The next three weeks represents my peak training block heading into my next 100 miler at the NJ Ultra.
This represents a modest increase in mileage from the prior block heading into Naked Bavarian where I had 2 weeks in the low-50s. The only difference from a mileage standpoint is that I’m adding in an extra 7.5 mile run on Wednesday. I’ve been pretty consistent over the past couple years when training for races of only doing 2 medium length mid-week runs. Back in the day when I was just starting out (2013-2015), I typically did five mile runs Tuesday through Thursday with one mile rest days on Mondays and Fridays. This was sustainable for a while, but eventually it got to be too much. I have shied away from these back-to-back-to-back medium runs since then for fear of injuring myself by not getting enough rest. During those years, I was also doing back-to-back long runs on the weekends as well so the two combined ended being a lot of miles. Last spring, I returned to doing two long runs on the weekends (i.e. 20/20, 25/20, 31/20) and I believe it helped contribute to a strong showing for me at Umstead.
This year I decided to change things up and lengthened my medium runs from 5.5 to 7.5 miles instead of 2 longs runs per week. I also added one of these medium runs after each of my long runs instead of taking a rest day. So I went from long/long to long/medium on the weekends. My total mileage for each training cycle will end up being about the same (+/- 1%), however it’ll be shifted around a bit from day to day. It’s all about finding the right balance. Unfortunately, there’s no hard and fast rules and it changes from year to year as your fitness changes. I
think hope I’ve got the right balance above, however if it ends up being too much then I’ll adjust.
In addition to my running, I plan on ramping up my core workouts. I try and do some combination of “ups” (sit, pull, push), crunches, and various types of planks each day, however I’ve gotten very lax over the past six months. My goal will be to do 5-15 minutes after each run except for the days I have a long run. There’s also this hip workout (hurdles, leg swings, lunges) that I do periodically and my goal is to do that once per day as well. I’ve been doing it as a warmup before I run, which is good because I never do any kind of warmups. And apparently these are good for you (reduces injury risk).
While I would like to improve my fitness/endurance over the next three weeks, my primary goal is to stay healthy. I know I can run 100 miles with where I am now so I don’t need all these miles and workouts in order to finish the race. Hopefully, these will improve my performance, however it’s impossible to quantify this. Does the extra couple miles per week equal 15 minutes in my finish time? An hour? It’s impossible to say (my guess would be former, not latter) though I know any type of injury or imbalance could easily cost me 2 hours or more. So I’ll try and walk the fine line between fitness gains and injury risk over the next three weeks.
Good luck to everyone out there who’s looking for that same balance.