My “Ultra Training Plan” (or something vaguely resembling one…)

Although this is my final marathon “season”, I do have a few “bucket list” items that I want to check off before I hang up the sneakers.

As I stated before, I intend to continue running. But the long distance training is burning me out mentally and my chronic foot/ankle problem is serving notice that I should not plan on continuing this indefinitely.

Bottom line, if I walk away from the marathon, it will be on my terms.

I will likely complete another marathon or two down the road, but no more then one in a year with no sense of obligation to run any at all. I just can’t see myself ending the marathon career in Des Moines (as it is currently scheduled to end).

The bucket list includes one ultra (coming soon), one back-to-back marathon challenge (end of season) and one of the World Major Marathons (likely Chicago in the next couple of years…assuming I get selected via lottery).

But, the most imminent is the ultra…and I am starting to wonder how to train for it…no rush, since the race is 9 weeks away!

Aside from last year (Ironman scared me enough to force me into a real training plan) this is pretty typical for me…I sign up for whatever sounds cool, then I look at the calendar and wonder what the heck I just got myself into.

And everything looks so far away on the calendar…until they sneak up on you.

Yep, that’s me this season.

After running the Houston Marathon in mid January, I have done little except treadmill 5k’s (I am a fair weather runner, and I hate running more then 5k on the treadmill). I emerged from hibernation mid-March and ran a sub 2-hour Half Marathon (thank goodness for muscle memory).

I planned a rapid mileage ramp-up from there…except that it hasn’t been that rapid. The following week, I planned an 18 mile run (and…I did 15 miles), the following week would be 21 miles (and…I ran 18 miles). This weekend would be 24 miles (yep…I ran 18 miles…again).

This isn’t working out as I hoped (shocking).

So, how do I hope to pull this off? Well, I have been staring at the calendar all morning…and there is still a glimmer of hope.

Next week (week 1): 21 mile run (psychologically, I need to break 20 miles at least once).

Week 2-Hot Chocolate 15k (starting the taper, need a fun race to motivate me…and they feed you lots of chocolate at this one…and they give you a chocolate bar shaped medal).

Week 3-10k taper run

Week 4-Pittsburgh Marathon

Week 5-15 k recovery run

Week 6-27+ mile long run (I can dream optimistically…right?)

Week 7-15 mile taper run

Week 8-10k taper run

Week 9-FANS Ultra (minimum 50k)

Week 10-Start training for my summer triathlon season…

Yep, everything is under control. No problems here…

Expect I won’t have the base training, the endurance, or the weekly mileage to reasonably pursue an ultra. And, I am dealing with a nagging ankle injury.

Fortunately, this is the most beginner friendly ultra around. Go as far as you can (or want to go) in 24 hours. Stop anytime. 2 mile loop with two aid stations. Take a nap and come back if you would like. No such thing as a DNF…

That said, I look at my training plan and wonder what the heck I am thinking.

“May fortune favor the foolish…”




Filed under Random Musings

3 responses to “My “Ultra Training Plan” (or something vaguely resembling one…)

  1. You said ‘minimum’ 50K…..ANY chance you think you might take advantage of the 24 hours and push further? I ask, because if there IS, then I have some recommendations. I don’t know anything about your race, but if it is put on correctly (DECENT food, fun volunteers etc etc—I’ve done some where it was NOT, and that sucked), then I totally suggest taking advantage of all of that, and just see how far you can go!! You will discover that the ultra running world is a group of amazing people who want to see EVERYone succeed.

    BUT….if you ‘just want to get it over with so it can be crossed off the list’, then the training plan above is fine (but I would bail on that 27 miler…a 50K is only 5 more miles than a marathon, so no need to risk further injury by running running a long run). You will find that a vast majority of ultra ‘running’ consists of a TON of ultra WALKING…….MOST everyone does it…..some ONLY walk (Google Yolanda Holder). So incorporate walking into your training regime (I know, it SEEMS silly, but you use totally different muscles walking).

    A LONG time ago, when walk breaks were becoming mainstream, I asked Jeff Galloway why after the walk breaks it was sooooooo hard to transition BACK into running…….he said “you waited TOO long to take that first break, so you were too tired”….

    IF you want to push for distance, here are my recommendations:
    1. Add walking to training
    2. Do ‘doubles’: a 7/17 weekend, and a 12/23… add a half the day before the marathon you’re doing.
    3. Experiment with fuel: set up your own little aide station on the long training runs with things you might want to eat (VERY few ultra peeps use GUs and such, and if they do, it’s early on….but rather real food-pb&js, turkey roll ups, potatoes, etc etc etc)
    4. Get a headlamp and practice nighttime running…..even if you don’t *think* you’ll still be out there after dark, it’s good to have the option.

    I’m sure I’ll think of stuff to add….

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a “one and done”. I have the option of 6, 12, or 24 hour. I picked 24 hour to have options if I feel up to it. I ran trails in the dark with a headlamp during my Ironman. They have 2 aid stations on a 2.1 mile loop. One is basic fluids only. The other is called “tent city”. Good, fluids, pizza, first aid, etc. support should be good. I certainly might go beyond 50k, just to see what I am capable of doing. I am fine with walking (walked the last 7 miles in Madison). Don’t know how some are able to WALK one hundred miles in 24 hours…

      Liked by 1 person

    • And, yes, real food is better. When going at a high intensity, blood flow to the gut stops, and Gatorade and GU is easier to digest. Lower intensity allows more options…

      Liked by 1 person

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