Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Lost Weekend

Many ultra training plans prescribe a training methodology commonly known as the Long Run Sandwich. This is a two or three day period of back-to-back long runs, thought to improve fitness better than just one weekly long run. Benefits of the sandwich include:
  • Simulate running on tired legs
  • Simulate metabolic load of longer events
  • Practice pacing
  • Get some serious mileage in
  • Acclimate to conditions
  • Practice eating/drinking

Here's now my weekend sandwich developed:

Friday: I went out on my normal lunchtime run (Friday has become an 800' ascent "TGIF" day for the small group I run with at work). We can get from downtown to the top of the mountain and back (6 miles) in just about an hour.

(view of Mill Mountain summit from downtown area)

Not a bad way to spend a lunch break. Due to the fact that I had been oncall for almost two weeks in a row, I decided to take the afternoon off so I could get a long run in before resuming my oncall duties for the weekend. So after reaching the top of the mountain and running back down with my friends, I said goodbye and headed into the woods to explore some of the trails of Mill Mountain and the surrounding area. Thanks to GPS, I was able to track my distance as I mindlessly ambled through the woods. I discovered a new trail that winds along the Mill Mountain low country -- and 18 miles later I decided to call it a day. 18.6 miles

Saturday: Work woke me up and wasted most of my morning. Then I watched VA Tech softball, mowed the lawn, and pretty much declared Saturday as a rest day. (Wait, doesn't mowing the lawn count for anything? Like 5.2 glasses of wine, or half of a Big Mac?!?!?)

Sunday: Church followed by an afternoon VA Tech softball doubleheader spent on the couch left my legs restless. I left the house around 5pm, and drove to the Blue Ridge Parkway (about 10 minutes from my house). I ran a mile south on the parkway, then galloped along a horse trail that eventually brought me back to the trails that I had explored on Saturday. 7 miles later I decided I'd better turn around or I'd be finishing in the dark. 14.1 miles

Absolutely done with oncall, I decided to get the most out of what was left of the weekend and turn this sandwich into a whopper. I left from the house with my GPS for a long road run. Nothing like an asphalt thrashing to beat the legs into shape. It was a hot one too -- temps around 85, no wind to speak of, relentless sun. Random route out 10 miles (thanks GPS), a stop for a V8 and Dr. Pepper, and mile 20 found me at the local swimming pool for a dip before the final 2 miles home. Just in time to shower, dress, and head out for a family cookout. Nothing like a long weekend of running to build up an appreciation for family, not to mention a real appetite. 22 miles

Now I rest, eat clean, and think happy thoughts. OD 100 is on the horizon. I'm not exactly where I would like to be in my training for a hundred miler, but I've consistently put in 40-50 miles per week all year, and run a few PR times. My fitness is better than it ever has been. If I can rest, recover, and hold this level of fitness, I should have a shiny new buckle come June 8.

Run hard out there.


Museice said...

Sounds like a good run.
The part about going through the woods sparked my interest.
If you have time could you Google "Mill Mountain Scar" and post a comment on 'The World To Muse'. Basically I guess I'm asking is this 'new trail' something you think people would use?

You sound like the perfect person to ask.

Neal Jamison said...


My son has a wart on his finger. We have asked him a few times if he wants us to get it taken off, but he says no, he kind of likes it.

I kind of like the scar. All my life I looked at that scar and thought, "man, it would be fun to climb up that." Then one day after I started running trails, I was at the top and I started down the scar among all of those briars and other ugliness and decided I'd better not.

I do, however, really love the idea of a race up and down the scar.

The infamous Barkley ultramarathon has a section called Ratjaw. It is a climb (and descent) up a scar that is several times bigger than our little blemish. The climb is so tough that runners use a downed powerline to help pull themselves up. Fun stuff.

Anyway, let me know if anything becomes of the "E-Race the Scar." It sounds like a lot of fun.

Keep up the good writing.