Athlete: Asher Catterall
Prescribed Workout: “Long run with vertical focus”.
Result: 15.1 miles, 3h 14m w/ 6,230ft of elevation gain.
Unlike the 10 x 800 we did the previous week, this run was all about getting specific. When Asher toes the line for the USATF 50km trail championships, he’ll take on 50km with over 6,000ft of elevation. Asher is smart enough to where I can simply ask him to get specific and he knows what that means. These days are so challenging, that I’m a really big fan in taking things mile by mile. You can go into a day like this expecting to be on your feet for 2:00-4:00 hours with climbing, but I’m not a believer in things being too structured. No set miles, no set time on feet. On days like today, Asher is out there with total freedom on how much to climb, and how long to be on his feet. Just like any interval workout on the track, you’ve got to be willing to adapt. You’ve got to know when to extend a long run, and when to turn things in to fight another day. This day was a good day for Asher. Most of this was in 8″ of snow! He gained as much volume as he will in the race, in half the distance.
For now, I feel comfortable saying that there’s no way to really prepare for the “long stuff” and the elevation gain without going out and suffering on hills in a similar matter. For Asher to compete with some of the best trail runners in the country, he’ll need to have played in their world some, which is precisely the reason for a “workout” such as this. Practicing the ability to run downhill while already tired – is a skill we are trying to learn. With having spent the better half of the year focusing on the roads, February 16th will be an exciting day.