Mad Running Bliss

Today while I was running, I thought it felt like it had been a while since I posted here. Then I realized it had been! This past month has been crazy busy with moving to Madison, getting reading for the start of the new year—at a new school—and training. Now that I am settled in, I hope to get back to posting on a regular basis.

So far, Madison has been great for my training. I have been able to get in much more hillwork and it has been a huge motivating factor while moving into more speedwork. At the end of this post you'll find a brief snippet of what my training has looked like over the past few weeks, but I wanted to highlight one workout in particular.

The workout I want highlight was a hill workout and trail run combo. It was a true ultra workout in the sense that it was 25 miles in length and covered trail, hills, and scenery. My workout goal was to get my legs accustomed to longer descents and climbs than usual. I went to the best place I know for this within easy driving distance for a day trip: Devil's Lake State Park. This is definitely my favorite place in Wisconsin to knock out some trail miles.

I started out the day with a five-mile warm-up, which consisted of a conservative climb up and down the East Bluff. I didn't take the really technical hiking trail, opting instead for the East Bluff Trail around the back, which is much more runnable. After the warm-up, I did 3x up and down the first big climb up the East Bluff (1.15 miles each way). It culminates with a brief, but extremely steep, slope that is both exciting and a bit intimidating to bomb down, which I guess is why it's so appealing. I tried to progressively increase how aggressively I attacked the ascent and descent each trip up and down. I managed to squeak under five minutes on the final mile down. It was great to that much uninterrupted leg turnover.

After the hill repeats I hopped in my car and went over to Steinke Basin to run some miles on that section of trail behind Devil's Lake. I would describe this section as like the Kettle Moraine Trail area on the Ice Age and Kettle courses. Nothing super long, but constant ups and downs with roots and rocks sprinkled all around.

I finished the day with a more leisurely loop around the lake, going up and down both the East and West Bluffs. I was able to snap some phone pics on this loop, which you'll find below. It ended up being about a perfect day weather-wise, and I got plenty of the sought-after eccentric muscle contraction. Today marked the end of a seven-day period in which I logged 142 miles, including three workouts (tempo, interval, and hills).

Recent Training Log

Photos from Devil's Lake