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An evening with Emily Harrison, Josh Brimhall, and Ian Torrence

Wednesday nights in Henderson meant training runs with the Desert Rats and their organizer, and fellow Trail Junkie, Aaron Hastings. Although I have not made it to the training runs (eek!), last night I found myself traveling 25+ miles with Virginia and Beth to meet up with more friends, have a drink (or two), and more importantly, attend the second installment of the Trail Running Educational Series. The guests last night were McMillan Running coaches & pro athletes Emily Harrison (WSER 7th place finisherf) and Ian Torrence (Ultrarunning Grand Slam record setter, Race Director, etc.), and pro ultrarunner Josh Brimhall (WSER finisher, Red Rock Running Co. owner!)

The topic was on “Creating your Training Plan” and evening opened up right away to taking questions from fellow runners rather than going into a drone of sample plans that probably wouldn’t apply to all in attendance. This made for a more casual and laid back experience, instead of a lecture, and I personally was able to gain a lot of insight from the coaches based on the questions posed by myself and friends.

The takeaways were: 1) not all training plans are alike; 2) coaches are there to assign your plan according to your skill and background; 3) take your rest days & recovery seriously; 4) Periodization.

Items 1 & 2 were very familiar to me because I have not taken a coach in 10+ years of running and often found myself modifying generic training plans searched online to suit my needs. I’ve always struggled to complete my training and it was only in the past few years that I truly enjoyed going out there to do my mileage. It strengthened the thought I’ve had in the back of my head and one I may finally take on soon: hire a running coach. LOL.

The evening then moved towards an animated discussion about recovery and rest days (especially to prevent burn out), Josh Brimhall’s latest investment in a $1,500 pair of NormaTec boots hehe, and why you should skip some ice baths after a long run. That discussion reiterated what I’ve read in the past: take an ice bath if you need to do something important the next day or are getting close to a race, but otherwise skip it because you want your body to recovery naturally.

With the hour fast approaching, the biggest takeaway from the night was Periodization. The human body is truly an amazing machine and the only way for it to adapt properly is through sound and systematic training. The guest speakers did their best to ensure that we were not shocking our systems with crazy mileage or time on feet workouts by relaying the importance of structure and the phases in the training plans we plan to use.

I’m grateful for the three guests for taking the time to offer us sage advice and patient answers (which they probably hear day in-and-out). After last night, I felt that with the correctly assigned training plan and support from a coach, I can tackle something that I didn’t think I’d ever consider doing (and Karen Eviltwin Vollan knows this) — a 100km! +_+

Thanks again to Aaron Hastings, the Desert Rats, and CraftHaus Brewery for the event!

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