Monday, January 24, 2011
Saturday Run at Oak Mountain.
This is how you train for 100 runs in the Rockies if you live someplace like Birmingham, Alabama.
Saturday I did my usual hill repeat training run at Oak Mountain State Park, just a few miles from my house. I start at the North Trail Head and follow the White Trail to "Maggie's Glen," shown at the start of the first video. I run from Maggie's Glen up the "White Trail" climbing 500 feet in three-quarters of a mile. This is the best continuous climb in the park and this is how I train for runs like Leadville and Wasatch. I ran 8 repeats on the trail from the bottom at Maggie's to where the trail levels out before heading back to Shackleford Point, the highest point in the park. After the hill repeats I ran a loop through the park for about another one and a half hours for a total run of 4 hours, 39 minutes and 54 sec.
Each climb takes me about 12:30 and I walk up three short sections of the run. The first is near the bottom, where the first video stops. These three sections are very steep and I walk these sections so I can run consistent times on all 8 reps. I start running by the creek in Maggie's Glen in the clip above. The run begins with a gentle climb for about 100 yards followed by a short but steep section. After that, the trail climbs straight up the side of Double Oak Mountain at a steady rate for about a quarter mile where it again angles up steeply for about 20 yards. (Second walking section.) After that the climb traverses left around to the ridge-line just below the first of three steep rock steps.
The second video is climbing up the first rock step (forgive me for using an Everest Term on a 500 foot hill.) Descending this section will keep you focused. After reaching the top of the first step there is a short gentle climb to the second step. This clip ends at the top of the second step.
After the second step, the ridge continues to climb gently for about 200 yards before reaching the third rock step. This is where the third video, above, begins. At the top of the climb, (the turnaround point), I try to show the really pretty view, however the low resolution and quality of my camera leave much to be desired.
This final video clip is coming back down from the turnaround point. It shows the terrain a lot better and you can tell that there actually is a nice view up there. You can also tell that you do not want to spend much time looking around while running. All those rocks on the trail are not very forgiving.
It doesn't look 500 feet high but it is. Maggie's Glen would be off the picture to the right. The white trail follows the right side of that hill, up to the ridge facing this side of the hill and then on up to the highest point you can see in the picture. That is my hill repeat run.