Sunday, May 31, 2009

Training on the Hamster Wheel

Must be a BIG wheel!
For some folks when they are training for an endurance event, they go for long bike rides or long runs in an out and back format, running or riding to hell and gone.
I Like that too, but I'm not afraid of "The Wheel." Riding or running a shorter course in after another, after another, after another....
This weekends training is a case in point.
Saturday I rode 106 miles. All of it on a 7 mile rolling course. Some good little climbs and descents and NO flat areas. 
Took the first hour easy, getting out the kinks and making sure all felt well. Brought the pace up for four hours, sticking to a revamped eating and drinking schedule. and just hummed along.
The beauty of a loop course is that you can gauge how you're doing from lap to lap. You can go easy one lap and hard the see the same big hills each time and can gauge your performance 6 hours into a ride... I know what some of you are thinking. No, I don't listen to music while riding..that's just stupid. One must be aware of what's going on all around, with cars, dogs, walkers and who knows what else.
The real benefit of this kind of riding , for me anyway, is that it gets me ready for two fall events on the schedule. The 24 Hours of Booty, a fund raiser for the Lance Armstrong foundation, is ridden on a 3 mile loop for 24 hours. Several weeks later The Triple Ironman.   The bike portion is 336 miles on a 5 mile loop. I have found from years of training for Ultra marathons that the mental game is most important. Now, loops drive some folks insane, but I've learned to not even notice the loops anymore...I just ride.
A good point to point trail run is fun...Fastpacking large sections of the Appalachian Trail is just too cool...but stiff mental training can be found running a two mile loop for hours on end.
Running through the day and watching the light change and seeing wildlife drift in and out of the scene. Today's 2 and a half hour run in "The Park" next door ( a 6,300 acre state park and wildlife management area) was on trail and road loops...saw two fox, some deer, including the smallest button buck I'd ever seen, Some Great Blue, Turtles galore and the odd ground hog...and I mean odd. He at up to watch me run by. They usually tear off in another direction.
Loops rock.
Training is going well...the big bummer this week was that the school at my high school (where I can swim alone) is closed for repair. Now I HAVE to go to the local aquatic center to swim...laps.  My nutrition for the the longish ride yesterday was spot on.  
Taking a Medical Terminology class this summer which has started, so I've shifted my training week to run from Tuesday to Monday. Tuesday off for class and additional course work. Career change here I come.
One more week in this three week cycle. IMLP in 8 weeks.
12 days of school left until summer vacation. Wa-HOO!


  1. Those 24-hour runs in 1-2 mile loops are something that even *I* don't get. I recently went to the local 1/4-mile track to watch my UR buddies go around and around...and around for 12 hours. Give me a point-to-point run anyday, but don't make me count laps for 24-hours :)

    I'm glad you're seeing it more positively. Good Luck with all those long miles Anton!

  2. Interesting post, it has a certain appeal. But I always feel on those long rides like I should get somewhere far enough away to make it a journey instead of just a work-out. But I can see the value in what you're saying, might try it sometime.