Defeated, deflated and dejected by the lack of performance at his recent asphalt based running events, the fitness enthusiast responded in the only way that he knew how. Recalibrate, start over again from ground zero. A full month had now passed since the Richmond Marathon and in that time his fitness strategy had been mostly concentrated on strength building. Yes, their was a 5k thrown into the mix too...just to keep things from tightening up, but for the most part he had only ran short distances with little to no intensity.
The first 4 weeks of strength training had proven to be invigorating. His goals had been simple, meet intermediate standards for 5 key power lifts. One of those lifts, the Bench Press, had proven to be of minimal challenge since his routine training had kept him somewhat proficient year round. The other 4 lifts, the Military Press, Squats, Deadlift, and Power Clean were new territory and his expectations were based on much less certainty. Ultimately, the Power Clean had been abandoned due to concerns about technique and safety, but the other 3 were progressing quite well and a growing anticipation of successfully meeting the standards was undeniable.
Strength training was essential to his overall fitness strategy, Body Building, however, was not. The "need for speed" was his primary motivator and with 4 weeks remaining to get tuned up for the Frozen Toe 10k it was time to adjust his routine accordingly. Strength training had left him powerful, perhaps powerful beyond measure, but strength alone was a peripheral consideration when seeking to yield a high quality finish at a 10k trail race.
Goals for the Frozen Toe, however, had not been established yet. A "high quality finish" could mean many things and for now the idea was simply to establish a solid running base so that when training for the Blue Ridge Half started in February that he would be ready for it. The Frozen Toe would be an important event for him to gauge his fitness strategy, but it was not an "A" race.
Still, a race is a race and goals would have to be established. Recent statistics from his last 2 asphalt based races suggested he might be entering a plateau with his running performances. Pushing past a plateau was not something the fitness enthusiast had a great deal of experience with. For almost 3 years faster times and higher placed finishes had been something of a given. Now he would have to learn to measure success by more abstract standards. Regardless of what numbers he would come up with he did know one thing...on race day he would give it all he had and as long as he did that then he knew it would be enough.