Author Topic: Training Feedback for a flatlander  (Read 899 times)

bill robinette

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Training Feedback for a flatlander
« on: April 13, 2017, 07:11:32 am »
I am running the PPA for my first (and only) time this year. I will be 56 on race day and I consider this a once in a lifetime event.  I have only been running for 3 years and have completed 1 full marathon and 15 half marathons during that time.  I ran a half marathon on 4/9/17 in St. Louis so I am not starting from scratch on my conditioning. 

I am definitely considered a flatlander and would appreciate some feedback on my training outline.  I have 2 goals for this race:  #1—don’t die on the mountain and #2—finish before the cutoff time.

I am using my marathon training schedule as an outline.  It is an 18 week training schedule so I will be starting my “official” training next week.  My training schedule is:

Monday—Short run (3-5 miles)
Tuesday—cross train (weightlifting and usually cycling, but sometimes a decent speed walk)
Wednesday—1/2  of my long run
Thursday—short run
Friday—cross train
Saturday—long run
Sunday—rest

Since I don’t have mountains to run near me, I want to incorporate some weekly treadmill training (which I hate) at a 13-15% grade.  Where should I add that into my routine?  Going to run the biggest hills I can find in my area, but I know it isn't the same.

I am training as if I were planning to run a 5 hour marathon. Would that normally be good enough to simulate beating the cutoff?  I have no way to train for the altitude, other than to hold my breath.  Again, I just want to finish in 6:29:59 or less.  I appreciate any feedback that would help me refine my training schedule.
« Last Edit: April 13, 2017, 11:20:40 am by bill robinette »

Mark

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 08:51:59 pm »
First of all, I would recommend searching the forum for training tips that some of the other Peak Veterans have provided. I think one of the best ones I've seen is max the incline on your treadmill and just keep walking until you can't stand it anymore.

Next, if you are a 5 hour marathoner you will probably be doing very little "running" during the ascent. The first half mile is relatively flat, then it just gets steep, you will probably be walking the next 4 miles with rocks and tree roots waiting to trip you up. After that there are several sections that are moderately level that you may be able to run, and leading into Barr Camp there are actually some downhill sections (again all with rocks and tree roots). After Barr Camp (about 1/2 way to the top) you will most likely be walking the whole way up to the summit.

The biggest thing I would caution against is oxygen deprivation. DO NOT go out too fast at the beginning, you should probably hang out about mid pack with your wave and adjust accordingly to how you feel during the first few miles. The wave seeding is actually pretty accurate so trust it as a newbie.

The altitude affects everyone differently and above A-frame (tree line) the oxygen level decreases quite a bit. You want to pay attention to your body, many people turn into zombies the last 3 miles and it's not pretty. If you can, get out here before the race and get to the top by hiking (an easy ascent) or driving, hang out up there for a couple hours, and see how the altitude affects you. Caution: even the altitude at the start line causes some flatlanders problems...

Lastly, during the race be sure to stay very well hydrated, the aid station support is awesome! use them along the way.

Good Luck in August!

bill robinette

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2017, 05:41:12 am »
Thanks.  I figured I would be trying to speed walk most of it.  I have read several post and tips but still not sure where to put the treadmill workout into my routine.  Should it replace the long run?

I have never not finished a race but this one makes me nervous because of conditions that I can't control.  So I just want to be as prepared as I possibly can be.  I know I am not going to be a speedster, I just want to be a finisher.

John Garner

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2017, 08:48:18 am »
If the Ascent is your goal for the year, I would replace _all_ of your runs for treadmill workouts (or at least as many as you can tolerate).  I suggest a tablet to watch Netflix movies on to help the time go by.

For the 'mill workouts, set it to 14+% and just walk. Even if you can jog/run at that incline, don't. Set the speed down and keep walk. (I can run at 5mph@15% at sea level for hours. At my house at 6500ft I'm down to 4mph. At Barr Camp I'm down to 3, which is walking.).

In terms of timing, use the existing marathon training plan. If a 3 mile run would take you 30 minutes, walk for 30 minutes. If the long run would have resulted in a 2 hour run, walk for 2 hours.

One other thing, don't hold onto the treadmill. Keep your hands at your side or slightly bent.

The goal is to work the muscles that get activated when walking up an incline and to build up enough endurance so that you can avoid having to put your hands on your hips to support your upper torso after 2-3 hours of doing this.

