Adding more asphalt miles (Read 262 times)

some call me Tim

    With the change in the weather, the trails I run on my property have become almost unrunnable. In the snow it's not so bad because the more you run, the better surface you generally get and I can actually do some semblance of interval/fartlek if I go by intensity. But now I am trying to run through 5 inches of mud(lots of clay here) in a lot of places and even easy runs are infeasible.


    My weekly mileage is ~30-35 recently, with my only regular road running being a 12-15 mile long run on the hilly roads around my house. Maybe too long, but when running in mud and snow there *is* no easy pace and I've found it difficult to add mileage on the other runs in the time that I have available. Anyway, after months of running on unstable surfaces I know I can roll an ankle with no harm done, but I'm a little concerned about just switching over to pounding asphalt all of the time. I've had good luck with a conservative approach to training and staying injury free, but could very well be over-analyzing here and just need to get out of my own head. Thoughts, anyone?



      As long as you don't add too many miles too fast I would think you could increase the asphalt runs. Many of us do 90-95% of our runs on asphalt.

        I'm assuming you're running through that lovely season called "breakup" - we're getting close but still have mostly snow and slush cover.


        As I'm sure you're aware, if you run on your trails now, you'll end up with some dried up stockyard texture for your trails - esp. if a lot of clays. For dirt trails, you probably need to stay off your trails during that period (sometimes up to 4-6 wks here, depending). This is when we encourage public trail users to use the gravel or paved trails.(sounds like you're on your own private trails? can you gravel or firm them up by next year?)


        Not sure what you have available to you, but around here, we have a range of aspects and elevations. Right now, south-facing low spots are starting to become snow free, but not quite muddy yet. North-facing slopes will not hit that point for a few weeks yet. Similarly, the mountains will still have snow cover on trails for another month. And the gravel road over the summit of the pass doesn't open until late June. But they do require more driving. Also running in the morning while things are still frozen can help.  Around here also, the trails dry out faster if people stay off them. If they continue to use them during breakup, the water just migrates to the surface.


        My suggestion is to work the terrain options that you have, maybe run one or two runs a week on the road. Maybe cut mileage until your trails firm up a bit. Not sure if you're looking at a couple weeks of wet trails or 6 wks. And hope you don't get another snow setting things back again.


        FWIW, March is frequently my big month of the year - still running on mostly firm snow, then April / breakup comes and sometimes continues into May. Some of our trails are legally closed during that time. Then some of the south-facing mountains are available and races (taper/recover) start in May and generally less mileage (but more vertical). I am hoping I've used my snowshoes for the last time this winter (cross my fingers).


        Not sure if that helps or just provides another groan at breakup time.

        "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog

          i'd keep it gradual.  that's probably a decent change for impact on your knee's and you don't want to push it too hard at first.  i always think it's better to be safe than worry about hitting metrics.  after all, an injury will set you back much farther than not progressing for a few weeks.

            Just try to run quiet. You'll be fine.

            Runners run.


            Proboscis Colossus

              You've likely considered this, but are there any public tracks near you?


              Boring as heck, but softer than asphalt.

              "God guides us on our journey, but careful with those feet." - David Lee Roth, of all people

                I don't think you should be worried about this at all.


                  Definitely don't go on the trails when they are muddy.  I rolled an ankle 3 weeks ago on frozen trails that were churned up by people using them in muddy conditions and lost a week from it.  It takes a long time for the trails to recover from this, last weekend they were finally dry but very bumpy still.


                  Just use the roads for a bit until things dry up.

                    If you're already doing 12-15 mile long runs on the road, I wouldn't be so worried about it, either.


                    You can always run just off the shoulder, too.


                    Don't overthink it.  Just run.  If you start to get sore, run less.  If you're not sore, run more.  Find the edge between the two and try to ride it.

                    "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
                    Emil Zatopek

                    Prince of Fatness

                      The camber of the roadway tends to bother me more than the hardness of the surface, so if it were me I would look for streets / roads that were pretty level side to side.  Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it.


                        Or try to run some on the other side of the road where applicable to even things out.


                        The camber of the roadway tends to bother me more than the hardness of the surface, so if it were me I would look for streets / roads that were pretty level side to side.  Otherwise I wouldn't worry about it.


                        The pain that hurts the worse is the imagined pain. One of the most difficult arts of racing is learning to ignore the imagined pain and just live with the present pain (which is always bearable.) - Jeff


                        2014 Goals:


                        Stay healthy

                        Enjoy life


                        Prince of Fatness

                          Or try to run some on the other side of the road where applicable to even things out.


                          You are far more trusting of the driving public than I.


                          old woman w/hobby


                            You are far more trusting of the driving public than I.





                            Just run.

                            some call me Tim

                              Thanks, all! I didn't used to be terribly cautious but I know an awful lot of injured runners who ask for advice and then don't take it. It's also good to be reminded of what those trails are gonna look like during the dry months if I keep running them now. I'd love to add some gravel, but I'd miss the effect of padding silently through the forest and scaring the crap out of the deer. For now, being out on the wide shoulder to greet the dawn and the incredulous commuters sounds pretty good to me... and to run east first.

                                Since you have already been training on uneven and bumpy ground and trails, I think your body will be able to handle the cross-over.  I am in the opposite position of wanting to run trails but have only run on road and tracks.

                                  5k  = 19.48 10/1/13

                                10k  = 45.28 4/16/13

                                Half Marathon = 1:38.53  Summer Sizzle 7/13/14

                                Operation Jack Marathon 12/26/12  4:39.11

                                Solo O Marathon 06/02/13  3:52:10

                                Operation Jack Marathon 12/26/13 3:40.34