The Trail to Philmont, June 2020

The long, winding trail to Philmont continued in June as I launched into training for a 10K race. I don’t have a particular race in mind, and given the state of the COVID-19 world, it’s likely any race I do will be virtual. That said, this is very much a journey-before-destination sort of thing, so I’m less concerned about running the race than I am about getting strong enough to do so.

Between my training runs and my morning walks, my daily walk/run distance was up over 7 miles a day for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak began in March.

I’m following Runners World’s 8-week 10K training program and it’s proving to be an excellent challenge. It mixes easy runs, medium-distance runs, and interval training in a three-day-a-week program. The interval training part, which features fast sprints broken up by short rests, is easily the hardest part. I’m pretty good at running the three miles and change of your typical 5K, but that was at a steady pace. Running two miles, then doing sprints – as the program calls for – is exhausting … but it does exactly what it’s supposed to do, which is build strength and endurance for longer runs.

I did my first 6-mile run in June, which is my longest distance ever (even longer than the distances I ran pre-Broken Ankle Saga). A 10K equates to 6.2 miles, so that’s close to my target distance. Of course, the point isn’t just running 6.2 miles; it’s running safely and consistently. It’s going well but I’m being cautious – I don’t want to stress my healed ankle or injure myself in some new and exciting way.

I continued the strength training regime I started in May. As I mentioned last month, it’s focused on core strength, which is crucial for backpacking in Philmont as well as, well, just about everything else we do as humans. This means lots of planks, crunches, push-ups, squats (now with weights!), and, yep, even more planks. Strength training is still not my thing but I can’t argue with the results. It’s definitely helping with my running, but more importantly, it’s helping counteract the ridiculous amount of sitting I do  while working from home.

We’re still trying to figure out the hiking thing. In theory, we can go backpacking now that Pennsylvania’s gone green, but the question is how to do it practically and safely. It’s likely everyone would need to carry their own tents and food, which makes increases the weight we’re carrying and limits the kind of treks we can go on. Then there’s everyone’s comfort level with getting out in the world with other people, which varies among the crew. I expect it’s a thing we’ll figure out eventually, but may not in July.

Weight-wise, I’m at 200 lb.s, which is down 2 lbs. from last month. In truth, I’m bouncing between 198 and 202, which is to be expected. Overall, the pace of my weight loss has slowed considerably but that is to be expected given that running and strength training are building muscle, which offsets the fat loss. Will I ever hit my overall goal of 195 lbs.? It’s hard to say, but it’s not really important – I’d be happy to float around 200 lbs while getting leaner/stronger.

With that in mind, my goals for July are:

  • Complete the 10K training program.
  • Continue strength training.
  • Walk 6 miles a day.

See you in August!

Featured Image Meta

The railroad trestle over the Delaware Canal on the D&L Trail just south of Easton, Pa. Credit: Ken Newquist

 

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