April 2014: The build to Big Sur.
Yep, that’s what April was all about – the final stretch in training for marathon number four. It was a great month of training. Some quality runs, though none completed on trails. Based on my Big Sur race, and in reviewing my April training, I need to do more hill workouts.
I also finalized my 2014 race schedule. With a theme of “Let’s take it to the next level”, it definitely will be a solid 2014 and, for certain, a pretty challenging second half. Woohoo!
I did have a quick biz trip to San Diego. I worked in two runs while there: a 21-miler (last 20+ before Big Sur) and a 10-miler. Both were great!
- HIGH: Ran my fourth marathon and finished with a new PR by 18 seconds.
- LOW: Not really a LOW; but, based on Big Sur, I discovered that my training needs to include more hill work.
As far as new equipment & such:
- Altra The One shoes. With the mileage on my Altra 3-Sums getting up there, I picked up a pair of their The One lightweight running shoes. They actually are similar to the triathlon-focused 3-Sum and only a half ounce heavier. I really like The Ones as they do fit similarly to the 3-Sum; however, they seem to be cut slightly different which results in a weird gathering of the upper when I lace them. I still like the way the feel and run. These are the shoes I wore for Big Sur and my feet felt great at the finish. The one change I did make was switching out the stock laces with some Lock Laces that I got free a while back. The stock laces were too long and I liked the speed laces on the 3-Sum version. Altra just came out with a new version of this shoe that is getting rave reviews. I am at 156 miles in these right now, so I will definitely get a pair of The One2 to have waiting in the wings. I seem to have switched to mostly Altra shoes at this point, using their Lone Peak 1.5 for trail, the Instinct 1.5 for general training, and the 3-Sum and The One for training and races. Altra has also recently come out with some maximalist shoes that I may try at some point, since I really like the zero-drop/wide toe box aspects of their design.
- Lock Laces. See above. Like them and may use the extra pair I have on my Altra Instinct 1.5s.
- Tailwind Nutrition. This is a quick take on this, as I plan to write a review post about Trailwind at some point. I had been reading about Tailwind on Twitter and Facebook a lot and decided to give it a try, looking at using it instead of my usual gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink mix for Big Sur and beyond, if it worked out. This stuff worked as advertised. I didn’t miss the gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo at all. In fact, even though I didn’t really have stomach issues with the gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo, I always seemed to have mild diarrhea after a long run or race distances over 13.1 (since I would ingest more quantities.) I think my stomach just couldn’t handle the combo, though the result was quite a bit milder than some I’ve read about who have switched to Tailwind. I really like the mild taste (Mandarin Orange is my fav) and it dissolves very fast. When I did my 21-miler in San Diego and again with Big Sur, I had absolutely no stomach issues and felt fueled sufficiently. The biggest thing was that I didn’t miss then gels, salt tabs, and electrolyte drink combo at all, which was a concern. I was nervous about not taking the salt tabs, as the have been good at controlling/minimizing/preventing cramping in my calves; but with Tailwind, I had no cramping on the 21-miler or on Big Sur. Bottom line, this is a really great product, with a personable owner – they include a note in each shipment and even write your name on the packaging, just for that personal touch. More to follow about my use of Tailwind in a subsequent post – probably after my June 50K.
- The North Face Better Than Naked Long Haul Shorts. My utmost, go to, favorite running shorts have been out of production for a while now: ASICS’ 55 Running Short. I love having 5 pockets! I have a good supply of them for training, even a few stashed for the future, but have been looking for an alternative short for a while. I picked up a pair of TNF Long Hauls and liked them, though they did seem to cause some light chaffing on my left thigh because of a seam on the inner liner – nothing that some Glide couldn’t combat though. They wear well and the pockets are great. If I didn’t have a good supply of the ASICSs, I’d consider working these in, though probably only on long runs and races – they are pretty pricey.
- A run-focused training plan:
- MON: 8-10 mile run
- TUE: 20 mile bike
- WED-FRI: 5-10 mile runs
- SAT: REST!
- SUN: Long Run – 12-26 miles
- 4/27: Big Sur International Marathon [report]