I have some big plans for the year. Between four hundreds and a 200 mile adventure, I have more on my plate than prior years. I don’t feel like any of these individually are beyond my abilities, but collectively they’ll take quite a bit of effort to accomplish. So I figure it was time to take my training up a notch.

For the past couple years, I’ve been more than a little unstructured with my training. I would schedule a list of races and just throw miles between them with the occasional long run included. The races themselves were probably more impactful from a training standpoint than my day to day runs. This is because I just do a bunch of easy miles with no speed or hill work.

And this has worked well for me. It’s kept me injury free and mentally engaged in running ultras. I’ve been content to just knock out finish after finish without focusing on time or place in the events. Heck, it was even effective enough to get me a 100 mile PR last fall.

But with the Mason Dixon Trail FKT attempt in May staring me in the face, I started thinking I should improve my fitness a bit. Not so much because I think I’ll necessarily need it to finish as that I’ll need it to enjoy the adventure. I’m not planning on cranking out ridiculous amounts of miles. More by being more consistent with the miles I’m getting in.

But first I needed to take a step back.

I felt a little burned out physically after Stone Mill in November so took an extended downtime for me. Normally after an ultra, I would take a couple down weeks (10-20 miles) before ramping back up to my normal 40-50 mpw. This time I spent a month slowly ramping up to 30 miles. Then a couple more weeks to get up to 50. I’ve now spent the last 3 weeks at 56 miles (10, 1, 8, 8, 1, 8, 20).

This has been difficult for me. I’ve been itching to go bigger, faster for the past 6 weeks. It has taken every ounce of patience in my body to not do more. My initial plan was to be up over 60 miles by this point, but that seemed excessive considering that I’ll max out at 70 miles and my next hundred isn’t until April. So I pressed paused and keep recycling the current week Bill Murray-style. Just layering brick after brick onto that base.

Next week I’m planning to expand things a little by adding in a hill repeat workout with the same mileage. This will be a first for me in about 3 or 4 years. I have the hill picked out and am looking forward to doing it. My plan is to do it weekly for the next month or so. Slowly building that base a little more. Then I’ll add a couple more miles per week. Taking the base higher still. I’ve got 3 months until NJ Devil. No reason to be in any rush about things.

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