The “plan”

11 miles in the snow today!

This is the tentative training schedule. I say tentative because I am fairly undisciplined, and I also like trying new things. This plan is based off one I found online (dirtyrunning) that appealed to me. First because I tried the high mileage thing two years ago and burned out in September and this plan is relatively low mileage plan. Second, I found that a decade ago, if I concentrated on my long weekend runs and only got out once or twice during the week I had a bit of success, so I’m trying to regain the conditioning minus the burnout.

Tentative is the catchword here, not to give me an out on days I don’t want to run, but to give me options to do other things and not be a slave to training. The fact that I like looking for obscure fun trail races which cannot necessarily be scheduled according to my mileage “needs” and the need to be flexible for other events, sports, and kids requires my schedule to be tentative. Understand that I do this for fun; not for speed, not for glory, not for prizes. So here are the basics:

Mondays are core days. My sister teaches a Pilates class Mondays and Fridays at the YMCA directly across the street from where I work. Her classes are brutal and I have never enjoyed them (the two I went to). But, as I get older, I find that I’m losing a bit of core strength that is essential for negotiating technical single track, particularly technical downhills which I pride myself on being somewhat of an expert at doing. So I’m “committing” to once a week core building.

Wednesdays are the “Strength” running workouts. These are supposed to be 45 minutes to one hour runs pushing the uphills, or fartleks, or tempo runs. I know I said I’m not about speed, glory, or prizes, but these runs are essential for strength in the long run. Even if I’m not running an uphill 30 or 40 miles into a 50 miler, I still need the strength to summit. I also understand that running uphills uses different muscles than power-walking uphills, which is my strategy in ultra events, but I have a plan to build those muscles as well. The object for these “Strength” runs is to focus on the muscle groups the weekend long runs, and recovery runs don’t address; it is all a part of the balanced approach to ultras.

This is where the tentativeness of this schedule comes into play. Fleet Feet / Yellowjacket Racing in Rochester hosts a “SnowCheap” race series. These are six runs on Wednesday nights between 3 – 4 miles, on snowshoes. Depending on whether or not I enjoy the snowshoe race (I have zero experience in snowshoes) this upcoming Saturday and whether or not my kids’ schedules comply, I may find myself entering a few of these races and pushing hard. The key is getting out and working hard.

Weekends are dedicated to time on the feet. Primarily, the long run is done on Saturdays with a recovery run on Sundays. There are a couple of back to back long runs within the schedule and a few 50k/6hr organized events thrown in for “fun”. Even though the word ‘Easy’ follows many of the distance or time plans, ‘easy’ is relative. The intention here is to run slow; to simulate a 50 mile race in pace and strategy. This means going out slooooow, power-walking the hills, recovery on the flats, and gently pushing the downhills (really allowing gravity to do the work while concentrating on foot placement).

Note: there are a few ‘rest’ days on some of the weekends; they are either the day before or after an organized event. More than likely they will include a 2 mile slooooow jog just to keep loose and/or recover.

This leaves all of those 5 mile easy runs on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays. These runs are ‘optional’ so long as activity happens on at least two of the three days. One of the other events that‘s been on my radar for the past two years is a triathlon but I can’t swim. Okay, I can dog paddle and thrash in the water and could probably do an Olympic distance, but would be too trashed to do the bike or run afterward. That said I might explore swim lessons at the YMCA on one of these ‘5 mile easy’ days, and when the weather gets warmer, hop on the bike on another one of these days.

Glossary:

Slow /recovery– 9-10 minute miles

Slooooow – 10 – 13 minute miles

Strength – tops out at 7:30 – 8 minute miles in fartlek or tempo runs.

This is it in grid form:

Click to see googledoc

Click to see googledoc

Next Up: Upstate NY, training in winter.

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