Friday, April 15, 2016

Bread and butter in the spring

A great piece of advice that I have implemented into my training is to have "bread and butter" training sessions. These sessions are easily repeatable, are performed over the same route and don't require any special motivation or thinking to do them. The sessions are not especially race-specific or demanding, rather they are simple building blocks to create a training routine and to perform when tired or low on motivation.

I like to run mine without a watch so I'm not looking to compare each run and so there's no pressure to run a certain time. Typically I love having the data at hand and I enjoy the process of keeping a log and tracking my training, however, I have come to love these sessions where I just go out to run. [I do know the distance of the route and assign a rough estimate of my time for each one and that's enough to keep the training log accurate and up-to-date.]

A staple in my training diet is the easy hour. This is a great run to do as a second run of the day, as a recovery run or just to squeeze in when I'm a little tight on time. I run from home and link through two of my favorite features of the Aubonne zone: the arboretum and the parcours vita. The route is about an hour in time (depending on how tired I am), about 12km and there's only a few hundred meters of climbing. For insight into my easy hour, below are some pictures from along the route.


Leaving home and running through the top part of town. The Aubonne tower is the green, dome-shaped tower in the top right of the picture. This is the reference point and an easy way to find my way back to Aubonne.


About 500m from home I hit the trails. From here the route gets better and better!


A favorite little bridge on the outskirts of town. This is easy walking distance from home so I often see people strolling or walking their dogs here.


Spring weather means it's green, but also that it can be quite wet.


Climbing up from the river towards the farmlands and arboretum. Although there are roads to do this route, the pedestrian trails direct me up this grassy hill.


The area around Aubonne is agricultural. There are cows in the fields, the crops are rotated two to three times a year and we can buy great local produce in the supermarket. The arboretum forest is in front and to the right in the picture.


Welcome to the arboretum. I love this place! There are kilometers of trails, it's well marked and well maintained. There's always a fun route to run and the trails feel different as the foliage changes throughout the year.


A little winding trail through the forest.


After gradually climbing up to the hills of the arboretum from home this stairway descends down to the Aubonne dam. They have put fencing (chicken-mesh) over the stairs so the grip is good no matter how wet it gets.


The Aubonne dam is at the top end of this route. I run a loop around the dam and start heading back home at this point.


The dam is a beautiful place for a picnic or to run, but it's also an important part of the electricty supply. 50% of the power for Aubonne and four other nearby villages comes from the hydro-electric plant that is fed by this dam.


There are plenty of marked routes through the arboretum and it's always possible to find some guidance on how to get home.


From the arboretum I can see the Aubonne tower in the distance - that's the way home. On a clear day Lake Geneva and the Alps are visible beyond the rolling hills.


A quick pass through the parcours vita provides a couple of extra kilometers of soft footing and easy trail.


Like any good trail run which has to end on either a climb or descent, this route climbs back from the river and up to town via a short, steep staircase. This is an old entrance to the town through the historic town wall.


That's it - my "bread-and-butter" route around the local attractions of Aubonne. For anyone who comes to visit this is a definite route we'll run together!