Did I Put Enough Hay in the Barn?

By: Sam LaBrie

Since my last road race in early May I’ve been building up the mileage and hill work to get ready for the Knee Knacker 30 Mile Trail Race in Vancouver, BC on July 13. I’ve hit a couple 60-70 mile weeks, the most training mileage I’ve done since I ran my last road marathon in 2008.

The Knee Knacker is run on the Baden-Powell Trail that follows the mountains/hills rising up behind North Vancouver. I sampled these trails while supposedly attending a conference last year.


There is 8,000 feet of climbing over the 30 miles and much of the route is technical.


I’ve been following this schedule for the last 8 weeks:

Mon: strength training (core, legs)

Tue: 10-12 miles road, with hills

Wed: 8 miles, hill repeats

Thu: 10-12 miles trail

Fri: strength training (core, legs)

Sat: ~10 miles, tempo torture with Carmen’s group

Sun: 15+ miles mostly trail

The Saturday workouts have gone well – one in particular I was dreading was the “Julia.”  Twenty minutes of 1 minute hard, 1 easy, rest for 4-5, then a 20 minute tempo. We’ve had a nice spring, but this day was really humid. I struggled on the 1×1 part (average pace about 7), but the tempo was better (average of 6:34). I’ll remember this workout when I’m struggling during the Knee Knacker.

For the Sunday long runs I tried to hit the local trails with hills. David Yin and Amy Baker joined in for a couple treks through the Barton Creek Greenbelt and the Hill of Life, one of which included at least twenty water crossings.

I took one weekend off from this schedule for The Ranch, the last race of the Rogue Trail Series. I was hoping to win the Masters division for the 10K series and trailed Mark Ruppert-Stratton by about 40 seconds after The Maze and The Loop. In 2012 it was very hot/humid for The Ranch, but we lucked out this year with a cool and dry morning. I didn’t see Mark at the start, but figured he was around, so I stuck with my plan of pushing hard for as long as I could stand it. Turns out, I was able to push the whole way and take the series. Mark didn’t race, so I’ll never know for sure, but I was closer to Kevin Irwin and Warren Brown than in the other 2 races (they still killed me), and may have been able to make up the 40 seconds. Thanks to the Rogue team for putting on another great series- my favorite races every year!


We’re spending a couple weeks in Vancouver and I plan to run all of the Knee Knacker course in short sections before the race. The training has gone well, but it’s only been 8 weeks and might not be enough preparation. I’d like to think that I can run or powerhike hard but smart for that first 10K with the huge climb and then pick off people on the downhill sections. It would be great to finish under 6:30.


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About sarahmade

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