Now the new year is under way I like to plan out my training for my ultras. For 2017 I have entered three races so far and hopefully I’ll get a place in two others. The details are on the 2017 Ultras page.
I have worked out a rough plan for the first four months of the year which will take me to The Highland Fling on Saturday 29th April 2017.
This will be my 11th year of running ultras and I have worked out a pattern that seems to suit me. In some ways I wonder whether I should radically change what I do in the hope that it may help but on reflection I feel that I would rather stick with I know works for me!
There are certain key things in my training which I try and incorporate.
- Variety – each week I try and do a speed session, a tempo run, a hill session and a couple of longer runs on the trail.
- Specific purpose – if possible I like to have a definite aim for the run. There are times when I will just go out an do an easy run but they tend to be in my taper and recovery weeks.
- Rest days – I aim to run 5 days out of 7. If possible I try and cycle to and from work on my non-running days. For me it is really important to have a couple of days a week when I don’t run. I’m sure this is one of the reasons I don’t get injured too often.
- Monthly routine – The other aspect of rest is I plan to have a easy week once a month. So I will build up my mileage for 3 weeks normally with a longer (30 miles plus) at the end of the month. Then I’ll have an easy week to recover before building up again.
- Long Runs – these are the key sessions of my training plan and I like to get them in the diary and keep to them. I aim to run with the gear I’ll be carrying for the race I’m training for. So if it’s the Lakeland 100 or Hardmoors 110 I will carry all the mandatory gear. For this year I’m running the Fling and West Highland Way so I won’t need to carry as much gear.
- Back to back – I introduced these sessions a few years ago and I feel they definitely help. These sessions will be even more important this year as one of my key races is the 3 day Ring of Fire around Anglesey. So I want to practice running consequentially for 2-3 days.
- Ben Lomond Runs – I started doing weekly runs up and down Ben Lomond a few years ago and they have really helped me to strengthen my quads. The key part of the run for me is the downhill run. I find to run for 40mins or so downhill really does thrash the quads and they are sore the next day. But they repair stronger and by doing it week by week my quads are strong enough to cope with the downhill running late on in an ultra.
- Speed sessions – I still like to do a weekly Fartlek session with Kilbarchan AAC and a tempo run. Even though I’m training to run for a long time if my basic speed is faster then I will be able to run for longer more comfortably. Plus I really enjoy trying to run a bit faster and at the end of the day I run because I enjoy it!
I think that will do for now! So with that in mind here is my provisional training plan for January to April. I say provisional as I’m sure they will be changes due to a variety of reasons.
I have entered the National Cross Country and Inverness Half Marathon so I have taken out my long monthly run for February but I’m hoping the speed training I will do for those races will help.