Friday, April 25, 2014

The "Ultra" Training Plan

My goal of running 30 miles by my 30th birthday (12 weeks away at this point...) is rather... well... ambitious would be a nice word. I wouldn't be trying it if I didn't already have a strong baseline of fitness and enough experience to believe that, with appropriate training, my body can do this without badness happening. 

This past year, I trained for a half-marathon within an 8 week period immediately after having healed from stress fractures in both feet (the fractures were not due to running, FYI). Because of the recent injury, I was very conservative in my training. I stopped at even a hint of pain and I walked more than I ran. However, when I was able to run, I ran my heart out. Towards the end of my training period, I was amazed at how much better my training felt than in the past. Most of all, I was surprised at how quickly I was able to gain both speed and distance. I had started my training hesitantly, thinking I wouldn't be able to run the race completely; I ended my training in the best running shape of my life.

Based on that success (and other stuff), I plan on training similarly for my "30 by 30." I'm going to do a couple of short-fast-hard runs during the week (seriously, just two of these) along with a long, gentle-paced run on the weekends.

Derek took this plan and added to it based on his own experience and research. He created a comprehensive training plan for me that includes cardio, strength training, and core training. His plan incorporates a great deal of advice found in Training for the New Alpinism: A Manual for the Climber as Athlete by Steve House and Scott Johnston (Derek wrote a book review on it if you are interested; If you live around here, you can also borrow this book from the Transylvania County Library).

I'm sure that the additional strength training will help me improve my power and my overall bone health, too (my doctor will be pleased I'm sure; I can never leave an appointment without some comment about how frail & skinny I am..."You'd better put on some weight, or you'll break a hip when you get older!" [eye-roll] Maybe I'll rant about that in a different post). Strength training is something I've always been slack about, and I'm hoping that making it part of my running training will help me do better with it. 

We'll see how it goes :) I'm off to do my first double-digit mile run of this training cycle! 

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