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"Albert Camus wrote that the only serious question is whether to kill yourself or not."

Pow-Pow-Powerline or “Tapering Plan”

This morning went up on another hike with the dog up and down Powerline.

The sun rises in the East. FYI.

Powerline, in case you don’t know, is roughly the 5th “section” of the trail, after: The Boulevard (10 km), Turquoise Lake (11 km), Colorado Trail (2 mi), Hagerman Pass Road (2 km) and then… voila. Powerline. It’s a steep-ass dirt road that mostly follows a big cutout for some big, buzzing powerlines. It’s steep. On the way home, it is the last true destroyer of morale. If you can get over this, you should be able to finish the race.

The view of Powerline from the very bottom.

Anywho, the dog and I went out. I was supposed to meet Matt at 5:30 AM but he snoozed his way to 7 AM. Tona and I warmed up a bit and waited until just after 6, then headed out. I wanted to leave early to finish before the sun came up, because water is kinda scarce up there, for the dog.

Partway up the first hill, I believe.

We did pretty well. I’m just finish off a 160 km week (100 miles) and so kinda tired. My knees are a bit sore, and my ankles are a bit sore, but in general I’m feeling pretty good. This was to be my last half-marathon (basically I’ve been doing 20+ km every morning this week, other than Sunday when we did 62 km) to make up my goal mileage, so I was excited.

A long way to go still… and that’s just the first hill…

I got some good Sunrise pics, and took a few pics of the trail. My Garmin plot is as follows:

We saw quite a few animals. A partridge (grouse? pheasant? wild chicken?), Gophers, Rabbit, squirrels galore, chipmunks. No big animals though. Which is good, because the dog has a hard enough time not chasing the little ones. The rabbit I had to hold her back for, which I understand because they do look quite tasty even to me.

Nearly at the very top, the view looking North. Glorious!

On the return trip, I ran the entire of Hagerman Road plus the uphill to the top. Felt good about that. Have been pushing the uphills a fair bit harder lately, and seeing some improvements, which is nice. I’ll probably run the entirety of the road during the race, and run/walk the hill like we did on our long run. So good practice.

Tona busting out a half-marathon like it’s nothin’ to ya.

After that we got home, Matt came over to hang out for a bit, and then here I am, working away. I’m still unclear how best to proceed with my taper, but I have tonight and tomorrow to figure it out. I will probably head up Hope Pass as usual on Saturday and Monday, but the general strategy for my taper is still totally up in the air. The tentative plan is still to do 75%, 50% and 25% for the 3 weeks leading up to the race, which would work out to 120, 80 and 40 km.

Edit: After I wrote this, I did some reading and saw that “the longer the distance, the greater the taper”. Which is common, you hardly taper for a 5k, but you taper 2-3 weeks for a marathon. Well, I would assume therefore it makes sense to taper longer for an ultra, if you’re in peak condition. So I have finalized my plan: I will do 3 weeks of taper:

  • Peak week: 100% (100 miles)
  • Taper week 1: 60% (96 km)
  • Taper week 2: 40% (64 km)
  • Taper week 3: 20% (32 km)

Here’s the detailed countdown:

My tapering plan for Leadville 2012.

Otherwise, everything remains the same, as described below.

The majority of the mileage will be hiking / running up Hope Pass and Powerline. No more long runs (one more 20 km run.) Better to run 6 days a week, but reduce all run lengths by 40%. Stay sharp on those hills, get a fast workout in as usual mid-week, and repeat with another 20% reduction the week after. Most of my running will be little runs with the dog out to Tabor boat ramp.

“It’s all downhill from here!”

The fact of the matter is: it’s all icing on the cake at this point. Time to let the body get stronger, and reap the benefits of all that goddamn training. Crazy to think I’ve done almost 3000 km (this year alone) .. would have been more had I not gotten that weird foot injury.

Exciting times. T-minus 23 days to Leadville.

Mitch out.

References:

  1. http://www.runnersworld.co.za/training/training-know-how/time-to-taper/ – Classic marathon tapering advice.
  2. http://www.enduranceplanet.com/atu-art-of-peakingtapering-and-strength-training-for-endurance/ – June 14th, 2012 – Podcast discussion, but few concrete numbers, so not particularly useful unless you already know what you’re doing. Mentions hills intervals and tempo runs are more suitable for a 50k, rather than doing 300 m intervals as for a 5k. Lucho states that “there’s no formula that works”, say “there’s no science to it, it’s all art” so “what worked before isn’t going to necessarily work again” and “there’s a tremendous amount of feel involved.” He did a 5 week taper for Ironman Hawaii. Was doing about 1 workout per 3 days, going hard. Would work out hard, and then recover until he felt ready to go again. “Number 1 rule is you go into your race rested.”
  3. http://www.enduranceplanet.com/ultrarunning-tapering-for-optimal-performance/ – Useless, shitty article devoid of actual advice.
  4. http://www.enduranceplanet.com/atu-tips-to-beat-burnout-and-is-it-ever-ok-to-race-injured/ – July 26th, 2012 – Podcast covering tapering again (actually answering my own question)

2 Comments

  1. Cheryl Jones

    2012-07-27 at 9:01 am

    I’ve been following along on your training, Mitch, but not commenting. I’m excited to see how well you do on the actual race. I hope you accomplish every goal you’ve set and wouldn’t it be nice to exceed them? I’m rooting for you! 🙂

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