Every training plan needs some training elements, right? I like to be very specific with my training so I can get the most bang for a limited amount of time. I can't log big miles. Back in the late 90's and through 2003 I would stack big weeks of long training runs. Though that got me where I wanted to be it really took a toll on my body. I would find myself struggling with minor injuries and more often I was sick. There were training plans where I logged 10+ weeks at 100+ miles. That just doesn't work for me. My body won't take it and since it takes me a long time to run that many miles time become a factor. :) Below are some of the elements I have included in my training plan for Ulmstead 100M.
Periodization or Cycle Training: I like to work in 3-4 week cycles. As I head into the Peak Phase I like to bump it down to 3 week cycles because when I am logging more than 70 miles a week I need that recovery week sooner or push myself over the edge.
Speed Sessions: This element is the most crucial for me. I need to work for every ounce of speed I have so having at least 1 solid speed workout per week is critical, maybe 2. I started with determining a VDOT so I could use the Daniels Method of training. This method works really well for me during Ultra training. The speeds are not too intense to dig into other training but very effective is gaining speed. Once I had a number I had 5 types of speed workouts. True T-Pace sessions, Cruise Intervals at T-Pace, Sustained M-Pace session, Segmented M-Pace Work, and finally VO2 Max Intervals. For the first part of my training in Dec and Jan I alternating between True T-Pace, Cruise Intervals, and both M-Pace types of workouts. During the Feb I did only long M-Pace work. In March only VO2 Max intervals (long track workouts) and one shorter M-Pace type of workout. On a recovery week I would only do 1 speed session.
The Long Run: Of course every plan needs a long run. I don't like to do long slow runs very much. I like to add quality into my long run and keep it under 5 hours most of the time. Unless there is a really cool group run. In the final 2 weeks of training I will push it to 6 hours but beyond that, unless it's for Hardrock, it's too much for me. I have several workouts I like to do for the long run. The Progression run, The 10 min, 4 min at AT cycle run, Block runs (varying intensity in blocks), 15 min. easy running with 30 sec. sprints throughout, long AT hill repeats or a Goal Pace Run. A bunch of options for long runs. I pair these appropriately with they type of speed session so I cover all the upper zones in a weeks time.
Recovery Run: Usually 2 recovery run per week. In the Peak Phase one of these will be 90-120 minutes of total cruising and maybe power-hiking if necessary.
Back to Back Runs: Every Ultra runner generally doesn't feel complete without the back to back. I am one of them. Though I only do back to back long sessions in the Peak Phase so 6 weeks, before the taper. I like to build my back to back runs so I get a good hard session on one day and the next is easier but back end pacing or focus. This helps me be ready to run on very tired legs and reminds me that a huge part of the 100M run is the metal hurdle we reach at 60+ miles.
Off Days: I suck at off days. I don't like them and struggle to stick with them. Though I know they are a huge corner stone for improvement I still stink at taking them. I plan at least one day off. On a recovery week I take 2 days off.
Cross Training: For this training plan I had to do some MTBing in Dec, Jan and Feb. I needed to get on the bike in order to ride Old Pueblo 24HR. This was actually really nice! I did back to back on Fri/Sat and rode on Sun with Bill. I only rode for 3 hours max per session in training for OP24HR. It was the perfect recovery session after a week of solid running. When I was done with the race in mid Feb. it coincided nicely with the Peak Phase for Ulmstead. I bumped my back to backs to 3-6 hours of hilly effort on Fri. Saturday would be shorter, flatter and faster but no more than 4-4.5 hours.
I have 2 weight sessions a week. One upper and one lower and Bikram 2X per week. Can you tell I like details? I use heart rate training for some of the longer stuff when pace won't really work. I am anxious to see how Ulmstead pans out. I feel like I am getting in better shape with this focus on training. I hope it works because if it doesn't I am going to have to really hold fast to my goal of no coach. Wish me luck!