This summer has been fantastic for training. For several weeks I did most of my running on the Snowbasin trails training preparing for the XTERRA trail race series. Trail running in the mountains has a place in the ideal training routine, but I have learned not to overdo it.
After 2 bad races in a row, I decided to head back down to the flat roads at 5,000 feet and focus more on tempo. One of my favorites turned out to be a 3 mile out and back, which I got down to 21 minutes out and 19 minutes back. I did a few of those and sure enough ran 17:25 at the Rosholt Labor Day Run, a good time for me (I turned 54 the week prior).
With the uphills, altitude, and poor footing, most trail runs on Snowbasin were run at 10 min mile pace. Even though my heart rate and breathing told me that I was working at a high enough percentage of V02 Max to get very fit, the leg turnover was just too slow.
The lesson? I'll continue to enjoy the trails, but only once a week as a serious uphill workout unless I go up for a planned easy day or just need a break from the faster training down on the flats.