Andrew Forsyth, top returning runner for the 3-time defending Maryland 4A state champions from Severna Park, blogs about his second week of high altitude training in Colorado.
Andrew Forsyth's Summer Training Blog: Entry #1 (July 20-26) - Entry #2 (July 27-August 2) - Entry #3 (August 3-9)
Andrew Forsyth's Summer Training Blog, Week of July 20th-26th (Entry #1)
This week was a great experience to run with the Shippensburg XC team and talk with them. Lots of experienced runners and coaches there to break down all aspects of high school running. Saturday I left for New Mexico where there are amazing views and landscapes. Although, it'll take me some time to adapt to the altitude.
Monday, July 20th: 8.3 mile run starting straight down (6:31 pace) a mountian and then going back up; 90 seconds on (roughly 6:00 pace), 90 seconds off (roughly 7:05 pace).
Tuesday, July 21st: 2 mile easy warm up. 2 mile prediction run slightly faster than tempo (10:07). 4 mile cool down easy.
Wednesday, July 22nd: 7:32 miles easy at 6:50 pace. Great place to run at Pine Grove Furnace State Park.
Thursday, July 23rd: 11.76 miles avg. 6:19 pace. Started out 6:30 pace then 5 miles in a row sub 6:00 (2 < 5:50). Last two were around campus at 7:00 pace.
Friday, July 24th: 6.44 miles easy back in Severna Park, 7:01 pace.
Saturday, July 25th: 11.38 miles at 7:02 pace. Today was a day I would usually do a 2nd run but I just did a longer run slightly slower than distance pace.
Sunday, July 26th: 8.88 miles in Santa Fe, New Mexico (7200 ft). Amazing views, average pace 7:06.
Andrew Forsyth's Summer Training Blog, Week of July 27th-August 2nd (Entry #2)
Week 2: Durango, Ouray, Crested Butte. 68.1 miles
This entire week was spent at Colorado at high altitude. I ran in the morning in a very comfortable 55 degrees. I climbed in elevation throughout the week started in Durango at 6500ft and moved up to Crested Butte at 8800ft. The altitude is very noticeable and put a damper on the pace for every run and the recovery took longer for each run. I got in a form a cross training during this week through white water kayaking and downhill and cross country mountain biking. None of the runs were flat, almost all of the time I was running up and down hills on undulating and rocky dirt trails. Most of the runs I ran with my brother Ryan who will be staying at Boulder to attend his sophomore year at the University of Colorado.
Monday, July 27th: Dirt trail in the outskirts of Durango (7430ft).14 miles, avg. pace: 6:32. For this run I ran up and down a nearby valley twice so the two uphill portions were significantly slower that the down hill. The last quarter or downhill part of the run I lowered the pace to about 6:00 all the way down. Abs.
Tuesday, July 28th: A single track rocky hiking trail in Mesa Verde National Park (8396ft). 7.3 miles, avg. 8:23 pace. This run was very difficult, I considered this my hill workout for the week. Within the first 3/4 mile I climbed 658 ft and continued going up and down for the entire run.
Wednesday, July 29th: Easy day on the riverside trail in Durango (6500ft). 7.8 miles, avg. 7:08 pace. I started on a small dirt trail but then spent most of the run on the asphalt trail. I focused on taking it easy today and finished with strides and abs.
Thursday, July 30th: Recreation trail 10 miles outside of Ouray (7100ft). 10.1 miles avg. 6:50 pace. I started on some open single track hiking trails the went down to the recreation trail. This was just a good cruising run that I could get in some extra mileage. Abs.
Friday, July 31st: Tempo on a local dirt trail in Crested Butte (9060ft). 2.5 mile warm up at 7:00 pace. Dynamic stretches. .1 .2 .3 .4 .5 1.0 1.0 .5 .4 .3 .2 .1 with .1 easy in between each rep. The 1 miles were at 5:50 pace and the rest was at 5:45 pace. 2.2 mile cool down at 7:20 pace. Total 10.8 miles. The altitude was very noticible on this run due to it being my first hard run at Crested Butte. Abs.
Saturday, August 1st: 4WD trail on the back side of Mount Crested Butte (9080ft). 8.3 miles avg. 7:24 pace. Just a normal middle distance run with stride and abs.
Sunday, August 2nd: Easy day on a Mountain Biking trail uphill and very rocky through the woods in Crested Butte (9400ft). 9.5 miles avg. 7:38 pace. Although there was some elevation change the pace was kept easy and it set me up well for my distance day tomorrow. Abs.
Andrew Forsyth's Summer Training Blog, Week of August 3rd-9th (Entry #3)
Week 3: Crested Butte, Colorado Springs, Boulder: 69.48 miles
This was another amazing week running at high altitude in the mountains. Just like the previous week, I was mainly running on dirt single tracks or dirt roads. The hills were everywhere and my 800s on the track were about the only times where I had flat ground. Most of the week was spent high at Crested Butte but then I decreased in altitude as the week progressed. The first part of the week was very tiring and I felt as if I needed more recovery. Although, both of my workouts worked out very well and I'm pleased with both of them and how I ran.
Monday, August 3rd: Crested Butte (9200ft). 4WD trail up the back side of Mt. Crested Butte. A semi-rocky trail with a huge climb which was very unexpected. 13.1 miles, avg. 6:44 pace. I felt as if the altitude had really caught up with me for this run, the pace was slower than it should have been compared to the previous runs in Crested Butte. Abs.
Tuesday, August 4th: Crested Butte (9000ft). An easy day ran on a technical mountain biking trail. 7.79 miles, avg. 7:17 pace. Although there were some challenging hills I did try to keep this run relaxed to recover from the previous day and set myself up right for the rest of the week.
Wednesday, August 5th: Crested Butte (9300ft) A bike path going all across the valley. 12.09 miles, avg. 7:09 pace. This was an easy but long run because I wanted to get in extra mileage and it's easier than just doing a second run. It was moderately hilly during most of the run and ended with a very large hill up to Mt. Crested Butte.
Thursday, August 6th: Crested Butte (8885ft) This workout was done on a very old track which was short so I had to convert these times. 2.55 mile warm up at 6:55 pace. 7x800 every 5:00, the times were: 2:33, 2:35, 2:33, 2:32, 2:32, 2:31, 2:26. 2.41 mile cool down at 7:03 pace. Total 8.46 miles. I was really happy about this workout, I felt good and I think I got a lot out of this run. Abs.
Friday, August 7th: Crested Butte (9300ft) I ran on a very scenic mountain biking trail snaking through woods and tall grasses. 11.6 miles, avg. 7:08 pace. This was my last day in Crested Butte so I just wanted to take it easy and enjoy the trails. Strides and abs.
Saturday, August 8th: Colorado Springs (6100ft). I ran on a dirt trail along the river which made for a great setting upon which to do my tempo. 2.1 mile warm up at 7:00 pace. 25 min tempo starting at 5:45 pace and finishing at around a 5:55 pace. I did feel like I had a slightly easier time running because of the drop in elevation. A total of 8.44 miles. Abs.
Sunday, August 9th: Boulder (8000ft). I ran this run on Magnolia road, a spectacular road high above in the mountains near Boulder. 8 miles, avg. 7:10 pace. This was definitely a hilly run and was also very high which made it especially difficult. However, I did try to keep this run as an easy day.