Well, it is 221 days out to the Run Rabbit Run 100! 221 is just a random number at this point, but it is a small enough number that it worries me a little bit as well. I’ve been running quite a bit in recent week, but still feel like I have a very long way to go to be ready for the race. I promised myself that I was only going to sign-up for a 100 miler if I intended to train hard and give a sincere effort. So, I decided to sit down and formulate a rough training plan today. As appealing as it is for me to not have a plan, it just makes me feel uncomfortable to start my training arbitrarily.
History has shown me that I typically operate at my best when I bypass “decision mode”. I consider myself to be pretty self-motivated, but going into a day of training without a firm commitment to an agenda frequently leads to sub-optimal results. When I’m stuck in decision mode, it creates a lot of unnecessary battles and opens a Pandora’s box of self-doubt. Over the years, I’ve found that it is much easier to just suck it up and get my workout or run in rather than give myself a choice. It is much easier for me to blast myself out of bed in the morning if I’m committed to a certain mileage or workout for the day. I don’t have the energy to fight myself every morning to decide how far I’m going to run or if it is ok to skip a day.
Basically, I subscribe to the old Nike slogan “Just Do It”. Although, the phase “Just Do It” seems to be more of a pleading than a command to me. So, I have gravitated toward the phrase/mantra: “Shut Up and Jam!”; inspired by the classic video game Barkley Shut Up and Jam! (Ok, the word “classic” might be a little bit much; NBA Jam and NBA Street were clearly far superior). It is surprisingly effective for me to imagine Charles Barkley yelling, “Shut Up and Jam!” when I’m tempted to complain about a run. Sir Charles doesn’t want to hear my whining or excuses and neither do I. But I digress; let’s jump back to my training plan.
Last year, my strategy to escape decision mode was to get a coach to keep me on track. I really enjoyed having a coach pushing me through the process and encouraging me that I could complete my goals. I would love to work with a coach again, but I simply need to cut some expenses this year. So, I’ve decided to try to adapt my schedule from last year and not use a coach this year. Also, I think (hope) I have a much better idea of what it will take to finish my first 100 miler after successfully completing the Never Summer 100k last year. Finally, I have a lot of great friends who run these crazy races to help me out with my training too.
Ok, so here is my basic plan. I’m going to continue to fine tune it as I go along, but I think it has some solid ideas. I will obviously adapt my schedule as I go along if it doesn’t make sense, but that will be a periodic evaluation and not a daily one! I’ll put some more thought below, but here is my plan so I don’t lose the few brave souls who’ve made it this far in my blog entry:
Here are the main principles and thoughts employed in my training plan:
- My weekly mileage base at the start of training is 40 miles per week.
- I prefer to use mileage targets instead of time targets. This just seems a lot easier on trails to me. I vaguely tried to use time in the past, but it was too difficult for me to predict how long any given trail run would take. Don’t worry, I’ll be getting plenty of time on feet covering these distances!
- In an effort to avoid injury and not increase mileage too fast; I put together my 5% Levels table to monitor my mileage increase. This is pretty much the same idea as the 10% rule that I’ve seen in marathon training plans I’ve used in the past: Don’t increase your weekly mileage by more than 10% week over week. Also, using these levels is more interesting to me for whatever reason (see the bottom of the page for the table).
- My mid-week miles will include hill repeats and occasional speed work as well. I will also be doing weights and core work at least twice during the week. These details are not included in the simplified plan I’ve included here, but I think they were invaluable in my training last year. I’m not going to provide these details because I feel like the presentation of my training plan is complicated enough already. Also, I have no idea what exactly I’m doing in these areas yet. My coach last year came up with these parts for me and understanding how to incorporate these things into my training is a relative weakness of mine.
- I’m going to run 3 out of 5 days during the middle of the week with one longer run generally. My weekend mileage will consist of long back-to-back runs. I will run one of these on roads to start with and transition to doubling up on trails at some point. This will also increase the time I’m on my feet as trails take longer.
- My peak mileage weeks will be around 75 miles and my peak back-to-back days will be 20 and 30 miles on trails.
- I’ll just see what works as I go along and this schedule will likely change. As I mentioned earlier though, I really wanted to get a structure down so I’m not just arbitrarily deciding want I will run on a given day.
- Shut Up and Jam!