Category: Blog

Rut Training Run – tapering was an option?

Tapering? I normally don’t taper well. I experimented with it off and on over the years. Right now I’m watching my stats in both Training Peaks and the Stryd Power Center so I can see where I’m at in readiness to race. I experimented with tapering for the Broken Arrow VK and I think I was a little flat for that one. Could I have finished 10 minutes faster? I don’t think so with the technical terrain, especially the snow.

Scenery at the start of the Broken Arrow VK in Squaw Valley

This week I’m experimenting with tapering for the Rut Training Run. I’m pushing my stats for three runs in a row of greater than 220 RSS (Stryd) or 150 TSS (Training Peaks). This is done on the treadmill at roughly 3.1 miles in about 64 minutes (5k) at 22% incline (a little over 1000m of climb).

There’s my Stryd Race Readiness from the Metabolic Fitness graph in the Improvement tab. It’s right on 65.

40-65 Skill means you are prepared for a half marathon race.
55-70 Skill means you are prepared for a marathon race.

I’m currently at a little over 7,000′ of vertical for this week. Tomorrow I will be over 10,000′ and then I’ll be done running till Saturday at the Rut Training Run. I’ll be doing some cycling tonight, Wednesday (OTB Trainer so lucky to get a mile or two in) and Thursday.

I think I made a mistake for the Broken Arrow VK by not getting in any appreciable vertical early that week. We’ll see how I feel on Saturday and apply the lessons learned for my next race. Possibly another “C” race in early August.

All in all it’s been awesome to try to come back to running, such as it is with all the vertical. Yes, it’s fast vertical, but it’s slow running. I’ve felt it when I’ve been out doing 10:00 miles out on the road. Ugh.

Map My Fitness (Map My Run, by Under Armour) has a 1000 km challenge every year. I’ve entered it for a handful of years running (pun) now, and every year was so totally lucky to get in even 300 km. This year I’m way ahead of pace. I’m over 800 km already, putting my solidly in the top 5% of registrants. Super duper. I’m actually on pace (according to Strava) to exceed 1000 miles this year.

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Rut Training Run – only a handful of days to go

Again, like the foolish child I am, I registered for the Rut Training Run 10.5 mile course. It starts with the VK, and gives me an opportunity to pre-run it with a group of fun runners in a non-competitive environment.

My recent PR on Baldy South Ridge

Wildlife? Horned Toad on Baldy summit

From their most recent email:

What to Expect at Aid Stations:
We will have water, Skratch Labs Drink Mix and a salty and sweet option for you at both aid stations. Note that there will NOT be gels at our Training Runs or Race aid stations this year. We believe Skratch Labs makes some of the best nutrition products on the market, however, as of 2019, they do not make gels so plan accordingly to bring your own if gels are a part of your nutrition plan!
Aid Stations (for both routes):
  • Aid Station #1: Mile 3.5 (Lone Peak Summit)
  • Aid Station #2: Mile 9.1 (Base of Africa trail before steep climb up Andesite.)
The Rut is a Cupless Event in 2019!
In case you have not heard we are going cupless this year! In 2018 the Rut went through 12,000 non reusable dixie cups at our event. We are excited to send zero dixe cups to the landfill in 2019! With that said, it is up to you to provide a vessel for carrying water on the RutTraining Runs and Races this year!

I just recently did a run up the South Ridge of Baldy and hit a PR by 9 minutes. 9 Minutes. Yep. The worst thing is I really felt super slow and useless. That’s greater than 700 VAM which is really good for me. If I can get on top of my breathing and pacing I think I should be able to get something good done at The Rut VK end of August.

I ran down a section of the Dry Canyon Trail known affectionately as a Strava Segment “Hell’s Half-Pipe” and it killed me. Running downhill was the worst.

I’m still recovering which made this morning workout really a slog. I did a VK on the treadmill in 64 minutes. Still, a slog and it hurt.

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Rut Training Run – the week before

The Rut is doing a training run July 13 for their 28k and 50k. Interestingly they are supposed to climb the VK route, which is on neither of the routes. Then it forks for each of the routes for 10.5 or 15 miles. Since it’s a great opportunity to do the VK as a pre-run I opted for the 10.5 mile, which is totally doable as a run/walk.

Here are some details from the event:

Training Runs Schedule:
7:00-7:55 am: Runner Check-in Big Sky Resort Base Area Huntley Dining Room at Base of Explorer Lift. See MAP.
8:00 am: Start Training Runs
8:00-1:00 pm: Runs in progress (1 pm cut off for all runners & routes)
11:30 am -1:30 pm: Lunch catered by Big Sky Resort

Check in is at Huntley Dining Room near Base of Explorer Lift: (See Map)
While you may not need a bib or timing chip for the Training Runs we still want to know who is starting and finishing the runs with us! So we will have a check in from 7:00AM to 7:55 AM at the start finish area in the Huntely Dining Room near the base of the explorer Lift. **Note that this is a different location than the normal Rut Races check in!** 

I’m really looking forward to pre-run the VK route, since I’ll be racing it at the main event on August 30. I did so well, and felt so strong at the Broken Arrow VK that I’m really excited to see what I can do at The Rut.