And as a fun point of comparison, during my last PPM I was way under-trained (and did the ascent the day before) and just walked from Hydro st (1.2 miles in) to the summit. I made it to the summit in just under 4 hours. 

bill robinette

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 12:04:23 pm »
Thanks for the feedback.  I have never run trails so I think I will need to incorporate some trail runs into the mix.  I have read that is good for stabilizing your muscles for trails.   But I will start on the treadmill this week.  And my treadmill doesn't have hand rails so that isn't an issue.  Also, my treadmill has a nice big screen tv in front of it so I guess I will binge watch every show I haven't seen by August.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 12:10:44 pm by bill robinette »

Vomastic

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2017, 04:41:22 pm »
Hi Bill,
I do a lot of treadmill training in preparation for the PPA.  I would recommend you do the PPA treadmill simulation because it will provide some feedback on your progress rather than just walking at a 15% grade.  I published the PPA treadmill simulation a few years back and I have expanded it for my own use.  I log my time at each checkpoint and record my heart rate and note the calories/hour I am burning.  (Note: not all treadmills provide this data.  Matt Carpenter recommends a constant effort; slower on the steeper slopes and faster on the shallow.  Here is an example:

Speed (mph)   Grade
3.6           3%
3.3           6%
3.2           7%
2.5          11%
2.4          12%
2.3          13%
2.2          14%
2.1          15%

Here is a link to the chart I use to log my PPA simulation runs.

https://1drv.ms/x/s!Ap1RwN8MNqtjiUun39DJ-OWbUysd

I live at 8,000', so it may seem easy to maintain these slower speeds at lower altitudes.  If so increase the speed for each grade.  You should be able to walk to Barr Camp (7.6 miles) at the time of this posting.  As you increase the length of your long runs, you should be feeling strong when you reach Barr Camp.  If you have difficulty completing the legs beyond Barr Camp, you need to slow your pace in the early legs. 

bill robinette

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2017, 10:44:37 am »
Thanks.  I had seen a treadmill simulation posted somewhere and had made my own spreadsheet.  However, my treadmill only goes up to 12% so I haven't tried the simulation yet.  So far I have just been putting the treadmill on 12% and 3.0.  My last workout was 5 miles.  But I have a friend whose treadmill goes up to 20% so I am going to try part of the simulation next weekend.

Vomastic

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2017, 11:21:52 am »
Hi Bill,
Here is what you can do for your treadmill that only goes to 12%.  Measure the distance between the front points and the rear points where the treadmill contacts the floor.  let's say that distance is 50 inches.  Multiply that distance times 0.03 or 3%. 
50" x .03 = 1.5"
That is the width of a standard 2x4 or 2x6 piece of lumber.
Place that board (or whatever measures 1.5" or what you computed) under the front wheels of the treadmill.  The treadmill will now have a grade of 3% to 15%.  That should not damage your treadmill motor because the stress on the motor is less at higher inclines.

bill robinette

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2017, 06:04:22 pm »
thanks.  Will do

murmur173

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2017, 03:55:21 pm »
My 2 cents as a fellow flatlander --

Last year was my first PPA, and I finished in 4:26. My training was focused on long, hilly routes in Austin. Looking back, all of that time should've been spent on the treadmill. The whole thing was hard, but I don't think I was mentally prepared for the final 3 miles. It's really difficult being able to see and hear the finish line, but knowing you've got at least an hour to go!

With all the wisdom and experience that comes from 1 PPA, I've completely revamped my training for this year's race:

Monday: Easy jog outside or cross (swim/bike)
Tuesday: Easy jog outside
Wednesday: 1-2 mile warmup, 20 min @6-8% (increasing later to 10-12% in the training and working in some speedwork), 1-2 mile cooldown on the treadmill
Thursday: Cross or rest
Friday: Easy jog outside
Saturday: long run @10-12% (times start at 60 mins and increase to 210 mins) on the treadmill
Sunday: Rest or cross

Have fun with your training and good luck in August!

brad7891

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2017, 02:29:24 pm »
Hi Bill -

Like some of the others, I am a flatlander (Michigan), and last year was my first race.

I reserved several hours on Sundays for Netflix and treadmill work. Generally, I would follow the grade simulation charts that are available on the Forum as it bakes in some nice breaks. Outside of Sunday's I followed a general marathon plan, and especailly focused on overall diet within the last 6 weeks.

I definitely agree with trying to get out and hike above A-frame if able. It was a complete shock to me how quickly I went from relatively comfortable to miserable.

Finally, expect to walk most of it. As the trail narrows, there will be a long line of zombies ahead of you that make it difficult/not worth the energy to pass.

bill robinette

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Re: Training Feedback for a flatlander
« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2017, 05:49:22 am »
Thanks for all the feedback.  I think I am going to stick to my marathon training schedule with these two exceptions.

1.  I am going to replace my longer midweek run (1/2 of my long run for the week) to do the treadmill at a constant rate (12-15%) for the equivalent amount of time.

2.  I am going to replace my long run on the weekend with the treadmill simulation making sure that I am adding some distance each week until I begin my 3 week taper.

I hope to get out to Manitou Springs the second week of June.  By the time I get there on the first day I will probably only have enough time to trek up to Barr Camp or so.  The next day I am going to do some trails at the Garden of the Gods.  The last day I hope I can make it all the way up the mountain so I can see how bad it is going to be above the tree line.

Thanks for everyone's input.  Looking forward (with some trepidation) to August.  I am sure this will be the toughest test yet! I feel like I will be physically prepared, not sure if I will be mentally prepared for the altitude.

« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 06:22:01 am by bill robinette »