Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spring 50k Training Plan

Dominating running from the 5k to the 50k, on the road and the trail, during the summer and winter doesn’t come easy. Hard work can get me some of the way there but it will also take rubbing some brain cells together to make the most of that hard work while avoiding illness, injury, and negative returns. Forcing adaptation and getting faster is an intricate balance of purposeful workouts, good nutrition, and rest. I don’t have room for stubborn routines and quotas that compromise this balance.

I laid a good foundation of strength and base miles down the last 4 months and now I am ready to push all my limits on the mission to get stronger faster. There is a nice spread of spring races on the horizon and I have strength and speed in me to realize before that time comes. I want the biggest return on investment and that is what planning is all about.

I still have Jiu Jitsu, biking, and swimming to fit in, and triathlons to compete in.  That is why every run I do has a purpose and no run is redundant. Call it adaptive training, what works today won’t work tomorrow. There are many different paths to getting faster and taking all of them lets me increase frequency and intensity and minimize fatigue. Every week features an interval, tempo, distance, and recovery effort. Every effort has so many nuances and variations they won’t even look or feel similar.

Spring 50k Training Plan.  This will be the third week.


Intervals are about a lot of pain and suffering in a short time, running fast to run fast. The pain meter reads 8 to 9 out of 10 most of this effort and 10 out of 10 by the end. This is about near maximum heart rate and being out of breath. I prefer distance intervals ranging anywhere from 200m to 1600m. Between is a rest interval, 400m most days, maybe I run it, maybe not. Once I feel recovered I hit it again in an attempt to turn out consistent efforts. Intervals take place on the road, on the trails, on the uphill, on the downhill, on the track, and on winding paths. Intervals are not always about hitting time or pace targets and can’t be when accounting for weather and terrain.


Long intervals transition to short tempo seamlessly. Tempo is about moderate pain and suffering for the duration at a consistent but ultimately unsustainable effort. The pain meter reads from 7 to 8 out of 10 most of this effort, optionally culminating in 9 out of 10 by the end. Tempo starts at a moderate heart rate but quickly drifts up around 90% max heart rate. Some tempos are broken into multiple efforts with recovery intervals and some are one big effort. Tempo can cover any spread of distances and effort will vary accordingly. Tempo can and should take place anywhere, just like intervals and unless it is a time trial or road race pace doesn’t matter.

Long Run

The long run is about pushing total time and distance limits and exhausting calories at a comfortable sustainable effort without cardiac drift. The long run is about packing a lunch and bringing something to drink. The long run is a laboratory for trying new things and making mistakes so they are not made race day. The pain meter starts at 0 out of 10 but may find its way to 10 out of 10 hours later. The long run needs to take place under circumstances similar to race day. Not all long runs build distance, some build speed too, enter the progression run, a long run with a tempo thrown in. The long run isn’t about pace it is about running smart because weather and terrain have the greatest effect here out of all the runs.


The recovery run is about running the day after a big effort when it feels better not to move. Effort is low, real low. The first mile is the hardest but as they roll by they get easier. By the end of the run the legs feel better than the start and the body will continue to adapt and grow stronger from the key run the day before. I like making this a social run and place it after the long run because the long run is my weakness.

Anyone can get in a good workout. The other 20+ hours of the day are what will give me big gains in comparison. Lazing around, eating plenty of nutrient dense fresh meats, fruits, and vegetables and getting plenty of sleep means I can hit it harder more often and feel good doing it. Periodization, planned and impromptu means pushing to the limit some days and weeks and throttling back to recover others. Jiu Jitsu and strength training means I will have more testosterone and all its performance enhancing effects. This is some hard hitting, high volume training with a high risk of illness and injury so I will need to be very honest with myself and abilities every day.    

Thanks for reading.

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