Last week I talked about my crazy idea for a 0 to ultra in 100 days plan and committed to unveiling a training plan for it this week. Unlike most occasions where I willfully ignore my commitments, I actually put pen to paper for this one (or should I say finger to keyboard?) and knocked out a simple training schedule. I’ll be the first to admit, the training plan title is slightly misleading as really my goal is to make sure I complete the first 18 km of the race in 2.5 hours (if you missed last week’s post, that’s the cut off for continuing on in the race). After that, I can slow my roll and focus on just finishing. So really, I don’t consider it training for an ultra as much as training for a half marathon.
A few important details about my approach to training plans:
1. My plans are very loosely structured. I focus on mapping out overall weekly workouts and progression instead of micro-scheduling distances and activities by day of the week. I have never been good with super structured training plans. The last time I tried to follow a marathon training plan, I had severe burnout (mentally) to the point that I didn’t run the marathon I was training for, and decided I would never run a marathon again. Famous last words…Anyway, I will keep it flexible, because life happens, and because nothing makes me hate training more than looking at a calendar and seeing things like “32 km trail run” tied to a specific day. Translation: I do not like rules.
2. This plan is made possible by a flexible workplace with an incredibly generous vacation package. Without the ability to tack extra days onto weekends, take extra long breaks, or go in to work late/leave early, I don’t think this plan would work.
3. I have not incorporated any significant running into this plan right now. In particular, I am going to intentionally train without any trail running. Sound crazy? My goal for this race is finishing, which means I need to focus on running the sections that will cause the least injury aggravation (i.e. flat-ish sections). I can train for those through a combination of road running (which tends to cause my body less grief) and fast-paced uphill hiking. I have always been faster hiking uphill than running anyway.
Now that I’m all prefaced out, without further adieu, here is my laid-back guide to ultra training…
It’s simple. It’s manageable for maintaining an actual life where I can still enjoy evenings out, time with friends, etc. I know myself well enough to know I will never structure my life around a hard core training schedule. I also think it will be kind to my SI. Before I started all these trail running shenanigans, my SI was fine. Hiking doesn’t seem to be a problem, and so I’m going to focus on hiking farther, higher and infinitely faster and hope that it translates into a super speedy 18 km. I think the appropriate well-wishes to myself in this scenario are “god speed”…with the emphasis on speed.