The first step of success in an ultra is a sound training plan to tame the eccentric mind!
If you had read my post on future running plans, then I had mentioned that I have two 100 km ultra marathons lined up for the year. Keeping that in mind, I made myself a training plan for 100 km ultra.
Bdw, there is a video at the end of the post on the what I have written, so check that out too.
Now, I started my training or I will say ‘some’ running again in February. I ran last in November 2016. So, it was a big break of sorts.
Before I created a plan for myself, I wrote down a bit about myself as to how my body and mind reacts to the stresses of a training plan. All this knowledge was gained from my previous races. And this acknowledgment of own weaknesses enabled me to plan accordingly and tackle the grey areas.
Aim is to reach the start line without an injury. And to enjoy the race.
Read : Training plan for La Ultra
1. I am not a high mileage guy. At max, I can handle 100 km per week with all the stresses of life to include job and family.
2. I am not very fast.
3. I am injury prone.
4. I am a poor eater. I mean I eat some junk food, because of which my energy levels fluctuate.
5. I weigh a lot for a runner.
Now, the plan is for the 1st 100 km i.e Bhatti Lakes Ultra. The second 100 km happens after a gap of one and half months in Nigiris. I am not particularly bothered about that race now. However, the second race performance will largely depend on the quality of training of these 6 months and how well I recover from the race.
I have gone about creating a training plan for myself in the following steps. It’s not perfect and will be undergoing constant tweaks as the training progresses.
1. Backward calculation
The first step is really simple. Check the date of the event and mark out the present date; which gives you the total period of training. I am comfortable with a time span of 6 months, to take into account any injury or lay offs due to work, family or illness.
My goal race is on 06 October 2017. Today is 09 April 2017. So, I have 25 weeks and 4 days i.e approximately 6 months.
As you see in the inset, I have just used a date range for each week. The days of the week are not listed because I will prepare the weeks’ workout to cater for any sudden change in life plans. Otherwise, it leads to stress, if the weeks’ schedule is written down from before, if one is not able to follow it to the “T”.
2. Break down in phases
I have 25 weeks in hand. I straight away give 12 weeks or 3 months to Base Building Phase. These 3 months will be further broken down to one month each of Base 1, Base 2 and Base 3.
Base 1(April 2017) – Easy running at aerobic pace with 10% increase in weekly long run distance each week. And 3-4 days of weight training.
Base 2(May 2017) – Easy running at aerobic pace with 10% increase in weekly long run distance each week. And 2-3 days of weight training. Hill work will be done once a week.
Base 3(June 2017) – Easy running at aerobic pace with 10% increase in weekly long run distance each week. And 1-2 days of weights and more of body weight training. Longer stretches of lactate threshold running will start.
Next 1 month(July 2017) is for speed sessions once a week.
5th month(August) will be for back to back long runs on alternate weeks or every week, depending on how I feel.
1st week of 6th month(September 2017) is a longest run of the training program i.e a 50 km which I intend to run in a race in Udaipur. It is a Tuffman Island Ultra – Udaipur on 10 September 2017.
3. Weekly long run
Weekly long runs are the staple diet of any ultra marathon training plan. It is the most important workout of the week.
Read : Rambling About My Long Runs
It will continue increasing by almost 10% every week. Every 4th week long run will be same as the first of 3 week block. That means if I run 10 km, 12 km and 14 km in a 3 week block, then my long run of the 4th week will be of 10 km(as a down week). The subsequent 3 week block long run will start from 14 km then. Hope you got what I want to say!
4. Cross training/ strength training
Cross training will be in form of walking and cycling. I walk almost everyday and I realised over a period of time that it helps me a lot in recovering from runs by improving the circulation. Cycling maybe once a week.
I have a bench press at home with basic weights. As per the above schedule of Base 1,2 and 3, I will follow the weight training routine. Later I will switch to more of body weight training.
I am not writing anything in specific about the types of exercises but will write at the start of each week. However, the basic exercises will be squats, lunges, push ups, planks, glute bridge and clams.
5. Weekly program
As mentioned above, I will play it by the ear. Before the start of each week i.e Sunday, I will prepare the workout of the week. It will all depend on the length of the weekly long run and how am I feeling.
My endevour would be to keep the long run at 20-30% of my weekly mileage. With experience I have realised that this 20-30% is sometimes hard to follow because there will be a row of days when I won’t be able to run. Various issues, you know! Then the only run I look forward to do is the weekly long run. But I will try to keep this kind of situation at the minimum.
6. Throw in some races
I am planning to do a couple of races in between to keep the training alive and spicy. I will be doing all my runs alone here in Gwalior.
So, I have planned to do a couple of races for which I am so pumped. The first one is a half marathon in June/July in Gurugram and the second is a 50 km in Udaipur. The complete details of the Udaipur race are not out yet but I plan to do this race as my longest weekly long run i.e 50 km.
So, here it is, my plan of action! The whole basic premise of constructing a training plan is to identify and acknowledge own weaknesses and prepare in advance.
A point to remember here is that there is no plan which suits all. This plan may suit me but not you. You have to introspect and find out what works for you. And as time goes by, everything will fall in place.
I made a video too on the same. It’s the age of video they say!
If you like the video and what I had to say, then please subscribe to the channel. I will be posting weekly videos on how my training is going on.
I always remind myself that it is the journey which makes it memorable and not the race itself!
Till then stay fit and keep running.
How do you plan for a race?
Do you find any kink in the plan which I have made? If yes, then do let me know!