in terms of vertical. Those numbers are 66.8/3487, 69.7/7562, 66.3/5545, 70.2/6472, 74.2/9697. So I'm going to keep my workouts pretty consistent, trying to improve the pace on Monday and Thursday in particular and putting a lot of effort into recovering from each workout.