- I've started a concentrated focus on strengthening my core. A strong mid-section is instrumental to increasing endurance and survival in ultra events. One way I've started doing this is by working on the TA (transverses-abdominus) isometric contraction. It is a gentle contraction of the deep abdominal stabilizing muscle fibers while maintaining a stable back position. Those muscles are the ones at the bottom of your abdominal muscles in between your front pelvic bones. If you lay on your back, slightly arch your back and tighten your abs towards your belly button, you should be able to feel it tighten. There's a detailed explanation on how to find it and work on it in March 2009's edition of Trail Runner magazine on pages 23/24. It's really the central point that connects your lower extremities to your upper body. Since running is an all-body exercise, strengthening this area is key to success and remaining injury-free. I am also mixing in varied crunches and abdominal stretches throughout each week focusing on high/mid/low/side areas. Good for running but great for swimsuit season, too...right?!?
- The Covered Bridge FA 50K is next Saturday at Mill Creek Park in Youngstown. It's one of many things that NEO Trail organizes and should be tons of fun. Normally, I take down-weeks after big weeks (like this week which will approach 60 miles) but this next week will be the exception. I'll be starting at 6am at the Old Log Cabin. The CBFA50K will be on the URINEO and YUT-C courses. To bring forth some feelings of spring, I recalled the pic on the left from last year's YUT-C 50K. It's nice to remember what it's like to see green leaves on the trees.
- This has been a great week of training. With warm temps yesterday, I only wore shorts and a short-sleeve shirt which was incredibly refreshing. It was nice to feel the sweat dripping off my forehead again. The day before, I had a really good 8.5 mile tempo run averaging 7:15-7:45 pace. I'm trying to get in at least one run per week where I get my heartrate up and push myself. I try to make every run unique and not run the same 'ol, same 'ol pace each and every day...boring, for sure, and less overall training value.
- Be watching the Vertical Runner Discussion Board on Tuesday morning and your e-mail inbox as the March 2009 edition of the Western Reserve Trail Running e-Newsletter goes to "press." I had a great Q&A with Suzanne Pokorny as next month's featured local trail runner. Suzanne is a veteran ultra-runner and volunteer coordinator of the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run on August 1/2.
- I'm considering running the Cleveland Marathon as part of my last major mileage weekend before Kettle Moraine. It's 3 weeks out before the event. If I did it, I'd run about 90min - 120min of trails on Saturday then run the marathon easy on Sunday and support many of you running the marathon. However, I don't know if this is smart to do. I'm not sure if I should instead be doing a very long trail run this weekend, instead. I wouldn't mind hearing some experienced opinions. Either comment here or e-mail would be appreciated.
Spring is coming....Happy Trails!