Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Diablo Challenge 50K Training Report

With the Mt. Diablo Challenge a little over a month a way, I am starting to feel a little bit more prepared for it.  I was able to get a couple of trail runs in this weekend, on at 10 miles with "100 Mile Ryan" and the other at 8.5 with my wife, both being about 1,800 feet of elevation.  The runs felt good.  It was a beautiful weekend also, with temps in the low 70's.

The highlight to both these runs were that it covered the last third of the 50K.  Also, since it was on Diablo and we were running in the afternoon, we got the full effect of the warmer temperatures.  There is very little cover, so you are running for the most part in direct sunshine.

It was a great run with Ryan, while a bit warm.  I enjoy running with him because he also knows how to push just enough while knowing when I am up against my limits.  My wife started out a full 15 minutes and kept that distance until she stopped at Dusty Trail.  

I didn't realize how much uphill I had mapped; however, it certainly did its job, including running up Stage Rd. to the Ranch and across Buckeye Trail, a nice single track that hosts poppies and lupine as well as a nice little creek with fresh water.  Ryan drank from the creek and commented how fresh the water was.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that one of our family members had relieved themselves there a week before.  Oh well, we had fresh rain between the time of our runs so there would not have been any residual (sorry Ryan!). 

The first climb: 452 feet just under 0.5 mile!
On the second run, I ran with a heart rate monitor.  I have been doing this on my lunch time runs along the Embarcadero and have been trying to run MAF when it is on.  This means keeping my heart rate between 133 and 140.  When I run at lunch, I have been seeing my pace com down on these runs from 10:30 minute miles (after my injury) back down to 9:05.

The idea of MAF is that you need to slow down to go fast.  It is the idea that you can improve your pace over time by staying in the heart rate zone before you cross over into anaerobic.  This also serves the purpose of burning more fat and reserving your glycogen stores for later in the run.  This method is really good when you are trying to build or reestablish your base, which is where I am currently.  You will find that triathletes and ultra runners swear by this method.  You will find more information on MAF training here.

I really tried to stay in my MAF zone during the run.  In fact anytime I would cross the 141 threshold I would walk until my heart rate was back to the right level.  However, by half way through the run, I had added 10 minutes to my time over the previous day. A lot of it had to do with the hills and with the heat. My wife and kids were waiting for me to complete my run so I broke from my MAF training and just ran.  I was not concerned with how this might interfere with MAF, especially after listening to an "Ask an Ultrarunner" on Endurance Planet that specifically discussed the subject of MAF and Hill running.  You can find it here.

 The run was pretty nice though.  I even ran into the  Monte Vista cross country team walking up Dusty Trail.  It was pretty fun running down the hill as all of these teenagers were struggling climbing up the hill.

Once I was back on Stage Rd., I ran up the cut-off to Burma Rd. and then over to Sunset Trail.  I love this single track.  My wife has been running it for some time and swears by it.  It is very much a downhill roller coaster with a creek at the end but it is worth the run.

Sunset Trail:

I had finally caught up with my wife at the State Park boundary.  She had run down Little Yosemite trail.  It is nice that the sun is setting later.  It definitely means that we may be able to get some evening run in.

Being able to run in the heat was good also.  I will have to say, I can't believe we ran the 50K last year when it was so hot.  Since it has been in the 50's and low 60's, this past weekend provided quite additional challenge.  But that was good.

So I can say we are on track for the Diablo Challenge 50K.  On a side note, congratulations to Mr. and Mrs Notthat on their awesome performance at "Way too Cool".  You both smashed it!!!  Your kiwi training must have really come into play!


  1. Tell me that when you had a choice of creek or did NOT choose rock!! I didn't hear a splash......

  2. Thanks Brian! It went better than I expected it to, thankfully!


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