March Training Reflections!
Yes there is an exclamation point in the title! While February was a month of frustration and a much lower than planned 98.52 miles, March was a fantastic month of training. I ended the month with 178.2 miles, which is a new record for me.
There were thankfully no missed runs, and a few of them ended up being a few miles longer than planned. That’s just part of trail running though, sometimes you get a little lost, sometimes you explore a new route, and sometimes someone talks you into going just a little further.
I didn’t have any issues ramping the weekly mileage back up, but I could really feel the accumulated fatigue the first week. Making sure my recovery runs were an easy enough effort on the subsequent weeks made it so I was able push on my harder days, and also feel strong on my long runs. My final long run of the month was a 22 miler, and that’s the strongest my legs have felt on that length of a trail run, and the paces are gradually getting faster too.
One major focus has been experimenting with different nutrition. I’ve had long runs fueled on nothing but PB&Js, and I’ve also experimented with two different liquid fuels, Hammer Perpetuem and Tailwind, but still supplemented with smaller portions of solid food. Energy levels have been fairly even with both liquid methods, but I still feel like my strongest runs have been with Tailwind. I like that Tailwind also takes care of my electrolyte replenishment because I’m a salty sweater. I drink to thirst though, so sometimes I may fall behind on my calorie intake if I’m not drinking regularly. I also question whether I really need THAT much sodium. Perpetuem is stored in a separate bottle so my hydration and fueling are completely separate, but I have to additionally supplement my electrolytes with S-Caps or Endurolytes. It still works, but that’s more to keep track of. I wish I felt comfortable enough relying on aid station fare alone, but I feel like it’s easier to stay on top of my nutrition if fuel is always readily available. I haven’t settled on anything yet, and will continue to experiment.
In other news, my goal race has changed. I was originally signed up for the Kettle Moraine 100k, but had to change things…………..because I’m moving to Oregon!!! I’ll now be running the Siskiyou Out Back 50 miler instead. The starting line is at 6500 feet, so I’ll have some elevation to adapt to, but the course sounds amazing. I’ll have access to so many different trail systems to train on now, and my new position as a natural resources biologist will greatly increase my time on legs. It will probably take some time to adapt to hiking all day and working, and still having it in me to go for a 10 mile run. I’ll just really have to listen to my body, and take additional rest as needed.
April will be an exciting month for many reasons. First off, I’ll be volunteering at and photographing the inaugural Ozark Foothills 25/50k on April 11th. Secondly, I’ll be running the River to River Relay on April 25th with the lovely folks from Runwell. Being the new guy to the relay team I’ve been given leg 6, the hardest routes on the course. And finally, three days later I’ll be loading up to drive across the country to Oregon. I can’t think of a better last hurrah than spending a weekend in a van with 7 other runners, running from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River. Depending on travel requirements it’s still up in the air on whether I’ll get any trail running in as I journey across the US.
And now for some photos I snapped on the trails…