Train Like A...

After some good training, then some not-so-good training it is time kick it up a notch. Whenever I feel I am either ready or need too ramp things up I have a re-read of the Ultra168 article Train Like A Mother. I've referenced this article before for good reason. The layout of the training in it doesn't match what suits me, but I like the concepts it raises. My summary... train hard, train very hard and make sure you recover to train some more.

This week has been the start of ramping it up. As usual the plans change on the fly. It went a little something like this...

Monday: 9km Easy. While the pace wasn't hard, a lot of concentration is put into technique. There is a slight exaggeration put into some aspects of my running form to help override the body's laziness that leads to problems over time. The level of concentration is the most exhausting element.

Tuesday: 90min MP80%. After a warm up the target pace translates to 4:48/km for 90 minutes. I kind of think of this as threshold training for ultras. The aim is to hit a pace that's a bit below anaerobic threshold and challenges the carbohydrate stores. It feels easy at the start, but becomes a push to hold in the latter stages. Today's effort fell short, my legs just didn't have the expected speed in them and I slugged through below goal pace. At about 75 minutes in I had definitely challenged my carbohydrate stores. I expect to be able to hold this one next time.

Wednesday: 1km with the kids. Hard to call this a training session, but the kids asked to go for a run with me. Couldn't say no. No other training today. Originally I had wanted to hit some hill repeats by the hangover from night shift with a short notice extra morning shift coming at me tomorrow meant sleep had to be prioritised.

Thursday: 10km Easy. The body clock was saying no, but somehow a cruising 10km has me feeling better for the work day.

Friday: Long: Ultra 4 hours. The goal was to keep running for 4 hours over terrain with plenty of hills. I didn't have a pace goal except the point of this was for the majority of the run to feel easy and to still be able to hold my pace through to the end without a massive increase in effort. It is a run I have to throw the ego away and concentrate on meeting the aim of this run. Ultra marathons are not particularly fast and running efficiently at 7:30-8:00/km is an important skill. Today I hit my targets.

Saturday: 11km Easy. Just like Monday, this was mentally taxing with an exaggerated focus on technique. Made a bit more difficult to maintain with some fatigue from yesterday's ultra long run.

Sunday: Long 70% 3 hours. The 3 hours includes 15 minutes warm up and cool down, then the main portion was some moderate terrain (flat and a few hills) averaging about 5:12/km. That was the plan anyway. The reality was at 2:15 into the run I bonked and holding anything close to my goal pace was no longer going to happen. In the end I cut some of the course and finished the run in 2:50.


Those who like to dissect training programs will notice a lack of high intensity running, especially above my anaerobic threshold this week. In the preceding couple of months there has been a mixture of hill and track repeats, plus a small amount of hill sprints thrown into the weekly mix. At the moment I am finding it relatively easy to run at those moderate to high speeds, but I struggle to maintain the extra long stuff at any sort of speed. So with an ultra marathon only a few weeks away my training will focus much more on the endurance. My fast stuff is okay and I can maintain the standard with a specific session every couple of weeks. The biggest return will be in focusing on bringing up my long endurance. 110km for the week is a good start in that direction.

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