BLOG : Taper Week – Championnat de France de Course en Montagne

Another major event is on the horizon. The year is slowly advancing forward towards the first “A” race of the season, the Lavaredo 50. Before though, I am running a short 12.4km mountain running event, the French Mountain Running Championship. Mountain running is becoming more and more technical, but normally it is done on smooth trails, on not so rolling terrain, often with one or two, but usually never more than 3 climbs. The climbs can be sever, but the downhills are often very runnable, so either ways, it is a very cardiovascular event, with fast finishing times. The best trail runners are usually there, but actually most likely multi surface athletes, who will be excelling in these conditions, including cross country and track athletes.

I decided to unwind my brain from high mileage training and long runs for a period of time and include the preparation to this race, instead of keeping in high volume blocks till Lavaredo. I could this way augment the volume of speed training, like track workouts, trail workouts, lactate threshold sessions. I even participated in a couple of short races during this period with quite a lot of success, despite my thrashed legs after the National Trail Champs.

  • Duathlon de Grasse – Relay – Running leg – 2nd
    (Thanks to my team mate who rode the fastest time of the day #Charly)
  • Foulées du Lac (Montauroux) – 3rd
  • Pusztafutas (Hungary) – 1st
    (Course Record)

I could put in 5 weeks of effective training, with around 100km of running and a couple of hours of cycling. Of course, I did some very basic strength and mobility too every day. Not as I would wanted, as I was on vacation for 2 weeks, but also had my mother over for 3 weeks. Still, I could complete a very effective training cycle. The red dotted line is the AVG HR for the week, what is simply showing, that the more I included high intensity training, the more time I spent in very low heart rate zones. Like jogging a lot, while 100% nose breathing on 105 to 108bpm heart rate. For me that is around 5:45 to 6:00/km pace, just to move the limbs, the lymphatic system and circulate just enough to recover very fast. At this moment thanks to my base, I can already run quite fast on 120 to 130 heart rate, so while technically we could still call that recovery, after HI workouts, I prefer to go lower. After a long Z2 slash Z2+5 session, 115 to 120 is okay, but when over 160, see 170 in a seance, I need a double or tripple run day in a light shoes, with low heart rates.

Last week I topped off my training with 2 double threshold sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, a long bike ride of 3,5 hours on Saturday and a long run of 3,5 hours on Sunday with some intensity over 160bpm, both fasted, with little water. Actually on the bike ride, I went out fasted, but had 2 x 20g of vitargo in my bottles and 10g of glucose in tablets. Finished 1,5 bottle. On the run, I had a coffee, with a flat tea spoon of ghee and an egg in it, so 100% fat. Yeah, actually I did not do these workouts technically fasted, but due to the enchainement of the two and how it fitted into my week, these were very caloric deficit routines. I made sure to keep the hydration going all week long and to eat a lot of calories.

In case of experimentation, I restarted the loading with beta-alanine and citrulline malate, but also taking 5 to 10g of creatine daily with 20g of essential aminos and glutamine. I have been taking Quinton twice a day for a long time, but it is cost inefficient, so I replaced it with a pinch of salt, 1 flat spoon of bicarb and a flat spoon of magnesium flakes (nigari) all dissolved in half a litre of water. I got some high quality liposomal iron and vitamin C too. I will be racing in altitude multiple times this year, so I am going to take my iron levels seriously.

So this is it for this block. I enjoyed it, mentally was still very fresh and did everything I needed, to be in top shape, but to not to over blow the speed, so it doesn’t mess with my endurance for the up and coming big blocks.

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