My performance at KAEM13 will determine the value of this current period of training. I feel confident that what I have been doing is more focused and of a higher quality that the preparation that I did leading up the Atacama. I would hope this is true as I need to improve continuously to reach my goals and to perform at the highest level I'm capable of. It's a fun journey and challenge that motivates me every day.
|An easy run on Cerro San Cristobal.|
My training volume has not increased since the Atacama. In fact, the total is almost exactly the same as it was over the same period from 30 weeks before the race until now. There are some differences between the two build-ups as I ran races like the K42 Chile and Endurance 50km in the lead-up the the Atacama which added volume in certain weeks (the spikes in blue in the graph below). However, my block weeks of race simulation training have occurred at exactly the same points in both build-ups (the large spikes at weeks 10 and 15).
I am pleased as I believe the quality of the work has been better within the same volume of training. I have handled the workload much better this cycle of preparation and have not encountered any worrisome niggles or colds to interrupt my training. This has been the most consistent period of training I have gone through and it shows in the ability I have to take on certain sessions without too much worry that the workout might be too hard or long. I'm very happy with how this graph looks right now.
|An overview of training volume - before Atacama in blue, before KAEM in red.|
The key factor that I want to prepare for in KAEM is the long day which is the fourth stage. The impact of this race structure is that I will need to be ready for another two stages after the long stage (rather than just one more in the Atacama) and that my pack will be heavier for the long stage because I need three more days of food after the long stage. To prepare I have been running long runs with my pack at race weight. My go-to run has been a long run with an hour of tempo work at the end; such as a 3hr run or a 5hr run with the last hour at a tempo pace. An example is this run I did at the end of July.
I have also been training with and testing the gear I plan to use in the race. In this cycle I'm fortunate that I have already done two multi-stage races so I have a good idea of what I want to use, and where I can make improvements so the testing is more about refinement than trying things for the first time. I have a new pack (the Raidlight Olmo 20 used by Massi and reviewed here) that is proving to be a little more comfortable than my home modified pack which was starting to look a little worn after 500km in races. I'm trying some different shoes to see if I can find a good solution for the sandy riverbeds in the KAEM and to improve my day-to-day recovery. Finally I've been using my race food over block weeks with the hope to find a good balance between weight, flavor and variety.
When I started with Ian he asked me to do some strength work and suggested TRX. I didn't always enjoy going to do these sessions, but slowly I've become more comfortable with this aspect of training. I've found it makes a big difference for me in two areas of my running. The first is on downhills where I now have more confidence and I feel that the additional strength aids in maintaining my form while running declines. The second is that I feel less fatigued in my shoulders and upper body towards the end of block weeks and I believe that improved upper body and core strength have helped me adapt to running with the pack.
I have been more rigorous in looking after my body by using my foam roller regularly and doing active isolated stretching after most training sessions. Along with the cautious approach to increasing my volume, I feel that these two activities have helped me to maintain a consistent training approach without delays from injury or niggles.
I'm happy with my progress and really looking forward to racing in October. Here's a brief update providing some thoughts of where I'm at this week.