Training for TNFEC. Part 1 of 3

Training for TNFEC. Part 1 of 3

Training for TNFEC – 13 weeks out
Adjusting to Structured Workouts

As I’m writing this I’m 9 weeks into training for my first 50 mile trail race, The North Face Endurance Challenge. So far it’s been very rewarding as I’m in great shape and getting stronger each week under the guidance of my coach, Ian Sharman. I have 5 weeks remaining until the big day and I’m determined to make the most of these next few weeks, to be in my best shape to compete with the top ultra-runners in the sport, and hopefully finish somewhere in the mix. This course will be challenging for me as there will be repeated elevation gains and losses of several hundred feet and a total gain of 9,237’. In The Woodlands I’m lucky to get 400’ of elevation gain in a 25 mile run. Therefore, we have to be specific with my training plan to ensure I am focusing on what I will experience on race day. Not having run this course before I am at a disadvantage so everything I have been doing has been preparing me to what could come on race day.

There is a purpose for every workout and I am basically running daily with one rest day per week. The first few weeks I’ve been getting into the routine of doing various speed workouts and hill workouts, with easy days in between to allow my body to adapt to the training load. In the 50 mile race the pace for the top 15 will vary between 5-6 minute miles at some points downhill to 11-12 minute miles uphill. Therefore, I have been doing quite a few high intensity interval workouts and progression runs to get more comfortable with this change of pace. Some of these efforts have been really tough and outside of my comfort zone, but I’m trying to stay as relaxed as possible so I can maintain these efforts without my form falling apart. Knowing that my recovery days are very easy days I have more confidence pushing myself on the higher intensity runs. Recovery days are split between either a pool run workout or an easy run on the Alter-G treadmill. Sterling Ridge Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine has been a great place for me to do these easy runs. The Alter-G treadmill allows me to adjust my body weight so I’m less weight bearing on my lower body. I typically adjust the percentage to 68-72% of my body weight which is enough for me to run comfortable without feeling sore muscles or aches and pains from the prior workout. I also like this because I maintain the same leg turnover as a normal run. You can also watch your foot strike on live video as you are running.


My biggest challenge with everything is not the training load but balancing life and all the things I have going on at the moment. It has been very busy for us and I haven’t had a lot of free time as these other things on my plate have required a great deal of my attention. With what little window of free time I have is when I fit in my workouts. It puts a little more pressure on me when there are more commitments with work, family, and my own goals. I try to stay as flexible as possible with the training to make sure that I get the most out of it and go into each workout feeling rested. I typically like to do my workouts in the early morning so it’s done and I can go on with my day. However, staying up late occasionally has caused me to choose to sleep in and push the workout to a later time in the day. I have learned from the past that I must get a proper amount of sleep to avoid getting sick. Fortunately, things are starting to settle down and I’m getting back to a little less hectic schedule.
The one thing I have going for me to keep me healthy, and benefiting my training is an arsenal of nutritional supplements from Klean Athlete. I have made it a habit to take five pills every evening with dinner and it’s made a huge impact on my overall health and performance. The picture below is those products along with a protein shake.OCT-post2 These supplements are Omega, Probiotic, Vitamin D, Cognitive, and the Multivitamin. There are more products offered by Klean Athlete at What’s great about these products is that they are tested and certified as being safe and free from banned substances. That’s extremely important to me and my family.

I usually like to post a favorite workout at the end of the blog. However, this month there wasn’t one that I would say was my favorite, other than my 50k race performance in Austin. You can check out my report on my webpage at I am getting use to this new training method and my body is adapting well to it. The workouts have been challenging and at this time it’s still hot and humid in Texas making it real tough some days. Once the cooler temps arrive that will make a huge difference with how I feel. Thanks for following me!

Average miles for this month: 60-65 per week. Average vertical: 2600’

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