What I’m Training For: The Breakneck Trail Marathon

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It seems like 2016 was a crazy year for almost everybody. For me, the main source of craziness was our new baby girl. She keeps us pretty busy, and because of that I did not race at all last year (I almost did  Cats Tail, but instead DNS’d because I hadn’t trained at all, and that is not a race to go into unless you’re ready.). I want 2017 to be different, so I registered for the Breakneck Point Trail Marathon, which is in April. It’s a convenient first race of the year because I live less than an hour away, and after taking a year off from serious training, I know I need 10,000′ of climbing hanging over my head to help get me out of bed at 5am on the cold, dark mornings of January and February.

I registered for the race just before Thanksgiving, and at the time I had a plan to take me from mid November to race day, but the holidays intervened, and November was a wash (aside form the inaugural running of The Thanksgiving Mile). I made it my goal in December simply to  establish a rhythm: go to bed as early as I could manage, obey my alarm clock to run, go to work, repeat. I consider myself a morning person, but cold, dark, damp mornings make it difficult to get out of bed, especially when your dog is cuddled up next to you, but I started remembering how good it felt to get up and move, to feel warm in shorts when it’s below freezing, and I fell into a groove.   I didn’t want to overdo the mileage because I hadn’t run much, so I strung together a few weeks of 15-20 miles, which felt great.

Now it’s mid January, and I’ll be sprinkling some quality hill workouts into my schedule. I based my plan for now through April on an article written by David Roche for Trail Runner Magazine. I like taking Monday and Friday as rest days, so I’m distributing my weekly mileage as 15% on Tuesday, 20% on Wednesday, 15% on Thursday, 35% on Saturday, and 15% on Sunday, with a workout on Wednesday, probably hills given the amount of climbing I’ll do on race day.  I’ve done a few preliminary hill workouts to test my legs, and, all things considered, I could be in worse shape. I do most of my long runs at Rockefeller Preserve because I live in Tarrytown, and I can be there in minutes once I step out my front door, but I’d like to use a few long runs in March for multi-ascents and descents of Bald Mt., which is right near Bear Mountain, but is less crowded. I’ll try to get to Breakneck as well, but it can get crowded there on weekends.

The plan I’ve made for myself has me topping out at 50 mile weeks, which I’ll hit twice, with my longest run being 18 miles. That would concern me more if I were training for a road marathon, but I expect to be dealing with some serious hills on the course, so I’m making up for a relatively short maximum long run with some good mid-week hill workouts, the longest of which is 10 miles.

So that’s what I’m training for at the moment. There’s more to come after Breakneck, assuming I dont’ break my neck, including the Whiteface Sky Marathon in July. Follow along on strava if you’re interested.

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