JFK50 Training Plan
|September 4, 2013||Posted by Emily under Uncategorized|
noun, Sweaty origins
1. Loose concepts followed throughout a training cycle by TypeZ athletes in lieu of color-coded spreadsheets, an account on TrainingPeaks or regular emails from a coach.
2. A means of getting into peak fitness by November 23rd after a less-than-healthy two months of cross country road tripping and moving to a new coast.
You’ll notice that if you google “50 miler training plan”, the results will look a lot different than if you perform the same search for marathon training plans. While the core elements of marathon prep are pretty similar across different training plans, ultras vary hugely based on what an individual can handle for volume/intensity and what course-specific training you need to get in before race day*
(* at least this is my perception based on my very limited experience with this sport).
From the last year of dabbling in ultras, I know a few things that absolutely work for me, and a few things that I need to tweak based on the course profile for JFK. For simplicity’s sake, I’ve broken the elements of my training plan into a few parts:
Quantity (a kind of critical part of ultra training)
Back-to-back long runs – If you ask me why my first 50 miler felt a little scarily perfect and a lot insanely fun, my answer will center around back-to-back long runs. There is no feeling quite like powering through double digit mileage on legs that are already fatigued from the marathon (or longer!) distance that they ran the day before. When I hit Mile 40 of Can Lake 50 still feeling strong, I not-so-silently thanked the many weekends I spent slogging through back-to-back long runs in the heat and humidity of DC. I have a very rough plan mapped out for back-to-backs that incorporates some local marathons/50ks and peaks around 55-60 miles for weekend mileage.
Lots-o-Mileage – Since May, I’ve been upping my mileage by about 10% per week with some stepback weeks thrown into the mix to help my legs adjust to the increases. Last week I hit somewhere between 72-75 miles and felt great. IDEALLY, I’d like to spend the majority of the next three months in the 80-90 range with some peaking in the triple digits, but that’s all contingent on my body continuing to feel healthy.
Doubles –Doubles are great for active recovery, improving endurance, and squeezing miles into a chaotic schedule. Plus, they’re a lot of fun and allow for a healthy balance of solo and social miles. I plan to do ~ two days of doubles a week.
Quality (speed + specificity in training)
My training this fall will hinge largely on preparing not just to run 50 miles, but specifically for the JFK course (which involves running up and down a mountain on the AT and then 26ish miles on a packed dirt path before popping back out on some rolling road). To get ready for this, I’ll run lot of trails, a lot of hills, and do some speedwork.
Because this is what miles 1-15.5 look like
Luckily, I moved to a town with several small mountains in my backyard and people who think it’s fun to chase a workday with a run up one of them. Between doing races with some solid elevation profiles and frolicking around the many ascents around the PNW, I should be okay to run this guy in November.
Trail time The scars all over my knees and elbows are happy to tell you that my trail running still has a lot of room for improvement. From my (again, limited) experience, it seems like practice makes perfect (or, at least, better) on the technical stuff, so practice I will do.
Sucks since I hate trail running so hard.
Speed training Now that my mileage base is substantial, I’m ready to start reminding these legs that they like to turnover. And the 26ish miles of fairly flat, very non-technical path on the JFK course will require a little more speed than the rocky mountain miles that start the race. There are a couple of solid training groups in town that I’ll start to run with to incorporate some speedier miles.
Cleaning up my life
Core/strength training/Cleaning up my life:
The nice thing about falling hopelessly off the healthy living wagon during the move/cross country trip, is that it’s not that hard to get back on. I like strength training, I like the burns-so-good sensation you get from from a killer core session, and I like eating healthy and sleeping a lot. (I also do like beer and occasional basket of cheese curds, but usually all of the other stuff balances it out a little better). I am actually super eager to get back into a normal routine that involves regular grocery shopping, weights, and fatigued triceps, so (shoelaces crossed), this shouldn’t actually be all that hard to do.
And whoop, there it is. T-minus 11 weeks until race day!