A week of training

Last week was the first week in a five-week cycle that will end with my second simulation block for KAEM. Three weeks ago I ran my first simulation block, a 153km week of 4 consecutive days running with a pack at race weight, which was followed by a recovery week, a 65km week with 3 rest days. Last week followed the typical structure of a non-block week for me. As it was the first week in this cycle the total distance was a little below average.


I usually do my long run on Monday as I like to complete the run and know that I have it in the bank early on in the week. I've been doing some tempo work in the last hour of my long runs to add a little intensity.

Smooth trail on the Huechuraba side of Cerro San Cristobal.

Easy running and photo-taking for the first two hours.


Every three to four weeks I do an L2 test. This is a run that I do over the same 12km in the same heart rate zone each time. As I get fitter and more efficient the time for the 12km should decrease for the same level of effort. It's a check to see if my training is on target and it can also warn me if my body is not at the level it should be due to an oncoming cold or potential injury.

This week I was a little better than my previous test and on a similar level to where I was 12 weeks out from the Atacama. I'm not race ready yet, but I am heading in the right direction.


Depending on how the week is progressing Wednesday is usually a rest day for me. I call it "Wednesday weekend"! However, this week I didn't do a TRX session on Tuesday so I needed to complete the workout on Wednesday.

I do TRX twice a week with a set of exercises designed to promote strength in the frontal plane (to strengthen muscles that are used in side-to-side movement which can help to prevent hip and ITB issues) and to build strength in my core and upper body (to help with carrying a pack). This workout takes between 30 and 45 minutes and I do it in the park near my apartment.


I've been doing hills sprints at least once a week for the last three months. These sessions help develop leg strength without requiring high speed running (such as intervals) so the risk of injury is lower. I can do a high intensity training session without running fast which is also a close proximation of desert racing where the intensity is high due to the conditions and pack, but the speed is low.

I've been making some progress on these training sessions and complete each sprint a few seconds faster than I did when I first started my build-up for KAEM. I run the same 200m stretch of road every time so I know it well. I like the ability to look back and compare my efforts and track progress enough that I'm willing to put up with a lack of variety in the route.


I did an easy hour to flush out my legs from Thursday's hills. I really enjoy these sessions as there is no pressure to run hard and I can test out any ideas that I have for my race gear without worrying about stopping to make adjustments.

My legs felt quite good and I enjoyed a very quiet day on the running paths.

A little gloomy and quiet on the running path today.

But still one keen runner training hard!

After my run I stopped in the park to do my second TRX workout of the week.


This week I did my first speed workout in the build-up to KAEM. It's about 12 weeks out from the race and time for me to start working in some intensity and faster running. Up to this point I've been working on endurance and running strength (through hill sprints and tempos). In this last phase I do speedwork to improve my running economy and efficiency. As my race pace for a multi-stage race is not very fast, this speedwork is also not very fast. I was aiming for 4min/km during my intervals.

I really enjoyed this session and felt great running a little faster than usual. As I haven't done intervals for a while my pacing was a little off (I ran too fast and a little inconsistently), but that's something I can improve on in the following weeks.


Total rest. 

That's a pretty typical week for me. A reasonable mileage which includes a long run, hill sprints, intervals and some strength work. I believe that consistency is the most important factor in arriving at a race in top condition so stringing together a whole lot of weeks like this is my goal. I'm on the right trajectory of improvement towards KAEM and provided I maintain the consistency I should have a good race.

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