Salmon Falls 50k Training Kickoff and Week 1 Recap

After my main marathon or ultra of the year, I usually wait a few months before jumping back into training. I’ll volunteer at a bunch of races, run here or there, but I’ll enjoy the down time and not focus on what’s next quite yet.

Now here I am, less than a month after Skyline to the Sea 50k, kicking off my training for my next ultra. What gives?

First of all, while I did all the training runs and was really happy with my performance on race day, my Skyline training left me feeling resoundingly meh. I don’t feel like I need to take a break from training because I don’t feel like I was ever really overwhelmed, stressed out, or overly exhausted from the training to begin with.

Secondly, even in the few weeks I did take off, I could feel myself getting way too comfortable being lazy. The longer I let myself chill, the easier it is to chill, and the harder it is to start running again. So it seems like a good idea to start training again.

So Salmon Falls, here I come!

Why Salmon Falls 50k?

When I was looking for my next challenge, I was looking for a marathon or ultra that was local(ish), was in the spring, wasn’t a multiple loop course, and didn’t have a ton of climbing (many bay area trail marathons and ultras climb well over 5000 feet).

I wasn’t coming up with many options, in fact, most of the local spring races I looked at had well over 8000 feet of climbing.

Nope.

I’ll confess I hadn’t even heard of Salmon Falls 50k a few months ago, but then 3 runners in totally different circumstances, totally unknown to each other (at least to the best of my knowledge) each mentioned it as one of their favorite local(ish) ultras.

All the runners who talked about it said it was a well-organized small race with good swag.

It’s point-to-point course starting in Coloma (in the Sacramento foothills) and ending where my spring ultra (AR50) ended at Folsom Lake. It climbs just under 3000 feet.

The best part?

The race is on leap day.

I don’t know why I fell in love with the idea of a leap day race as much as I did, but once I saw that, I was in.

Sure, February is earlier than would be ideal for my next big thing, but a leap day race more than makes up for it.

The Return of the Recaps

I didn’t do training recaps for the Skyline 50k.

I figured I’d been there, done that. The effort it takes to put them together, combined with how few people read them (other than my parents – hi mom & dad!), didn’t make it worth my time.

But looking back, it’s clear that the meh-ness of my Skyline training is in part due to not doing the recaps.

These recaps make me focus on my training and my training goals. I have to consider my runs, how I experienced them, and what I’m thinking about during my training.

Plus, I find it harder to skip workouts (read: strength work) when I’m going to have to document that I didn’t do it. Even if no one but me will read those words, it’s easier to just do the stupid workout than it is to write down I didn’t do it because I didn’t feel like it.

So, recaps it is.

Upcoming Challenge

This winter will be the first full training cycle where I’ll be training for two events at once (sort of).

Beginning in late November, I’m going to be a pacer and coach for my running club’s Oakland Marathon training program, so my long runs will be split: I’ll head out with the group and do the run with them, then head back out and do additional miles.

I did a little of this in the spring when I was pacing and training for AR50, but that was such an unusual training cycle that didn’t start until well after the group runs were under way (which is not even remotely the right way to train for a 50 mile race, but I won the race entry at the end of January, so it was a last-minute training plan), so the plans didn’t overlap much.

Physically, I know this will be fine.

Mentally, I know it will be a challenge. The main reason I don’t like multi-loop courses is because once I’m back to the start, or back to my car, or wherever, I think of myself as being done. I hate heading back out.

However, it will be good practice for fueling with real food since the club will have post-run snacks (usually fruit, pretzels, baked goods like cookies and muffins- very aid stationy stuff). While I’ll have two-part long runs, there will be a catered intermission.

All that said, I don’t yet know how big of logistics challenge this will actually be. I haven’t yet compared my training plan distances to the group run distances and routes.

Salmon Falls 50k Training

Training goals for this training cycle:

  • Strength work 2x week. I’ve found what works for me is to do shorter, body area focused, strength work: 10 minutes of core work one day, 10 minutes of legs another. While it may not be as effective as a solid 30 minutes of total body work twice a week, for me, shorter, more focused workouts are much more likely to actually happen.
  • When pacing starts, hit my goal pace (likely 10:30 min/mile, but final pacing assignments are still TBD) on group runs
  • Run 1 new route per week. I’m falling back into a route rut, I need to consciously do new options.
  • 2 trail runs (or hilly road runs). My biggest shortcoming in Skyline training this year was that I didn’t do nearly enough trail runs or runs with lots of elevation gain in training. 
  • Regular mobility/flexibility work (things like yoga, foam rolling, stretching). I won’t define ‘regular’ but I’ll know it when I do it (or not).

The Plan vs. Reality: Week 1

My training plan is still in flux a bit.

I’ve laid out a basic plan, but I’m trying out a few new things this training cycle. While I always review and adapt my training plan as I go;This training cycle, I’ll likely be switching it up more often as I go based on what is (and is not) working.

 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
PlanMobility4miles
Core
Hilly 44 milesYoga8 miles Rest
ActualRace Ready Hips video4 miles
10 minutes core
4 miles w/ so many stair repeats4 miles
leg strength
Yoga for Runners8 milesRest

Area of Focus This Week

Find the rhythm of getting back into training.

