...they pull me back in again. [Michael Corleone, in "The Godfather"]
I thought what I needed to do was get back to some basic endurance training, as it seems it only takes a few weeks for me to reap the rewards from speedwork and/or get injured. Then I got entry into next year's Chippewa 50K. So, I guess I should train for it.
First off, I couldn't finish 50K right now, but a couple of weeks of training and I could probably run 7 hours. Reasonable training over the winter and I could run 5:30. To win my age class, I'd need to run 4:15.
4:15's the goal, then. That'd be like running a marathon under 3 hours, so it's no easy task. I need a plan.
Let's divide the race into components. The stuff I'm good at, the fast bits, cover maybe 1:15, leaving me with 3 hours. That's right on the borderline between marathoning and ultramarathoning for me, so I need to get all I can as a marathon-type race and then prepare for a (more probable) 5:30 finish by being able to run 4-5 hours at a more "ultra kind of pace."
I 'm thinking of only 4 runs per week, like Jack Foster late in his career, or as Brad Hudson suggests for masters runners. To get the kind of time-on-one's-feet training I need, those will be some fairly serious runs. The standard schedule has a hard day of long intervals on Tuesday, a moderate day of hills or short intervals on Thursday, a hard day with a fast continuous run on Saturday and an easy very long run on Sunday. At marathon distance or beyond, the long run becomes a hard run, so the Saturday and Sunday distances get swapped. That gives the following:
Tuesday: 120-135 minutes with 4-6x 1 mile @ half-marathon pace, with 1 mile jog recovery ("in-and-out" miles), eventually leading to 6-8x1 mile - 1/2 mile recovery.
Thursday: 120-135 minutes of short (1/4 mile, 100 foot climb) hills, trying to maintain constant effort.
Saturday: 165-195 minutes with 4-15 miles at marathon pace, preferably at the end, once the distance becomes easy.
Sunday: "120-135 minute equivalent" trail run, which would probably be one 25K loop at Afton, done slowly, as much as 4 minutes per mile slower than it could be done on flat ground. This would include some fartlek-type 100m strides uphill.
The Tuesday and Saturday runs are hard; the other two I have to make a conscious effort to make easier. The Thursday run is just to keep used to continuous hills, the Sunday run to be able to run trails when already tired (but not shuffling!) The two runs on the weekend are approximately as long as the longest I'd need to run in the race if all went wrong. The Tuesday run is to maintain a little "sharpness" without doing any truly fast running.
Of course, once the temperatures drop below zero this winter, this plan will disintegrate. I'm okay with that, as long as I don't disintegrate too.
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