“Long” run at 5 miles on pavement this morning

Training with the Middle School MTB Team

It’s been a bit of a rough transition from the Broken Arrow, with a lot of pain getting back up to speed. While the Rut Training Run is at best a “C” race, meaning just a regular training run effectively, I still want to be strong enough to make the cutoffs and measure my own efficiency on the VK portion of the run.

I’ve dropped down to on average 45 minute or so training periods, outside the MTB team rides, which are two hours of on and off riding at a mellow pace for the most part.

I need to increase my singletrack training a bit, and increase my mileage enough to cover the 10.5 miles I’ll be doing at The Rut Training Run.

I need to get some steep and rough technical terrain practice in, since The Rut VK has quite a bit of that. Especially near the top. The pics and vids make it look a lot like an intense crawl. Far out.

I’ll post some more here in the next few days as I prepare. We’ll be camping near the Big Sky Resort where The Rut takes place. We were going to take the trailer, but our tow vehicle is having some issues and might not make it in time. In that case I guess it’s tents.

We’ll see. Wish me the best. Thanks

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My Gear Spread Pics for the Broken Arrow VK

I’m sure you’ve seen them on Instagram and Facebook, etc, but it’s common for runners to post pics of all their stuff laid out or being packed, with all the cool kid hashtags. I took some pics, but they aren’t really all laid out and I didn’t do all the cool kid hashtags.

Here’s my suitcase almost packed, and a few other baggies I’ll be putting into my personal item carry on. I’ll be carrying on this suitcase too, as I don’t want to pay the exorbitant fees for checked luggage. Though I guess technically I have airline points that would earn me a freebie checked bag.

That being said, it took me quite a bit of effort to get my gear together. I’m hoping tomorrow I’ll be able to pause enough in the hotel in Reno to get some better gear spread pics and maybe explain a few of my choices. I was hoping to encompass a broad range of potential weather conditions.

Wednesday forecast for Squaw – note that wind!

Thursday Afternoon June 20

Most recent (Thursday) forecast for Squaw

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What even is training for a VK all about?

Quoted long-form from this article:

The sport of VK running is relatively unheard of in Australia. It’s a Euro thing that is quickly gaining traction as trail and Skyrunning grows around the world. The International Skyrunning Federation defines it as follows: “Races with 1,000 m vertical climb over variable terrain with a substantial incline, not exceeding five kilometres in length.” The shortest VK in the world, which incidentally is also the fastest, is in Fully, Switzerland. It’s 1.9 km in length, with an average incline of 52% Essentially, vertical Kilometers are all about super steep mountains where an athlete has to maintain a steady state at close to maximum exertion for anywhere from 30 minutes (For the best in the world!) to an hour. 

Training for such an event requires very specific sessions and to get the lowdown on what to do I asked some of the top guys in the sport. The consensus was fairly clear: 

1) Start by gaining some experience and strength on big hills. Do lots of general runs, up to 2 hours, where you focus on consistent rhythm when climbing and get to understand what your limits are and at what point you are tipping over the edge. 

2) Once a foundation of general fitness and strength is laid, introduce 2 x weekly sessions, one being hills reps on really short but steep climbs (EG: 10 x 60 secs). The steeper the better! The other should be on longer climbs, up to 20 minutes (For example 3 x 10 mins or 2 x 20 mins). 

3) Weight training, with emphasis on power, not endurance should be done regularly. However this is should be introduced gradually into a program. Running should always take priority and a good base of mountain training is necessary before introducing gym work. 

The above is a very basic guide. On the days between the hill-specific workouts, it’s good to maintain a connection with some flat running and speed. A weekly long run of up to 2:30 hours is also important to build fitness and endurance. Cycling can also be a good addition to compliment the running.

 (minor edits for formatting that made it tough to read)

So yeah, I’m a bit weak in a few of those areas. I was doing some short hill sprints earlier in the season, but right now I’ve been mostly focused on getting increasing weekly vertical goals in. This has brought my weekly miles down a bit, since it’s tough to get in 30 mile weeks at 3 mph. That’s my average speed at 22% on the treadmill.

I’ll be posting more of this training specific information as well as condition updates for Squaw Valley where the Broken Arrow Sky Run VK will be held. Stay tuned please.

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Getting Excited for Broken Arrow Sky Race VK in Squaw Valley

I was thrilled to find out that much of the ridge will be clear of snow, except for a few of the usual spots for the Vertical Kilometer (VK) race on Friday June 21 2019. The organizers posted a video of the famous Stairway to Heaven section of the course, showing a little bit of snow to be traversed at the base of the stairs. Check out their video:

VID_20190612_150104647_3 from Broken Arrow Skyrace on Vimeo.

So much fun watching that, right?

My wife said “That looks a lot like you” and I replied “only my thighs are thicker…”

Here is a shot of the advanced weather report for you.

Just yesterday evening I did a big push up the trail on Box Elder Peak, and surprisingly was able to push 700 VAM in spite of much of the trail being under water and scary rough crossings like so.

This is final bridge that stopped me from going further. It was too dangerous to cross.

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