"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Sprinter at an Ultramarathon #4

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you have to be asking yourself: Where did all the crazy go? I gave helpful rational advice on how to train for a 100 mile race and explained how two regular people with normal lives finished the tough Superior 100. I saved all the crazy for this last post. How would I train for ultras if I were very talented, had nothing else to do but train and never got injured?

For 100 miles on a road or track, I think averaging 100 minutes per day of training with long runs of four hours is ideal. If you're world-class and aiming to break 12:00 (do you smell the crazy yet?), that 4 hours is 33-35 miles. For 135 miles or so, I like 105 minutes per day and 4:15 for long runs; this being enough to make the US 24-hour team most years. Hard trail 100's have a lot of hills and I equate 700 feet of climb with an extra mile (for better hill runners, 1000 feet is probably more accurate) and that makes a race like the Superior Sawtooth equivalent to about 136 miles, so the longer amount of training is preferred.

4:00 or 4:15 is not long enough for a long run for most 100 milers, as one can run on glycogen reserves for that long. For most runners, 7:00 gets them past that point. I like this number for a lot of reasons. First, 41 miles in 7:00 is 80% effort for someone aiming to do 140 miles in a day - and it's the same pace. Second, there's something to be said for "doubling" and doing back-to-back long runs on a weekend, with the second one being 60% to 2/3rds as long as the first and this means 7:00 and 4:15 fits. Third, it matches what people actually do at that level and is about 1/3 of race distance, which seems to be a good goal. Fourth, the distance one does in training in 7:00 plus the distance done in 4:15 total to half of what one can do in 24 hours in a race.

Is it just me, or is it getting crazy in here?

So, the first, stripped-down, version of a training schedule for a sub-3 marathoner shooting for 24 hours looked like this:

M 35 min.
T 13 in 105 w/ 6-12x3 min. @ 5K pace
W 35 min
Th 13 in 105 on hills, w/20 min @ 1/2-,marathon pace
F 35 min
Sa 30 miles in 4:15 w/ 11 in 75 (mar. pace)
S 20 in 165
Then it was time to add in the long runs and other stuff, in an 8 week cycle:

M 105 min. hills @ 8min./mile w/ 16x100 sprints
T 30 min
W 105 min. w/ 10x 800m. in 3:00 - 3 min. recovery
Th 30 min
F 30 min

Sa 1,3,5,7 4:15 w/ 75min @ mar. pace (week 3 at night, week 5 on road)
S 1,3,5,7 105 min

Sa 2,6 7:00 w/75 min @ mar. pace
S 2,6 105 min.

Sa 4 5:00-6:00 w/ 75 min. @ Mar. pace
S 4 3:00-4:00

Sa 8 50 miles in 7:00 or race of 50 miles or more
S8 30 min

Total 88 miles/week average.
And then it was time to add cross-training and two-a-days. I'm not a fan of running more than once a day, but it makes sense if one's going to be running an entire day to run at more than one time. To just add more miles doesn't seem right, so cross-training makes sense and the only cross-training that's specific is race-walking/power-walking for 24 hour runs and hiking hills for trail 100's. Keeping to the 105 min. goal, this becomes an added 56 miles per week (13 min/mile powerwalk). 88 miles run plus 56 walked is 144 miles/week - the goal for 24 hours being 144 miles (10 min./mile). Magically, one ends up doing one's race each week. (Craziness in full effect here!) The second workout would be 8 miles on M&F, 13 on T,Th,F.

Okay, if you're still reading and haven't discounted all the rational advice in the earlier posts because they came from a lunatic, take a deep breath, forget all this nonsense and go for a run.

I'll be back to posting in July. Until then, one more quasi-related running song:


Anonymous said...

I think you'll find that many of the more successful runners (in ultras and shorter races) do, indeed, do a lot of doubles.

JojaJogger said...

I've really enjoyed the last couple of posts. I'm attempting my first 100 miler in 5 1/2 weeks and you've given out a lot of good info, thanks.

wcaitlin said...

It's going to be awhile before I take the plunge into 100 milers, but great info. 50 mph winds up Mt. Washington?! Dang! And yes you're right, getting to the top is a huge accomplishment :)!

RBR said...

Oh good, the 'crazy' is definitely back.

So any thoughts on how many miles per week a non-crazy person should run to get ready, for say.... a 50 miler?

I am asking for, you know, 'a friend'.

That same friend found a 3 mile loop with a death hill, so she can be cool like you and do hill repeats on a loop.

I think the crazy might be catchy.

SteveQ said...

@RBR: What I first said about 100's is even more true for 50 miles: train like you would for a marathon, but with longer long runs. The challenge for first-timers is getting from 3-4 hours to 6-7 hours without having to stop or do a "death march."

Mileage is mostly irrelevant in training for a first 50. If the race is on trails, training on trails, especially for the long runs, is key.

sea legs girl said...

Steve, sorry to interrupt your break from blogging! And this is totally unrelated, but that Hockey song "Song Away" is one I used to have on my ipod and the early 80's feeling - mix of Bruce Springsteen and Dire Straits was just too much for me! Perhaps I'm too young :). But I think the "Too Fake" song sounds good. Thanks, I need to get out my music opinions somewhere.

RBR said...

If you played nice I would suspect that someone had stolen your blogger log in.

*smirks back at you*

RBR said...

Enough to point out that rabbit's ears aren't long enough to be a hare"

Dammit! I was going to say that! I thought it was too much to be in a caption.

That bunny's ears clearly do not reach the minimum of at least an inch beyond its nose. :)

it heartbeat racing at 8,9 beats per minute...

Hoo! That made me snort.

Yes, please, please come to Cali to race. :)

mmmonyka said...

Hi SteveQ, thanks for stopping by on my blog.

Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

See you in July.