Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Burpees, Fartleks and Graston: Training Update

I am in the thick of an aggressive training period in preparation for my next cluster of races starting with the Don’t Fence Me In 30k in Helena, Montana on May 10th. I am averaging 70 miles a week exclusively on trails (which is like 10-20 miles more on roads) and 2-3 workouts at Terrain Gym. My weekly running workouts are a variation of tempos, progressions and fartleks.

The cool kids.
My long run is a 30k in the Chuckanuts with two of Bellingham’s most passionate trail runners. Nichole and Mark (and Reuben!) have taken me under their wing while Tad has been out nursing a hamstring injury for the past several weeks. Four hours in the mountains fly by in the presence of their company.

I feel as though I have had a mini breakthrough at Terrain. I no longer feel like the clueless new kid and can walk into the gym with more confidence now thanks to Tonia’s guidance and expertise.

500 step-ups with a weighted 25# vest.

Fun Fact: Tonia’s mentor, Rob Shaul, trains Mike Wolfe who runs for The North Face and is one of the best ultra-runners in the country.

She has me doing a mix of work capacity, strength, and core and mobility workouts. A work capacity focus is a circuit of intense exertion for a certain amount of time or repetitions. An example would be X amount of burpees, box-jumps, suicide sprints and pull-ups and repeat for 10 minutes. It is tough! I am used to my heart rate gradually increasing. With work capacity, my heart jumps overwhelmingly from 0 to 200 in seconds.

I am about a quarter of the way up the strength learning curve. Push-press, hang-cleans and Curtis P’s were not previously in my vocabulary. Slowly but surely I am getting better with technique and breathing. I have to admit, the calluses on my hands make me feel pretty bad-ass. 

Core and mobility is far from just abdominal work. It targets everything from pelvic floor muscles to the diaphragm. Muscles are popping up out of nowhere and I have had soreness in some of the oddest places. It has really been eye-opening realizing all of the muscles that I have been neglecting to strengthen in all my years of running.

Dr. Lockwood putting me back together.

I am able to do all of this work with the much appreciated help of Dr. Chris Lockwood from Align Chiropractic. Thanks to his sponsorship, I have been seeing him weekly to tend to minor aches and pains and to keep the “mojo flowing,” as he likes to say. Knee pain after my long run last week was gone in just two adjustments and Dr. Lockwood has helped me keep my hamstring tightness under control by showing me some specific exercises and stretches that teach the body how to mobilize the muscles and respond appropriately. I have had tightness around my knee that causes a “clicking” sound when I extend and then bend my leg. We have been treating it with some light Graston work to help break up any adhesions that are causing restricted muscle movement and reduced flexibility.

Mountaineer Maple..Mmmm
Trail Butter continues to fuel all of my efforts. My current favorite application of TB is to spread it on brown rice cakes and serve it with plain Greek yogurt. The TB gives the yogurt just enough sweetness and the nuts add a nice crunch. I go through about a jar of week –good thing Brad and Jeff are so good to me!

"Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best."
-Tim Duncan


  1. Good, Maria. Sounds like your training is progressing full-throttle. I like it!

    1. I'm getting stoked to run Laurel in a couple weeks with you, Phil. I hope the snow melts by then!

  2. I like hearing about all the things you're up to in honing your craft. You've got such a great support system, and I love the video/pictures. Jealous of your mountain running buds! I want to follow you around for a day & get my ass kicked into even better shape (: I'm happy for you, and very very proud. I trust that you will continue to stay healthy & focused & happy. Love you girl.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful words, Courtney. They always mean a lot to me. I would love to run in the mountains with you any day- you just say when! I am so grateful for our friendship :)