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:
Aid Station: Eugene Curnow
2 hours ago