6 days out from race. Should I?

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  • #44357

    My A Race is coming up 6 days from now (Pike’s Peak Marathon). I’m hanging out in Leadville trying to acclimate my sea level build to help and I have my last decent (10m) run of my taper on my calendar today. There is a 14er (Mt Sherman) nearby that has a round-trip course of about 4m and 2000′ of gain/loss. This will take me roughly the same amount of time as my “run” (maybe a bit more) and will be more race-specific than just running somewhere rolling. Bonus points for being able to tag a 14er on a relatively short hike. I’m concerned about beating my legs up too much with that much descent although 2m of big descent could be similar to 10m of rolling terrain. Thus the waffling decision.

    I have about 5 hours to make a decision as I’m targeting later this afternoon. What’s the advice on this?

Posted In: Mountain Running

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    Aamm on #44358

    It seems like the draw is to tag a 14er. A single race specific training session this close to the race really won’t have much impact on your performance. It seems like with your concern about beating up your legs, it might have a negative impact.

    I’d stick with the run you know will be a good taper, and tag the 14er after the race.

    briguy on #44376

    Thanks for the sound advice. But I didn’t follow it. 🙂

    I couldn’t resist really. The trailhead was 20min from my Airbnb and at only 4.4m roundtrip I knew it wouldn’t represent too taxing a workout. Plus, it’s hard to find an “easy” 10m here in Leadville at 10000′ anyway. I’m also flying out the day after PPM so no chance to tag any 14ers post-race, even if my destroyed legs would let me.

    FWIW here’s how it went. I did Mt Sherman from Iowa Gulch, the first quarter mile or so descends a bit, crosses a creek and then begins ascending a scree field for the remainder of the mile. Because of the steepness, traction was problematic in a few places and I was glad I opted to bring some poles with me (I don’t race PPM with poles). I kept HR bouncing between Z1 and Z2 and effort level felt fairly easy. Spent a few minutes chatting with a descending hiker gathering some intel on what was to come (previously, near the creek, I encountered a married couple saying that the mtn “destroyed them” and they had turned back when the scrambling got too rough). 1st mile completed in about 32min, with a total ascent of 741′.

    After that, it was all climbing in the next mile, often scrambling up a rock/scree field with some extremely steep segments forcing me off-trail and onto rocks for better footing. Near the end of the mile it leveled off onto a saddle until the final summit at 14040ish feet. This mile included an astounding elevation gain of 1247 feet and I completed it in 42 minutes.

    There was about .2m left to go to the actual summit, I hung out about 5min taking in the scenery and eating/drinking then made my descent. Unsurprisingly the descent was very easy cardio wise and I had the most trouble maintaining footing in the scree field, often “skiing” down sideways through steep sections. My total return only took about 50min, very little of it actually runnable which was fine as I didn’t want to overstress my legs.

    I’m glad I did it. My Training-Peaks-like software (Sporttracks) rated the workout pretty similar to what I had scheduled for the day so given the fact I didn’t injure myself I call it a win.

    Anonymous on #44857

    A couple of thoughts:

    First, within six weeks of a goal event, most of your fitness has already been done. The goal then is to add some icing; for better or worse, the cake is already baked. Playing defence is the best course of action. To paraphrase Renato Canova, “In the specific period, there isn’t much you can do to increase the final performance. But there’s a lot you can do to screw it up.”

    Second, if you’d like feedback on training close to a goal event, it’s best to post it here well in advance of the event. The chance of use responding within five hours is possible but unlikely.

    briguy on #44888

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Yeah, I figured the likelihood of a response was low given the quick timeframe but thought ‘ya never know’ and I got lucky and Aamm saw the post and responded. Obviously I would’ve liked to have pre-thought this scenario weeks in advance but that was kinda the point of the question, I found myself in this scenario and thought should I or shouldn’t I?

    And I probably stated my post poorly, I wasn’t expecting that particular workout/ascent to magically add any fitness, just that it wouldn’t hurt my situation. Turns out it was a good fit and I’m very glad I ended up doing it. Sometimes you have to just grab an opportunity when it presents itself.

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