There are less than two weeks before the Ridge Run. So what should you be doing to prepare right now? And just as important, what should you avoid doing?
Most Important – Stay Healthy
Getting sick or doing something stupid and getting injured is to be avoided. Keep your immune system up by eating healthy and not overly stressing your system. Avoid excess physical, mental and emotional stress. Get plenty of rest and sleep.
If you live in the local area, avoid traveling to lower elevations. If you don’t live in the area, there is little benefit to traveling here much before the race – exposing yourself to the stress of living in an environment you are not use to. See the previous blog on Altitude Training.
Focus on Preserving Fitness not Gaining Fitness
Your hard long training should be in the bank by now. Adapting to and recovering from long endurance type workouts takes many weeks. So doing a long run now (much longer than one hour), has little benefit on your endurance. Near term, it will lead to fatigue, soreness, risk of injury and a weaker state – things to be avoided.
Strength gains also take many weeks. So doing hard strength type workouts (weights, sprints – short full speed intervals) will have little or no benefit and may actually leave you sore and weaker come race day.
Cardiovascular adaption and improvement can take place fairly shortly in a matter of weeks. This is one area of fitness that you can improve a little leading up to the race. Your workouts should be low impact but cardiovascular challenging such as tempo runs, hill repeats and longer moderate speed intervals.
Keep on Training
The body tends to de-train and loose fitness fairly rapidly. You should not take off from training more than two days in a row. In these last two weeks, I personally never take more than one day off. I drastically shorten and lighten my training, but keep the intensity up and will try and do a little something every day.
Keep on Quad Conditioning
Keep your quads conditioned to the down hills. You should have been doing at least two workouts a week on steep trails making sure your quads get eccentrically loaded going downhill. Continue to do this. Short workouts from the M trail head up above the M and back down the steep way are important even the week before the race. Your last training that incorporates a short steep downhill should be a few days before the race.
Get Your Equipment in Order
Weather conditions for the Ridge Run have varied from snow to rain to heat to fog to smoke to high winds to dead calm – just about anything you can imagine. Temperatures have been as low as mid 20’s to as high as mid 90’s. So plan out some various clothing options that will work. See the previous blog post on equipment.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
Check the weather in the days and day before the Race. Remember that temperature forecasts for the Bozeman area need to be adjusted for the elevation difference. Typically it will be 4 degrees cooler for every 1,000 feet in elevation gain. The valley floor is about 5000 feet, the high point at Sacajawea is 9,600 feet. So the temperature up there can be 15 to 20 degrees cooler.