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The Workouts That Make You Go… Hmmm

Three weeks left before I make my way to Colorado to participate in the Transrockies 6-Day Run, and I’m getting really excited as I finalize my plans and my training.

I am looking forward to enjoy the “beautifulness” of the Rockies, as well as the toughness of some of the inclines, the lack of oxygen on top of those mountains and running alongside a whole bunch of other friendly runners (note: everybody knows that trail runners are definitely a nicer/friendlier bunch than road runners).

Training has been going pretty well, or at least, not bad. Since January 1, I have logged more than 1,600 running miles, and I am confident that should provide me enough fitness to help me complete this awesome race. As I put the final touches on my training, my main focus is to do some workouts that give me “that mental edge” we all look for before a race.

As part of my preparation for this 120-mile, 6-day event and its 20,000 feet of elevation, I thought I could share some of the workouts I planned for the final training push. Some I have already done, others I still have to do. Who knows, maybe you’ll get inspired and want to include them in your own training?!

Hilly Course? What about a 15 at 15%
Looking at the Transrockies course profile (or just knowing that I’ll be running in the Rockies), it doesn’t take a genius to know that hills will be part of the profile menu.

Finding long hills with a decent grade of incline in the NYC metro area is not an easy task. So for one of the workouts, I will hop on the treadmill.

In preparation for those long hills in the Rockies I’ve planned a treadmill run where I’ll run 15 miles at 15% incline. Why this workout? Mainly for two reasons:

  • On the treadmill I can run uphill as long as I want. The longest hill on the race is about 6 miles, so running 15 miles uphill will make 6 miles seem … a little short. At least that’s the goal.
  • I hate the treadmill. I truly do. But the way I look at it, running on the treadmill can provide a huge mental benefit. If I can deal with the boredom of running on the treadmill at a slow pace on a decent incline for about 2:15-2:45 hours, it will make running on a beautiful course 100 times more enjoyable regardless of the length of the hill, the pace or the effort.

The purpose of this workout has nothing to do with the physical benefit of it, more with getting my head ready to deal with those really long uphills. It’s about training my brain and my legs to keep moving up the hill regardless of the speed, even if you feel you can walk faster than you can run. While I am sure this little workout will give me some pretty good physical benefit, I can guarantee it’ll make my little old brain quite more confident to deal with any hill.

Birthday Runs
I usually use my birthdays as a way to be creative and celebrate by playing with my years and numbers.

In the past I celebrated the big 4-0 by running 40 northern loops of Central Park. A few years ago, I biked 45 x 1-mile hill repeats.

This year for my 48th birthday I went to one of my favorite places to run, Watchung Reservation, and ran 48 x ½-mile hill repeats. Yes, up and down, up and down, for a total of 48.2 miles as per my GPS.

What I found out about these “repetitive celebratory workouts” is that by concentrating on the celebration part of it, I forget about everything else. Read: by focusing on the ultimate goal, the process just becomes part of it.

I invite you to play with miles and numbers in your next workout. If you need any help, contact me, I am sure I can come up with some fun way for you to celebrate.

Coach Ramon Bermo has been an athlete for 37 years and a coach for 17. He completed his 60th marathon this year and has finished 13 Ironman triathlons and multiple ultra marathons in addition to hundreds of other races varying in distances. Ramon is the founder and coach of Tri2B and currently works as the Senior Director and Head Coach for the American Cancer Society DetermiNation program. Through the years, he has coached thousands of athletes in achieving their athletic dreams through such programs as NYU running club, Niketown, Team in Training, DetermiNation and Tri2B. Without a doubt, his favorite coaching moment was watching his 12-year-old daughter complete her first triathlon.

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