Overview of 2012 training plan (at least, what I know today)

It’s always a bit daunting to think about the training plan for a full year.  What follows is my best attempt at it, as of now.

This is probably a bit of a ramble; I hope to get it more clear over time as I learn more.

The first question to answer is the goal.  Right now I’m pretty settled on attempting the Pikes Peak double on August 18-19.  So that goal will drive the training for the next 6 months.  Beyond that, I’m thinking about a 50 miler in the fall.  I haven’t picked that yet, but I think training for the double will be a good start towards training for the 50 miler.

From here on out, I actually wrote this post backwards.  That is, I started at my race date and worked my way back through the months.  I’m going to use terminology that is based on Renato Canova, mostly because it makes a little sense to me.

I don’t claim to be an expert in this.  In fact, my previous attempts at periodization have been pretty lame.  Now that I understand it better, I’m going to really give it a shot.  I know it can help.

February-April (~8 weeks):  Fundamental phase.  In this phase I plan to do a lot of aerobic intensity runs, ride my bike, and do short but intense workouts that focus on running form and strength.  I need to be careful, however, that I don’t over cook it as I return from this bad foot.  The idea here is to build aerobic fitness and start to build strength.

April-May (~8 weeks):  Special phase.  In this phase I plan to raise the intensity of my long runs, start running longer tempo.  One big thing I’ll be watching during this phase is how much my speed drops off as I start to extend hard efforts for longer and longer distances.

June-July (~8 weeks):  Specific phase.  In this phase I plan to dial up some very intense workouts that simulate race experience.  My running will focus on long runs and tempo runs.  I plan to sprinkle lots of hills in, and run tempo days before long days, to get a feel for what it will be like to go out and run with intensity on two straight days.  One workout that I’ve been cooking up for this phase:  13 HR-governed miles on a treadmill at 12-15% grade, then go right outside and run another 9 on flats as a progression run.  This is a great example of a workout that simulates a lot of what I’ll experience at Pikes Peak.  Perhaps it’s too hard.  I will need to be careful.

Late July – August:  Taper and race.

My 2012 training will be different from prior years in some very specific ways:

  • More workouts.  In prior years I’ve basically worked out 5 days a week and taken 2 off.  This time around I plan to work out on more than 5 days per week.  Hopefully 7 days per week.
  • More targeted workouts.  This includes lower intensity as well as more specific tempo runs and hill work.
  • More strength work.  This includes outdoor stuff at my house (splitting wood, moving rocks) and work at the gym.
  • More cross training, especially bike riding, jump rope, rowing and swimming
  • Experimenting with two-a-days, which I haven’t done since I was training for triathlons in the late ’90s

My new job will entail some travel.  I find that to be both bad and good.  The bad is that it can disrupt the schedule.  This is especially true for the long cross country flights I will need to take from time to time.  The good is that it offers opportunities to vary the training and alone time to focus on it.  As an example, next week I’ll be traveling a bit.  I’ve already been thinking about a double on one or two days, since I won’t be home and since I’ll probably miss a day or two with flying.  I’ve already purchased my jump rope which I view as a hugely important piece of my travel gear.

I’m looking forward to the year.

One thing I learned about periodization is that it’s almost like you’re using each phase to get ready for the next phase.  You’re building up so you can handle the rigors of the next phase.  This year’s plan is very different from previous years for me.  Hopefully it will work or I can adjust as I go.


Long time gone

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on this blog.  Going to make an effort to get back after it.  May not post every day, but hopefully every post will be interesting for one reason or another.

I have been busy over the first couple months in 2012.  Here are some highlights.  I’ll probably expand on some of these over the coming weeks.

  • In 2012, I’ve run 22 times for 259 miles.  My best weeks running were the last couple of weeks in January, with 76 and 61 miles respectively.
  • I have been walking in an air cast / removable boot for the past few weeks.  So I logged zero miles running from February 5th through February 25th.  The good news is I was out for 8 easy miles today and felt pretty much no pain.
  • In 2012, I’ve ridden 13 times for 779 miles.  This has been really, really fun.  I cranked up my riding in response to this little foot pain problem.  This riding includes a century which was hard but fun.  Lots of climbing too.  Maintenance-wise, I managed to replace my chain on my own.  This may not sound like much, but it’s pretty good for a guy who’s not allowed to use any power equipment inside the house.
  • I joined a YMCA, mostly because I love taking the kids swimming.  But now I have the opportunity to swim, deep water run and use some weights.  I did this “swim and gym” session once and am looking forward to more of that.
  • I got a job.  It’s a large software vendor based in California.  The founder is a pretty eclectic dude who’s into boat racing and some other stuff.  Real work starts again on Monday February 27th.  I haven’t been this excited about work in at least 10 years.  I actually had to remind myself how my alarm clock works; I haven’t used it in about 6 months.
  • I am listening regularly now to the Endurance Planet Ask the Ultrarunner and Sports Nutrition podcasts.  These things and the research I’ve done as a result have increased my knowledge a lot and given me a ton of ideas on workouts.
  • My nutrition / eating habits still suck.  I’m working on these though and have new ideas on how to deal with them.

Not to jinx anything, but the weather in New Jersey has been awesome this winter.  Very manageable and great for outside workouts.  We’re almost into March, so things are looking good.

So a bunch of stuff, mostly good.

I feel like I’m ready to have a good streak here.

Real excited.