It is no secret that I loooove training plans.
I love sitting down with a blank calendar, running books, past training plans, ready to figure out what I am going to be running over the next 18, 16, 12 weeks.
Since becoming a runner, I feel like I have learned a lot about marathon training plans and can put one together pretty fast. Pfitzinger, Daniels, Hudson… I can tell you differences between them all pretty fast and have looked at or used a version of each of their plans at one time or another.
When I decided to sign up and train for AR50, one of the things I was most excited about was being “new” to a distance again. I was going to be the one asking all the questions, figuring out the basics, learning about fueling, and the list goes on and on. There is so much to learn and I love it!
Once I hit that register button, I immediately started looking for training plans (hmm well honestly I did that beforehand to see what I was getting myself into), and let me tell you, they are not as abundant as marathon training plans. I found a few samples, but they were all SO different from each other I didn’t even know where to start. I talked with a few friends who had done them before, read some more online, took all the training plans I could find, and sat down and started writing.
And just like that, a plan was born for my first 50 mile race.
I am now in Week 6 of said training plan and I still haven’t really talked about how exactly I am planning on training for this beast of a race, because looking at this training plan is kind of scary! Actually posting it on the blog for the world to see is even scarier. Plus, I have been changing it left and right, and have really just been planning out the week as I go on a post-it based on the week before and what my week looks like ahead.
Everyday I would open up my spreadsheet, tweak it a little bit, then close it again, trying to get it in some form of perfection, while also doubting that I had something that would get me ready. Then a good friend of mine Joanna posted her first 50 miler training plan and it actually looked very much like the secret one I had been hiding. I realized that maybe I wasn’t as crazy as I thought, that maybe this is just what people who sign up for 50 milers do to train. I guess we are already just a tad crazy to be signing up for such a thing in the first place… but just a tad.
So I decided to finally post it. To show the world the crazy insane awesomeness that is going to be the next 3 months. I already know of a number of runs I am going to be shifting days around, but overall this is the plan of attack.
When I put together my training plan I focused on the following:
- Double Days: At least one double day a week. Running on tired legs and during a different time of day then morning is a good thing.
- Double Digits: I want to have a mid-week double digit run. These help me a lot in marathon training and I like them.
- Long and Long: Back to back long runs! This pretty much is the base of any 50 mile training program. Run long and run long again the next day! I put a goal mileage for these days, but a lot of this will be by feel, by the terrain and by what is going on in my life. There is definitely room to maneuver here, especially on which run comes first in the weekend.
- Cutback Weeks: So far in my running years, my body has handled “higher” (relative term) mileage pretty well, but this is going to be a whole new ballgame. I am making sure that every 3 or so weeks, I bring the mileage down to let my body and mind recover a bit and get some rest.
- No Speed: Some 50 mile training programs have speedwork in them and I know a lot of ultra runners that do regular speedwork and that’s great. I don’t know how my body is going to handle all this running, so I am just going to keep most of my runs easy and build up a lot of endurance for this time around. If I get bored I might throw in some hill repeats, speedwork or tempo runs, but for now I am not planning on it and just focusing on general running.
- Trails: Run on trails as much as I can! Although my race is half on pavement, I know I have no problem getting in my pavement miles during the week, especially this time of year. I hope to do at least one of my long runs a week on the trails and also do mixed runs so my legs get used to switching from one surface to the other.
- Running A lot: The miles add up pretty quick with a plan like this and I pretty much feel like I will be running all the time. That is actually the part I am most excited about! I don’t have anything big going on over the next couple months and am ready to devote my free time to running, recovering, refueling and resting and repeating it the next day.
As always this plan is not set in stone. I will probably continue to get my post-it out on Monday every week and plan out the week accordingly based on how I feel and how the prior week went. This is a good start and a good guide for me to have that I am not afraid to change as I go. This is a learning experience and completely new territory for me, so I will be adjusting as I go.
This is definitely on the higher end mileage wise for me, and although I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, it’s how I want to tackle training. As long as I treat my body well and make changes as needed, I think it’s the best way to get my body (and mind!) to the start line ready to run 50 miles.
So that is it. It will be interesting to see how my body and legs respond, how I feel about running, how much food I will be eating and how many naps I take over the next 3 months.
And apparently I should update my race schedule for 2012… since you know, I now have two marathons and most likely a 50k in the next couple months.
I am so excited!
Are you a training plan maker? How do you tackle training for your big goal race?