The North Face Endurance Challenge – 50K Preparation

For the next 6-weeks, I am going to try something a little different. I am going to be focused on a goal. I’ve got one last race of the season and I want to toe the starting line in a confident position to excel. This year has been a bit scattered, as I have raced a marathon distance  or more in each of the last 8 months. This resulted in a perpetual swing of taper/race/recover/run. I’ve loved every bit of my racing excursions this season, though, I’m eager to step up my game in my final showing of 2015.

The race is the North Face Endurance Challenge in San Francisco. Here is the route for the 50K course, which winds through the beautiful Marin Headlands:

North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco course 50K

North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco course 50K

Here’s the attack plan: of recent, I have gotten lazy in breaking out my long races. Sage Canaday is diligent in writing down splits (on his arm), so that he is cognizant of his progress/performance at checkpoints throughout a run.

Sage runs 7:20 for 50-miles, Dan runs 8:20 for 31-miles.

Sage runs 7:20 for 50-miles, Dan runs 8:20 for 31-miles.

I’ve gone loosy-goosey in my race day preparation, which has caused me to miss judge my starting pace, and finish races feeling feeble & dehydrated. I’m starting early on this one! By breaking doen the course by sections, and visualizing the stretches between aid stations, I can prevent any race-day surprises and ultimately set myself up for success:

North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K elev chart

North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K elev chart

Here’s the finishing goal: 50K in sub-4 Hours. That is right, my goal is to go below 4 hours – that is 17 minutes and 27 seconds faster than last year. Doable? It’s worth a shot!

North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco results50k 2014

North Face Endurance Challenge San Francisco 50K Results 2014

By saying “it’s worth a shot!”, I mean, why wouldn’t I set a goal and draft out a plan with the hopes of acheiving it? Well, that’s just what my racing has lacked over the last few years. I’ve always entered raced with arbitrary goals based on paces that I thought I could sustain, without any data to support the goal.

So this time around, welp, I’m still chosing an arbitrary goal, but I’ve got the training time to work toward that goal and measure my success and my capability along the way.

I’ve had success in running over the last few years due to routine fitness and a competitive drive. Some feedback I’ve gotten in my last few races is that I’ve got a solid base of fitness, yet there’s a lot of untapped potential due to a lack of focus and I need to develop and fine tuning my skillset.

So how am I going to do this? I get serious. I love running, and I have loved running “aimlessly” over the last few years. I’ve improved, I’ve been healthy, and I’ve had a lot of success.

It’s time for the next chapter.

Climbing NFECSCA 50K 2014

Climbing NFECSCA 50K 2014

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