A Little Pep in the Step

As JFK brought in the end of my 2012 race season, I couldn't resist the urge to look ahead to 2013. Not to mention the extra time I have when my miles are low forces me to look elsewhere for a running fix.

With much consideration, I would like to return to Madison, Wisconsin, in April, this time to take a swing at the Mad City 100k. Last year's 50k left me quite intrigued by the 10k loop, which was utilized for both the 50k and 100k distances. I bypassed the 100k distance last year in order to take advantage of my bid into Western States, and I'd still like to try my hand at the 100k distance. It seems like a no-brainer to focus on Mad City, as it's the USATF 100k Road Championships, and it's located right in my backyard.

So more about Mad City on a later date. The real reason for this post is to talk about training. With my focus ultra being a paved looped course, I plan to alter my training quite a bit from previous training cycles. My goal is to get my body extremely comfortable running between 6:00 and 6:30/mi pace.

My blueprint for getting my body to this state relies heavily on five specific tactics. First, short bursts. These are anywhere from 20-second sprints to 400-meter repeats (on a track if it's clear of snow, otherwise on the road using GPS). Second, tempo runs. These consist of stringing together up to 18 miles at a pace between 5:30 and 6:00/mi. Third, mile repeats. No sugar-coating this one, other than deciding whether to do the repeats fartlek style or interval style (I will likely do fartlek style more, as I hate stopping completely or walking between sets). Fourth, decreased “average pace.” I want my body to be really comfortable at a 6 to 6:30/mi pace. Lots of my non-speedwork miles will be run at the 6-6:30 pace. What better way to get the body used to a certain pace than to run that pace regularly? Don’t get me wrong, I will be wise on recovery runs. The idea here is that by reducing the overall volume, my body will be able to handle a quicker average pace. So no, I will not be robbing recovery by going faster on my recovery runs. I will simply find additional recovery from less volume. Fifth, plyometric/strength training. Last time I decided to focus on speed I used plyometrics often, and I felt this did wonders for the “pop” in my legs, as well as keeping my muscles loose and ready to fire quick without injuring anything.

I am really excited take on this next training block. A different outlook on daily workouts should be lots of fun. As I get things going I will post some sample weeks of training to show specific workout details and how I feel they have helped or hindered progress.