Sunday, February 26, 2012

CDR Training Week One & Two - Slow Jaunt Into The Abyss

A view of Grande Cache from one point of the Death Race

The training has begun, its kind of funny, I have never been one to dedicate my life around training for anything. But for some reason this is different, I have a goal that a few years ago I would of been rolling on the ground laughing if somebody said I would be doing. I have been running for going on two and a half years now, and it all started because of beer. Yeah you heard me beer was my motivator to start running, and now 2 1/2 years later, I am still running and still enjoying my beer. Anyway that is a topic for another day, this is all about diving into the training regime that I am planning for the up and coming adventure called 'The Canadian Death Race - 2012 Edition'.

Now, in case you did not pick up on the name of this blog, we are from Winnipeg, Manitoba, our biggest mountain (*cough*-hill) is a old garbage dump located within the city limits, affectionately known to all the runners around here as 'Garbage Hill'. Even though it is not high, it does have some steeper sections that can be used for some basic hill training. Now yes, being able to go up is very important with all the grade increases, but the one area that everybody seems to forget is the 'down'. Running downhill is in my opinion the more complicated of the two and the one you need to prepare for the most as this is the area where you can either win or lose a race (or in my case, finish or not finish). To give you a perspective from someone that is not comfortable going full out down a hill, unlike Nicole who loves the downhill, these are the reasons that you need to develop this skill.
  • First of all, running downhill puts the most stress on your legs of any type of running. From your quads, to your knees, to your ankles, running downhill will work all these components and if they are not ready for it, you are asking for trouble. Basically your legs take a pounding and without your legs working at full capacity, you could very well make an early exit from the event, and no one wants that.
  • Running downhill on technical terrain is mentally challenging as well, you focus more intensely to ensure you miss that loose rock or not step into that hole or ground crack. I would hate to see someone lying on the trail writhing in pain with a snapped leg or broken ankle, because first of all their race is done and I would have to stop to help because that is just the way I roll.
  • If you cannot properly make your way down a big hill or incline, you will waste valuable time and energy that could make the difference in finishing or not. I would hate to be pulled from a race because I didn't make cut off due to taking to much time going down a hill. I would never forgive myself.
Don't want to look like this

would rather look like this

Not so sure about the socks though.

With this in mind, and with the help of some previous Death Race participants, I have found this great blog from Andy Dubois's: Mile 27 Personal Training on training for the Downhill. It is full of great information and also includes a great training insert from his regime for one of his 100 milers. I will be using this as a supplement so I can tackle Leg 4, and kill it. As this is Winnipeg, we will be tackling a lot of stairs over the next few months. A great thing is that Dan works for a company that has a office tower, so we will be doing quite a few sessions in the 21 storey building exit stairwell to get those quads fine tuned.

Another drill that I will be using is utilizing a tread mill at a 7 to 10 incline while walking backwards (thanks to Kevan Rapley for the idea). This is another great way to get those quads working with a similar effort to running downhills. I will be starting this a couple times a week at the YMCA, and will report on how it is working. I expect a whole bunch of weird looks from the people around me, but that's ok I run in socks on the treadmill too, so what's a few more looks.

The last and my absolute favorite (can you hear the sarcasm in my typing) is lunges, lots of lunges. Front lunges, backwards lunges, lunges with weights, lunges with a slosh tube, lunges, lunges, lunges. I will be doing so many lunges that Carolyn my trainer will be pleading me to stop trying to do lunges while she is getting me to perform a plank.

Hey why am I wearing shoes and what happened to my hair.

 As I noted training has begun, I am currently ramping up my mileage (with the help of the 120 day challenge), working on speed and tempo runs with City Park Runners (thanks Erick, Cheryll, Wayne and the gang) and of course my running partners (Ramona, Judy, Anita, Sarah and Stephaine - yes they are all women, and I would not have it any other way, so much more fun then running with guys). Core training is being handled by Carolyn, beer drinking is being developed with the WH3 (Winnipeg Chapter of the Hash House Harriers). Of course the running push is also being brought on by Mark (a solo runner of this years CDR), who is also helping me push along a little quicker on Saturdays and will partake in a few training runs to the Whiteshell this summer. The CDR training camp is in the schedule for all of us, to give us a first hand experience of the course prior to the big day. We are well on our way, but there is lots of training to do ahead of us, because I really want to see this sign: 

 and Nicole to see this one:

and all of us to see this:

That time would be nice too.


  1. Who knew that beer could be such a motivator? I may have to investigate this further. :)

  2. Yes, beer can be quite the modivator, I have finished the odd run with a cold frosty beverage. Even ran a few with the treat at mid run.