Questions after first Trail Ultra

  • Creator
  • #10538

    Very blessed to have just been able to complete my first trail ultra (31.8 mi, 6200′ gain, 6700′ loss, vest weight ~11#), looking for some wisdom to improve performance in the future.

    Attached are PMC and detail of the route run. Had to take an unfortunate break from the training volume I would like to have held in the month immediately prior to the event due to some health issues.

    The majority of my train up has been the 24 Week Expeditionary Mountaineering Plan, simply because it best fit the type of fitness I was trying to gain. I found it to be absolutely outstanding, with the climbing/running specific lifts and the very measured and steady approach to building endurance volume. Much respect to the coaches here, I have successfully proselytized several of my fellow Army officers into adopting your style of endurance training with great improvements across the board.

    With respect to the run itself (Kesugi Ridge Traverse in Denali State Park, AK), I was humbled by how much the difficult terrain slowed my partner and I’s pace. Even running downhill we could sometimes not manage faster than a 17’00 split. I believe our pacing and nutrition strategy was sound, no bonking was had and I felt extremely strong hiking fast uphill even out at 24 mi (the result of loaded hill climbs no doubt). That being said, I experienced a locking of sorts in my right knee at about 21 miles that continued for the remainder of the event. It seemed to be located at the juncture of my IT band and outside of my knee and it seemed my leg would not rebound or bend as I commanded it to. Stops to cool it off in snow-fed creeks only seemed to make it bind up tighter. I believe this could have something to do with simple preparedness and my unfortunate drop in volume in the preceding month, and also believe that I might have avoided the issue entirely had I used trekking poles to reduce impact on the downs.

    I am wary of the accuracy of the TSS of 815 (after adding pts for load/elevation gain). My RPE in the beginning of the run was very easy, but my heart rate strap was reading me in at over 200 bpm. Any suggestions on methods to avoid this in the future are much appreciated.

    Looking to shift to a short break in training to focus on some cycling and lower body power before shifting into gear for a season of 40-50k XC ski racing. Suggestions on moving through the transition in the training season would be great.

    Thanks for all that you do to help folks improve and push themselves to new heights.

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Posted In: Mountain Running

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    QuickSteady on #10540

    Route detail

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    Anonymous on #10601

    Congratulations on your success in the race. We’re pleased to hear that the training plan worked well for you. That plan is great for building basic fitness and work capacity. I’m sure you’re right that the uphill weighted carries help you on the uphills. I’m not sure exactly what your question is regarding improving performance in the future. You can certainly repeat this same plan but at a higher volume/load. Each time you go through one of these training cycles you will come out at a higher level.

    As for the HR strap with high readings: That’s usually caused by a dirty strap. Just wash it in warm water and hand soap in the shower. Chances are that will fix it.


    QuickSteady on #10606

    Thanks Scott, I apologize for the poorly articulated request. I supposed my most pointed question is to ask what the cause of my knee ‘locking’ might be and how to train to avoid that sort of wall to pacing and performance in the future.

    lionfish90 on #10617

    Awesome work! Congratulations. When my Garmin HR strap and watch read like that, it usually means I need to replace the battery in the strap, so you might see if that fixes it if washing it doesn’t.

    Richie on #10695

    I had similar problems with my HR strap, what I found was that my strap wasn’t moist enough on the contacts. As you sweat the contact improves and your readings become more accurate. Hence the spiking only occurring the beginning of the workout.

    DC Rainmaker has a great article on trouble shooting here: Trouble Shooting HR Spikes

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