Tuesday, 24 June 2014

2014 Salomon Trail Series - Race 1 Studley Park

Standing at the start, race 1 of the #SalomonTrailSeries. I was toeing the line, my heart was pumping. The morning chill kept us in check, the perfect testing ground for my STRYDA compression
The hooter went and we took off. I settled into a quick rhythmic stride and worked my way into the lead pack. What was my pace? Earlier in the week I had made the choice to run ‘nude’ no gps, no foot pod and no heart rate monitor. Pure running, feeling my way with each step.
#bitumenisboring - but you gotta get to the trail!
RUnning quickly, we found our stride and shook off the last of the #bitumenisboring before hitting the gravel path. We were soon to find out that sometimes you have to just trust your own course knowledge...
Don’t always follow the marshals lead, as a dud steer lost the leaders precious seconds they were directed straight on as we took the first left around the ovals. ‘Run fair!’ was the cry, and those that trusted our own navigation slowed the pace and let the pre ‘glitch’ order return. From here though, it was game on.
Legs feeling great, I pushed the pace and played a little game of cat and mouse as we ran past the river along the first of the trails.
wE returned to the road before a quick right hander lead us along a double trail/ well-worn track back upto the swing bridge. At this stage I was feeling great and pushed the pace a little.
Yikes! The sway of the bridge and dodging the foot traffic added to the thrill and sent the heart rate racing. One sharp left and we were onto the real trails – these were the twists and turns that I had signed up for.
Passing one or two more runners, I was feeling the pinch and slowed just enough to keep on the tail of those in front. The pace was slowly building as the finish line drew closer.
As we neared the final switchback, the lead runner seemed to be only a few hundred meters ahead. I had to ask myself, ‘would I be able to reel them in?’ I pushed on, daring to dream a little dream.
A Right onto another variation of the trail and under bridge, you could hear the #SuuntoSprint timers buzzing away. I flicked the switch and made my
move, one final burst.
My cheeky #SalomonSelfie
Kicking into sprint mode I passed two more and powered home, almost coming unstuck on some slippery grass. With the final surge I crossed the line in a 5k PB of 19:04 and in 11th position. I’d later find out I had the 10th quickest #SuuntoSprint for the day and come 5th in my age category.

So, time to hit the hills and fine tune things before race two at Lower Plenty. If you're keen to come for a run in the Dandenongs, look me up on Facebook and say hello.

Till next time, The Fish


Sunday, 8 June 2014

My 2014 Salomon Trail Series - Training to run faster

Perfect for learning to run fast!
While I enjoyed the challenge of the Great Ocean Road Marathon and the Salomon ‘medium’ Series last year, I have shifted my focus to the ‘short’ series in this year’s Rapid Ascent 2014 Salomon trail series.
This means a shift in training focus, and I’m really excited by it. In the last few months I’ve been running more and more at the Silvan Reservoir, 10 minutes from home.

Why? It is a trail runner’s playground. Aside from the dozens of fire access and widened walking trails, there are mountain bike and single trail tracks everywhere. Some are 200 – 300m short cuts, others are 2-4k stretchesthat run parallel to the main trails or wind back and forth, doubling back on themselvesas the wind up (or down) the hills.
So, while I’ve enjoyed running these tracks at a leisurely pace, it’s time to get serious on the shorts. What these trails provide is perfect for learning to run faster, to build speed and power. To run more quickly for the 5-7km races at the Salomon Trail Series.

There are 4 or 5 ‘hill’ climbs I plan to include in my new high speed, threshold interval training. Two are just brutal, roughly 20-30% inclines for about 500/600m. These will be my threshold, wind sprint runs that will build stamina and leg strength. The Threshold runs will be just hitting them at a hard pace and running until my lungs or legs give up. The Wind sprints are still a hard run, but more sustainable as the plan is to get to the top. What about the other hills you ask? These are two of my favourite tracks.

Threshold runs up this!

Both are about 800m - 1000m long and they are a steady, gradual climb that double back, have sharp twists and turns, logs to leap and shrubs to duck and weave through. These tracks will be my threshold runs as well, how fast can I get to the top. Likewise, these are where I’m going to run hard and fast downhill. I’ll be learning to run at speed, through the twists and turns and controlling my descent. Last year this is where I held close to the lead pack. This year it will be where I will challenge them. Rapid Ascent have already given us a heads up about the 2014 Salomon Trail Series on our Facebook Page – make sure you include hills in your training.

I’ve also discovered about ½ a dozen trails that wind around the base of the hills. These have incredible twists and turns, undulating ups and downs and surprises around each corner. One is an amazing loop, about 800m long that just twists and turns and heads you back on yourself every 70 – 100m. One word, FUN! (Go on, follow this link, my vid will show you what it's all about!) So, these trails will be the basis of my ‘on the flat’ intervals. Again, I’ll try to run them from point to point as fast as I can. I’ll be learning to run faster through using a quick cadence and fast feet transitions.

I’m hoping to improve my stamina at speed and power through the hills to improve my overall pace. Running on the trails adds the extra element of core body control and the lightning fast reflexes required on technical trails. I want to bring my ‘road’ 5k time down to sub 19, with a dare to dream time of sub 19 over 5 k on the trails at some stage in the series (ok, so as long as it’s not a hill climb course).

I’ll compliment this with an 8-11k easy run on Tuesdays, and 200-500 interval sessions either on the Treadyvals or at the track, weather permitting as we head into winter.

Be sure to check in here and follow the weekly updates on Facebook. I’m starting from a 19:10 for the 5K basis, let’s see where I can hit by the middle of September. As always, I’d love to hear if you’ve changed things up for a new season, or have you a tip you can share with the community?

Cheers, Lachie