|Yep, this ain't a road run!
Post Coast 2 Kosci I really sat down and had a good think about my training and outlined a plan towards my first biggie of 2015, Transgrancanaria. I just had to change things up and do things a little differently. First thing on the agenda was of course a good rest and relaxing the strict routines I have in both my training and lifestyle.
So I ate, drank and rested and generally was merry from mid December to Early January, just doing some easy training sessions to maintain fitness and cut right back on track and strength sessions, as well as halving my usual long run durations in order to freshen up. I also spent a lot of 'time on feet' with clients and training at ranges of paces more broad than I've ever done before! Overall this left me feeling refreshed and reinvigorated for the year ahead.
I then spent a lot of time just building up aerobically, reaching 100mile weeks off mostly 10-35km runs at easy or steady state pace. Not much speed at all. Only in the last few weeks have I began some faster track sessions and longer tempo runs.
Another factor - it's been a challenge at times to do so much group and individual training, while still training my own sessions as well. At times I've had to just get out the door and get it done on tired legs and I've thankfully got many good training partners that have helped me maintain the quality of these sessions. Having an extra coach in Jo Brischetto on board at my group training has also allowed me to participant in one of my own speed sessions too :-)
So onto Transgrancanaria, just a beast of a race on the island of Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands. It's 125km and 8500m+ OUCH indeed. The saving grace is that it looks to be on terrain that doesn't look particularly technical from what I've seen in videos and some of the big climbs may be quite runnable. I'm hoping anyway. As far as tough goes, this will be the toughest I've done to date, even outdoing UTMF at 169km and 9500m D+.
To get myself ready, I've been doing much much more vertical ups and downs than ever before, often challenging myself with weighted vests and fully loaded packs on big hill repeats. This has the duel purpose of building up my muscle strength by overloading the glutes, quads and calves as well as conditioning up the VMOs via the extra eccentric loading on the downs (and generally toughening up my ankles too).
The other great benefit is of course on overall cardio fitness via increases to my V02 max and lactate thresholds. I've found doing my regular 12km bread and butter runs on undulating terrain but with added weight has turned them into medium-hard efforts; particularly on small climbs where I'm forced to go anaerobic for small sections of time where otherwise I would have stayed in the aerobic zone. This is training the body to clear lactic build up more efficiently and my recoveries are super short and sharp which is essential for any trail running.
Of course the mental toughness training of these sessions can't be underestimated either. If there's going to be a race that tests my mental fortitude it will be this one.