In my last post I revealed my big goal for the end of the year, run a 50k, ignoring the marathon distance in the process (here). A few weeks before I wrote that post, mentally I was not invested yet, it was a goal without substance or structure. Then I committed to it, registering for the race, submitting my interview and starting the research and preparation needed to setup a program and derive a stable and solid plan of action. After I wrote that last post, things became suddenly real, I committed myself the to the final required step, public accountability. Things got very real.
After finishing July’s big Olympic triathlon in the middle of the month, I took a light week off for recovery and to regroup. Initially I planned to do another olympic distance triathlon in the second week of August, but I realized it was unproductive to my long distance running goal of the year. In that week I shifted my priorities to focus first on the run and then on the other triathlon pursuits. I still intend to complete one more olympic triathlon, just not the four I had planned initially. At this point I can finish one in under four hours. While I would want to get faster and improve, the big primary goal is my upcoming 50k and thus my running plan takes precedence. From now til November, I have to work to follow my running plan as close as possible, this is my path to successful completion of this race.
I stated previously one of the hardest aspects of training for a race of 50k or longer is the lack of clear defined training plans and experts. I found a smattering of opinions and ideas but nothing initially stuck with me.. until I came across the book Relentless Forward Progress by Bryon Powell . This book is a must read and does not tell you what to do but why you should consider certain aspects in your ultramarathon training. Additionally, instead of a single voice, this book borrows writing from numerous ultrarunners to give you the knowledge needed to put a training and racing plan together. The book does have a few suggested training plans based on a 50 or 70 mile week which is a basic volume focus.
I decided I need a mileage running plan and I went about inserting and modifying the books 50 mile a week plan to fit my calendar. The plan is purely volume with a suggestion on how to mix in speed work if you really want to include it. Speed work is a very divisive subject in the ultra community as many believe the training focus should be on shear volume of mile on the legs and focus heavily on a single or double long run day. I have opted to work on my volume right now and maybe throwing in some speed work as time permits and my body adapts to the increase in mileage. The plan is pretty simple and each week culminates into roughly 45-50 miles a week.
Weekly Rough Plan:
Tuesday: 7-10 mile run
Wednesday: 5 mile run
Thursday: 7-10 mile run
The most difficult part of this training plan for me is the focus on increased daily mileage. At the beginning of the year I worked to get myself running 2-35 miles a week, but the miles were spread out and not as concentrated. Most of my runs were small three and four mile runs. This plan does not believe in anything below five miles a run and often pushes longer seven mile runs.
I figure for now I will try to still get a long bike in on Sundays and a swim in on Fridays. Its not the strongest workout schedule for my last triathlon, but with this 50k in November the goal has shifted. It will be nice to have a distraction from the extra mileage this schedule entails. The Saturday and Sunday combo will be very difficult and often is debated as necessary. But I chose my champion for this adventure and I have a plan to work with. For now I have to just run the said miles and figure out the run/walk ratio I want to use. I also have to get used to eating real food at aid stations during my long runs. There is so many things to do and so many things to learn, but for now I am just going to focus on running my daily miles. I have a plan and I will be ready for November. Til next time.