Tuesday, April 23, 2013

varied terrain and a different town

"I don't understand why more elites don't train here in Tucson. You get a lot of gain and A TON of technical terrain. I mean, this is a damn good work out!"
I'm not sure how many times I said that to my friends in Tucson, but this past week I believe that quandary solved itself. For instance, today I ran out of my apartment door here in Ashland, 2 miles down the street to downtown, up a side trail, then up and up and up. All runnable single track. I ended up running for 2 hours with over 3,000ft EG (quite a bit more gain than I would have gotten on any 2 hour run in Sabino Canyon IMHO).
Now, I know what you're probably thinking: "Single track? Runnable? How is that even comparable to technical mountainous terrain?"
It's not! Technical terrain is awesome. It's fun. It's hard. It's beautiful. But I started to think about training and it's relativity to what I'm going to be racing. How often would I race on terrain similar to that which I trained on in Tucson? Never! Well, maybe, if I try Zane Gray or something gnarly like that one year, but the chances of me racing on Tucson-esque terrain are slim to none. Even the races I completed in Arizona weren't technical and my lack of running efficiency became very apparent, especially on a smooth course like OP50.
After joining the RVR Wednesday evening group run here in Ashland, which is a pretty relaxed pace, I realized just how inefficient my leg turn over and speed has become. 
Even today I would stop to catch my breathe at vistas and proclaim "Shit! I'm out of shape!" And yes. I do feel out of shape running here.
What I'm getting at is that I finally feel like I understand why people train in places like Ashland or other running friendly West Coast towns. It seems like the most "popular" or "competitive" ultras are held on somewhat smooth undulating trails with a substantial amount of vert and maybe a bit of technical terrain sporadically throughout to mix things up. So why not train with specificity in mind? It's tougher than you'd think.
I am not that experienced. I never claim to be. I've only been running off and on for 3 years, so these are just some thoughts I've been having on the run and it's nice to get them out there in the blogosphere. 

I'll leave you with some pictures from the move and our new home:


  1. Korey – Ashland sounds (and looks) incredible. I’ve been pushing Mike for a road trip up the coast for a while. When we get around to it, it would be great to stop and explore your neck of the woods!
    And more importantly, your dog appears to be awesome.

  2. Well, by the time you guys are in this neck of the woods we should have a house, so you have a place to stay. We would love to have you up, show you some beautiful trails and wonderful restaurants... and... of course... you can meet the lil man, Diesel