Red Trail Up Close | Tanglewood | New York
My approach to this series of trail runs has been sub optimal for maximizing performance. Running two hard runs on back to back days is not likely to provide consistently improved performance on each subsequent run. But you run when you can run.
It is dark before I leave for work. And it is essentially dark when I get home from work this time of year. So weekends are the time I have available to hit the trails and run hard. I am trying to maximize that time. Run hard on the two days each week I have available to get it done.
This was my 4th attempt to run the Red Trail at Tanglewood Nature Center with a hard effort. I had managed to improve my times on each of the previous efforts. I thought that I still had room to improve on this run if I could have all aspects of my running clicking at the same time.
The place I thought I could improve on this attempt over my previous and fastest attempt was the first mile. My last attempt my first mile was slower than on another attempt but the other two miles were the same or faster. So, it I wanted this run to be faster I needed to dial in the first mile.
I started off running hard. I ran the first big decent fairly aggressively. Then I began the subsequent climb. I did not have the strength or energy I needed for that climb today. By the time the one mile mark clicked by I was even slower on the first mile than I was on my previous attempt.
The only way I would beat my previous time would be to get significantly faster on the next two miles. I was not sure that would be possible for me.
I tried to run hard for the second mile. But, I needed to keep in mind that I had to modulate my effort a little so I had something left in the tank for the big climb at the end. I would need to shave time off there as well, so I couldn’t be exhausted when I got there.
And then it happened. I tripped and I fell. It was more like a skid or slide somehow. It wasn’t a bad fall. I basically slid across the rocky ground on my right hip and thing. I was able to pop right back up and keep running.
This fall was so funny to me. Not, ha ha funny, but odd funny, because I have been having issues with my ankles lately and my biggest concern has been twisting an ankle and falling. But that concern has centered around falling while running aggressively on a decent.
But of course I fell on a relatively flat section of trail. I actually rarely have fallen on a decent. When I fall it is typically on a flat section that shouldn’t really be a problem. I have many theories as to why that may be.
Even though the fall didn’t slow me down too much it was plenty enough to make it unlikely I would be able to take any time off my fastest run on this attempt. I would need to shave around one minute off my mile three time from last run which meant I’d have to go even faster up the big climb at the end too. This being my second run in two days and having taken minor damage from my fall it did not seem likely.
I decided to not push so aggressively on mile three. It made sense to back off on the climb. I ran the beginning of the climb and the end of the climb where it levels out. But I power hiked the steepest parts.
I decided the best strategy was to treat the rest of the run like a training workout and not like a race. Get a good workout, but don’t stress the body too hard. Try to optimize for building and then recovery.
If I can get the benefits of hard workout, but also try to maximize my upcoming recover that is where I needed to focus. I did not want to break myself down with a max effort on an attempt that was not going to yield the results I wanted in all likelihood.
I wanted to set myself up for being as healthy and ready as possible for my next attempt in a week.
See you soon Red Trail.
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