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Here’s a not-so-secret secret about the Front Range of Colorado — we sometimes get  spectacularly nice days during winter. Although they’re not often as nice as they were today and yesterday:

Monday Weather

Yesterday’s Weather

Tuesday Weather

Today’s Weather

I had these two days off work, so I decided to try back-to-back five hour training marathons.

The run yesterday was the same 5 x 5.25 mile laps around my neighborhood as last time.

Monday.

Lap 1: 56:51 (HR: 125)

Lap 2: 58:46 (HR: 123)

Lap 3: 58:39 (HR: 128)

Lap 4: 59:51 (HR: 132)

Lap 5: 58:22 (HR: 135)

Lessons Learned:

  • Maybe I need to give more thought to running some of the initial miles at Umstead in lighter shoes. Rather than the Hoka Conquest (13.05 oz) I wore on my last five hour marathon, yesterday I wore the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante NYC (8.45 oz), and I felt like that let me put more energy into moving forward rather than battling the weight of the shoes.
  • I played around with walking techniques and found that, at least on flatter terrain, focusing on lengthening my stride (rather than trying keep a higher cadence with a shorter stride) let me move noticeably faster.
  • My movement patterns generally consisted of more running at a slightly quicker pace, along with more walking, than last time. This seemed less stressful on my body than a steadier but slower jog.
  • I used a handheld instead of my single-bottle HydraQuiver, and it seemed to work just fine. Perhaps I’ll alternate hydration methods at Umstead.

 

Tuesday.

I didn’t want to cover the same ground again today, so I mapped out a nearby 4 x 6.55 mile course that was dirt trail, and had a bit of elevation thrown in for good measure (1,300′ total climbing today vs. less than 300′ total yesterday).

Lap 1: 1:14:36 (HR: 123)

Lap 2: 1:13:21 (HR: 122)

Lap 3: 1:13:26 (HR: 127)

Lap 4: 1:12:49 (HR: 131)

I’m quite happy with this run because most of the time difference lap to lap can be attributed to gear changes and bottle switches. For example, I did my first lap in a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes (in the hopes of establishing a relaxed gait that would carry through the middle and later parts of the run), and then switched to Montrail Rogue Racers, which added a minute to that first lap time.

It was tough to not just slap on the Hokas at the start and say “I ran long yesterday, so I need more cushioning!”, but I’m glad I did — I felt great without the foot bulk and I think it helped wake my legs up.

Lessons Learned:

  • Maybe I don’t need Hokas as often as I think I do. They sometimes feel really good, perhaps even necessary, but in what circumstances, and at what time/energy cost?
  • My average HR was a little lower on Tuesday, despite an extra 1,000 feet of climbing, and some fatigue at the beginning of the day. Maybe to some degree a little more climbing and descending makes for an easier run than a flat course?

New Questions:

  • When the temps got to the mid-60s, I began to feel it. Are there any steps I can take before Umstead to prepare myself a little better for warm temps and humidity?
  • How sore are my legs going to be tomorrow?