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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