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Road to Marquette:
Training for the 2004 National Masters
Juggle, Juggle, Juggle
June 8, 2003 - By Mike Muha

Work, family, training, and racing didn't juggle too well in May. Actually, I realized that I hadn't balanced the family aspect very well this spring - someone important in my life was being left out. I'd head out and train every night after work, then go home. The unintended message: training was the most important thing in my life. Jill was most accommodating in pointing out my error...

So, I've reprioritized my training time. I'm making sure I home for dinner three work-nights a week so we can cook dinner, talk, do the dishes, and do a few chores. If it's still a training night, I head out to train when Jill's ready to veg. Heading to the gym for a weight session has worked pretty well so far, but the running interval workout a two hours after eating a heavy, greasy pizza for dinner was another story! I had to stop three times during the first 12 minutes of my warm up because the side-ache felt like it was going to split my body in half!

May's Training

I put in over 35 hours of training during the 31 days of May: 7 hours of strength training and over 28 hours biking, running, or rollerskiing. Here's the breakdown by training zone:

Zone Hours Percent of Total
1 16.6 58 %
2 9.1 32
3 1.4 5
4 1.3 5
5 0.0 0
28.4 100 %

Torbjorn (yes, I have signed up for another year with Torbjorn Karlsen) said I was doing too much Zone 1 training - I need to do more in Zone 2 (or even Zone 3 if I'm feeling good) during my distance sessions. Zone 1 is great for building up capillaries, but for as few hours as I'm training, I need to stress my heart more. 

What does this mean for June? I'll be increasing the difficulty of my distance sessions, mostly on the uphills. 

I also moved my running time trial course to another location - I was trying to avoid the horseflies on trail I used last year. Unfortunately, I didn't like my choice: the trail was too flat. Then I got thinking: I'm training for races, and training time trials are essentially race training - I should be looking for a course that duplicates a ski race course. So I moving my time trial course to  loop at Kensington Metropark that has lots of hills. 

[If you know the park, here's the route I'm thinking about: Starting on the shoulder of the road, l run up the steepest hill on the park road (the soccer fields on my left), dart right across a flat to the top of the toboggan runs, run down the toboggan hill and across a short flat, head right and up another park road to the top of the scenic outlook hill, hang right and down a steep-ish XC ski trail, turning right when I reach the bottom, run a flat section back to the bottom of the original hill, then finish at the top of the hill. If that's not enough time (20-30 minutes), I'll keep on going...]

June's Training Plan

In May, I was averaging about 1 "quality" session a week - intervals and pace training. The June training plan doubles the number of quality sessions a week. That doesn't necessarily mean they're really hard sessions. For example, today I did 3-7-3-7 minute intervals with a 3 minute rest between. The 3 minute intervals were in the lower part of zone 4; the 7 minute ones were in the upper part of zone 3. These were not all-out efforts. Similarly, the time trials I run this month (both running and rollerski time trials) start at a relatively easy pace and increase in difficulty only during the second half of the session.

I've been making good progress with weight training. I just wish I had time to do more. For June, I'm doing some of the sets with heavier weights and fewer reps - only 5-6 reps instead of the 12-15 I was doing last month. I'm still trying to move the weights at ski speeds - no slow body builder type lifting.

So, the changes for this month are:

  • Spend more quality time with my wife.
  • Reduce time spent in Zone 1 and increase time spent in Zone 2.
  • Relatively easy quality sessions, twice a week.
  • Use heavier weights and fewer reps on some of the weight machines.

Happy training!