Lessons from Training for CM6
1. Steady Eddy. When I trained for Hardcore 100 I put in two massive 3 weeks blocks of 374 km (16,000 m vertical) and 402 km (18,600m) respectively. I was exhausted after these blocks and even more fatigued after the second, which was bad, as the second finished just weeks before the race. For CM6 I kept it much more consistent. Instead of ramping it up over a 3 week build (ie 97 km, 120 km, 161 km), I kept each week roughly the same: 96km, 100 km, and 91 km. Total for the 3 week block was 287 km and 13,400 m of vertical. As you can see this is over 100 km less than my biggest block for H100. The difference this time was that I finished my final block feeling refreshed and happy; I comfortably could have done another week at 90-100 km. I entered CM6 feeling excited to run, which was not the case for H100. There is a time to push the boundaries, but I feel that keeping training consistent and steady will yield a happier athlete over the long run, which will ultimately lead to greater improvements.
2. Company is amazing. I was fortunate to do my final four big runs with my buddy Ben, as well as a few local Thai runners. Appreciate having a training partner. For me it went a long way and greatly added to my success at CM6.
3. One big run trumps two shorter ones. For H100 my Saturday Sunday runs were each roughly 5 hours. For CM6 I opted to do just one long day of roughly 10 hours or so. The latter was way better. I got to explore farther into Doi Suthep and I felt more confident going into the race with a few 50km days under my belt.
4. Focus on the long run. For H100 my long runs suffered because I trained too much during the week. For CM6 I eased the training during the week (most notably in the gym) to set myself up for a good long run. It worked stupendously. Being able to fly down the last descent after 10 hours of running is an incredible feeling.
4B. Load up on sodium. This is relating to the long run. I found that by loading up on sodium rich and water rich foods the night before my long run allowed me to go 10 hours in hot weather without the need for supplemental sodium. Remember “loading up” is a relative term. For me this was a dinner of mango tomato soup with 400 grams of celery.
4C. Deadlifts on Monday, long run on Saturday. Still on the long run. I am still experimenting with strength training and how it best fits into an endurance program. This I know: heavy deadlifts tax the CNS (central nervous system) which can temporarily slow reaction time (but later improves it), which in turn can make the legs less responsive on a long run. Doing one deadlift session a week at around 80-90% maintained my strength yet still left enough mojo for the long run.
7. Intermittent fasting works wonders for weight loss. I lost 2 kg over 2 months without even trying. I ate two meals a day and usually within 6 to 8 hours of each other. First meal was watermelon. Second meal was cucumbers or a salad with mangos.
8. DO NOT run a 5km TT on a treadmill barefoot. I did this and my feet felt fine, but as soon as I got off the treadmill, my feet were fire. I looked at the bottom of my feet and they were completely red. Over the next couple of weeks I lost massive chunks of skin off the bottoms of my feet.
9. Tighten your butt when doing planks. This will greater engage your core and improve form.
10. Mango Island was amazing for injury recovery. I ate nothing but mangos for 14 days and during this time I was recovering from a shoulder and neck injury I sustained at H100. Mono eating drastically speed up my recovery.
Going forward: I had a great race, but there is always room for improvements and experimenting. Here is where I feel I can improve and also a few things I’d like to try.
1. Road runs. My trail legs were dialled for CM6, but my road legs were neglected. I think if I had included some Z2 or tempo road runs, focusing on turnover, that I would have been able to move much quicker on some of the more runnable sections of CM6.
2. Run uphill. I aced my downhill speed runs, but was less enthusiastic about doing some hard intervals on the climbs. This is something that needs to be done.
3. Strength: More volume, less weight. Instead of training at 80-95% I want to try training more in the 40-80% range with the emphasis on 70%, while increasing strength frequency. According to Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel Tsatsouline, training strength in the 70% range can yield a greater max while reducing stress on the CNS.