At the end of my itty-bitty XC season I came to the conclusion that what I really need to get back to in training is building STRENGTH.

I then promptly took a week off to spend time coughing up my lungs and lounging about whenever I wasn’t required to be in the lab or teaching. Oops…

However, so far the “comeback” from my days off seems to be going well – my cold is gone, I feel rejuvenated, and my feet are grateful for the break. And, I signed up for a race! Uphill 10k with a 2000+ foot elevation gain!  In 5 weeks! Oh dear. The motivation to build strength just became painfully concrete.

So, how am I going to go about getting some strength work in for this hilly hell-fest? Well, right now I’m building strength by stuffing my face with chips and salsa. Er, I’m *re-fueling* with chips and salsa AFTER a 5 miler in my favorite canyon (3 miles up, 2.5 down & a little cool down walk, ~900 ft elevation gain).


My plan over the next 5 weeks is to add hills, x-training, and some extra leg work:

1) Get in at least 3k ft of elevation gain per week. This means scouting out at least 1 hill on every run – even my 5:30 am slogs.

2) 1 – 2 hilly runs. I plan to hit the canyon once every week and work up to 6 miles up (and maybe convince my darling mountain man or my sis the bun head to drop me off at the bottom, go have a fun hike, and pick me up at the top…). My other hilly run will be a hill workout (reps or uphill tempo) or a hilly long run.

3) Leg strength work. I have a nice, short (4 exercises per set) body-weight/kettlebell routine that I started doing again yesterday. Now I have all the soreness. But soon I’ll have all the MUSCLES!

4) Cross-training. Ugh – I always say I’m going to cross-train and then…I don’t. I just hate it. But if I can stick with it for the next 5 weeks I can get some decent endurance rides in on the stationary bike and that will help me survive my 10k! Just packed my bike shoes to take over to the rec center tomorrow.

Three extra things that are going to help me get into this strength-building routine:

1) My new headlamp! I love this thing – it’s like having a billion fireflies strapped to my forehead. I added the super stylish orange foam to reduce oscillation and forehead pain caused be the narrow, hard backing (now I just get *lovely* forehead sweat). Once winter hits my hat/headband should take care of this issue 🙂


2) This book:


If you’re ever feeling unmotivated to run read Chapter 33. Then go fly 😉

3) ‘Believe’ training journal. I love Strava for recording long-term progress/stats, but paper is nicer for skimming through workouts & notes, penciling in goals/workouts for the week, etc. I was going through my old (paper) training logs from high school the other day & realized how much I miss keeping a (non-computerized) training journal. Plus, Lauren Fleshman possesses ridiculous amounts of speed, badassery, & mad writing skills – maybe some of it will rub off 😉

Hope all my fellow runners have some awesome Fall goals to keep them motivated as we head into October 🙂 Hurrah for Fall races!


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