Sunday, July 31, 2011

Variety in goals and training makes you run happy!

I am in awe of people who are running consistently without a precise goal, or the ones who can train for 6 months for only one goal on which they bet their whole running season. Personally I need more goals to motivate me to push the envelope and keep improving. I'm not denying that I'm racing too much to really perform at my best, but I need the constant excitement of a new goal/target to not fall into a training routine. And setting various goals, from 5K to 100 miles, from road to trail if not track, surely brings a lot of variety!

Right after finishing the marathon, two weeks ago, my sight turned to Skyline 50K, three weeks later and Rio Del Lago 100-mile, in September. I took one day off then ran every day afterwards, for a total of 175 miles and more than 16,500 feet of cumulative elevation. I'll do a couple of shorter runs this week but I'm looking forward to some tapering before Sunday's race (that will be my 5th participation to that event).

Over these two weeks I ran in Palisades, NY, in Warwick, RI, then, in the Bay Area, at Alviso, on Zanker Road, at Rancho San Antonio, in Stevens Creek Park, to the top of Black Mountain several time, at the Mountain View High School track and in my neighborhood. Again, variety. The longest run was this Saturday, a 30-mile loop across Rancho San Antonio Open Space Preserve, Monte Bello Regional Open Space, Los Trancos Open Space Preserve, and Foothills Regional Open Space. With the nice company of Charles Stevens, Lina McCain and Mike Topper (3 Brooks'ers out of 4! ;-).
It was great to see Charles back on the trail after he has been battling a series of injuries over the past couple of years. I learned so much about ultra from him upon joining the Stevens Creek Striders 8 years ago!
I started at 6:30 AM from the main parking lot of Rancho San Antonio and met them near the Rhus Ridge entrance. We then climbed to the top of Black Mountain where Charles expressed the desire to run down Water Wheel. On our way back to Black Mountain, we got passed by an unusual group of road cyclists which gave a Tour de France flavor although these guys were clearly out of their element on this sandy fire road.
The run was particularly amazing as we broke through the fog on our way up to the top of Black Mountain, then ran for a couple of hours above the cloud for quite an aerial sensation.
You can see a few other pictures of this simple but beautiful run in my Picasa album.

Yes, keep setting new goals and include variety in your training, this is the sustainable and secret sauce to make you run happy, farther and faster. At least that works for me! :-)
A mutating or mutant tree...?


Anonymous said...

...puisque cela marche, pas de raison d'interrompre...
Quelle sensation de courir au-dessus des nuages!

Danny Stull said...

Hey, this is Danny Stull, founder of I just wanted to get in touch with you because I enjoy your blog and I think we share a passion for the outdoors. Please check out our website,, and let me know what you think and if you have any questions. I'd love to see if there's an opportunity for us to work together.


kk said...

How do you get to Alviso and do you have any good run ideas from there? Are there marked trails?