The Week That Was

Monday

The bay area is again cloaked in smoke from wildfires up in Napa.

I slept terribly last night, waking up often to the strong smell of smoke (think campfire – I enjoy campfires much less now that I’ve gotten used to the smell meaning the state is on fire).

The smell and the haze has gotten better throughout the morning, but if it stays bad this week, I may choose to not run much (if at all) this week and officially kick off my training next week.

As it is, I did the ’Race Ready Hips’ video from JasYoga’s YouTube channel. It’s a 20 minute video focused (not surprisingly) on hip mobility.

It felt really good. I always resist doing yoga and mobility work, and I almost always feel so much better after.

When will I learn?

Tuesday

Felt terrible on my run this morning.

It could be the air quality (it is much better than yesterday, but still not great), it could be just getting back into the rhythm of running regularly, or it could just be one of those runs.

After the run, I did the Nike Training Club ‘Core Strength’ video. A quick little pilates based core workout. Every time I do this video, I remember that I need to look up modifications for the teaser since I still don’t have the core strength to do it the ‘right’ way. While I love the NTC app, they aren’t great about addressing beginner modifications in any of their workouts.

Update: See? Restarting these recaps has already benefited my workouts. Just as I wrote that sentence I realized I’m sitting here at the computer, look it up now!

Wednesday

My plan is to have Wednesday be one of my trail/hill days. For mid-week trail runs, I usually go to one of the local East Bay Regional Parks. There is a wide variety of them and many are fairly close.

However, all parks are closed through Thursday due to wind damage and fire risk.

Instead, I decided to do my usual route, adding in many, many round trips on the Cleveland Cascade, a large staircase just off Lake Merritt.

I hated every step of it, but it’s a very efficient way to get elevation work done.

Thursday

Happy Halloween!

I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a huge fan of Halloween. I don’t hate it or anything, but it’s charms are lost on me. Can someone please explain to me the draw of a haunted house? No part of it looks enjoyable.

I blame growing up in Minnesota. No matter how amazing my costume was gonna be, I knew it would be covered up by a heavy coat.

I did my run this morning, ending up a brand new neighborhood Target that opened up about a mile from me just last week. I was curious to check out what they have (they get a lot of stuff in a really small footprint!).

Since I was there, I gave in and got supplies for my holiday guilty pleasure – candy corn and dry roasted peanuts.

For strength work, I’m trying a few new videos and apps to see if I can find an option that resonates with me.

Today I did ’Single Leg Strength Training for Marathon Runners’ from the Run Experience’s YouTube channel.

Meh.

It had a few good form points for single leg squats, but it was more informational than a workout.

Friday

I like yoga, but here’s the thing. I hate, hate, hate down-dog, specifically when it’s done as part of the sun salutation series.

It bores me to tears.

There are some yoga classes and videos I’ve done that are a solid 60% sun salutation series.

Nope.

Nothing will get me to quit a yoga video faster than realizing I’m in for a solid twenty minutes or more of the same 5 moves over and over (and over and over).

I’m always on the hunt for yoga options that are sun salutation series free.

JasYoga has been good for that, and today’s selection from the Yoga by Adriene YouTube Channel ‘Yoga for Runners – physical and mental stamina’ also fits the bill.

Nary a down dog in sight! Yeah.

This video will for sure be added to my yoga video short list.

Saturday

The morning was volunteering at Brazen Racing’s Summit Stomp – hanging out at the summit of Mt. Diablo, eating snacks (volunteers get free-range of the very well-stocked aid tables), cheering on runners, and refilling hydration packs.

At the summit, we only saw the 30k runners who were all very glad to see us after climbing nearly 4000 feet to the summit.

This year, we only had one half marathon runner who took a (very) wrong turn and made his way to us. After showing him the course map and giving him his options (basically, running the 30k or waiting 3+ hours for us to give him a ride back) he grudgingly resigned to his fate of running his first 30k.

After my volunteer shift, I did my own run.

I really wasn’t in the mood to run and considered pushing it to Sunday, but I had a hunch I wasn’t gonna be any more in the mood on Sunday than I was then, so I may as well get it over with (that’s the spirit!).

Sunday

Most weeks, I’ll be doing back-to-back Saturday-Sunday long runs, but since I’m just getting back into the swing of things, I figured I’d start back in slow and give myself an extra rest day.

Ahhh…. rest days!

Week Overall

Overall, a pretty good week.

While the air stayed not great all week, it also never really got bad.

I didn’t get on any trails, but that was more because of extenuating environmental circumstances than my own choices. However, I did do the next best urban alternative and got in my elevation work via tons of stairs.

Next Week: Week 2

Schedule

 MondayTuesdayWednesdayThursdayFridaySaturdaySunday
PlanMobility3 miles
Core
4 miles w/ hill repeats4 miles
lower body
yoga9 miles6 miles
ActualYoga3 miles
strength
4 mi w/ hill repeats3 milesstrengthrest9 miles

Area of Focus

Another week of getting back into the rhythm of training and figuring out the right workouts, timing, and options to make sure the various workouts all get done.

Sara is a runner, running coach, writer, blogger, and a lover of all things written.

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