I have a dream.  Not a capital D Dream, but a dream nonetheless.  I have a fascination with round numbers and while 24 is not a very round number, the number 1 is.  Ever since I start training for 100 milers, I’ve wanted to run one inside of a day.  One sun, one moon, 100 miles.  It’s a symmetry that speaks to me even more than 10,000 does.  I’ve gone into 2 races thinking that was going to be the one (C&O both years), however haven’t had it in me.  Inexperience and a slight injury got me the first time.  The second time it was an incorrect training focus and poor race day execution.  I believe in my heart of hearts that I have this in me, but I need to change some things from the past 18 months in order for this to happen.

Enter Project 14Forty

After an intro of round numbers and 24 hours, you’re probably wondering what the heck 1,440 has to do with things.  Besides me trying to be (perhaps too) cute, 1,440 is the number of minutes in a day (24×60).  My plan is to attack this in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Twelve week buildup culminating in Phunt 50k trail run in mid-January.
  • Phase 2: Eleven weeks building on prior training block.
  • Phase 3: Execution of solid race strategy at Umstead 100.

With my failures of the past 2 years on a flat course at C&O, I’ve decided I need to modify my recent training plans a bit.  Early on in my training for ultras I had read that running long on back-to-back days was the best way to build endurance.  So that’s what I did every weekend.  Eventually though I got to the point where this was starting to burn me out so I stopped this entirely.  Around this time I started reading about MAF training and so I started doing my long runs at a low heart rate.  Well, I live in a rather hilly area so this meant that I was run/walking all of my long runs.  This training philosophy (no back-to-backs, lots of walking) has allowed me to finish several of the tougher 100 milers on the east coast, however I believe it has also cost me speed.  So I’ve come to the new old belief that in order to run faster, I will need to run more (I know, “duh”, right?).  Run more miles each weekend and run more miles by walking less during each “run”.

All weeks will involve two five mile runs on Tuesday/Thursday and one mile runs the other 3 weekdays.  The only difference will be how long I run each weekend.  Saturdays will typically be the longer of my 2 runs and Sundays will be the shorter and slower of the 2 long runs.  I’m still debating my effort level, but will probably end up walking a little bit on the second of my back-to-back.  I’m focused on increasing my mileage, however I want to do this without injuring myself.  I’ll be careful to dial back or cut out my second long run if I feel myself getting too banged up.

Phase 1

10/29&30 – 10 miler followed by 1 mile

11/5&6 – 10 miler followed by 10 miler

11/12&13 – 15 miler followed by 10 miler

11/19 – 5 mile MAF test, off Sunday

11/26&27 – 15 miler followed by 10 miler

12/3&4 – 17 miler followed by 12 miler

12/10 – 5 mile MAF test, off Sunday

12/17&18 – 20 miler followed by 15 miler

12/24&25 – 22 miler followed by 1 miler (no more consecutive weekends of 2 double digit runs)

12/31&1/1 – 25 miler followed by 15 miler

1/7 – 5 mile MAF test, off Sunday

1/14 – Phunt 50k – new PR?

Phase 2

1/21 – 5 mile run

1/28 – 5 mile MAF test, off Sunday – 2 weeks off to recover from a hard 50k

2/4&5 – 20 miler followed by 15 miler

2/11&12 – 20 miler followed by 1 miler

2/18&19 – 25 miler followed by 20 miler

2/25 – 5 mile MAF test, off Sunday

3/4&5 – 27 miler followed by 22 miler – almost peak weekend

3/11&12 – 30 miler followed by 22 miler – peak weekend

3/18 – 10 mile run/2 hour hike – off Sunday

3/25 – 5 mile MAF test, off Sunday

Phase 3

4/1 – Umstead 100 mile run