Training for a 100 mile race is intimidating. The Hard Core 100 in the You Yangs, July 2018 will be my first 100 mile race. Here I outline my 10 week Hard Core 100 Training Plan.
To go with this post I have created a simple PDF outline of the 10 weeks of training:
I don’t have a specific time goal. There are too many unknowns for me. Being my first 100 mile race and 10 weeks out, I’ll let this develop as weeks go by. Maybe I’ll set my sites on something specific, maybe not.
At this stage I have 2 goals:
- Finish the race
- Race it to the limit of my abilities
Finishing is a clear goal. As long as I complete the distance within in the rules, under the cut off times I have achieved the goal.
Racing to the limit of my abilities is more subjective. At the end I will know if I have achieved this.
Hard Core 100 training should be a part of my life and not take over my life.
Therefore I plug in all my other commitments into the calendar. Family, friends, work, sleep and other random parts of life. Around all this I schedule my training. Being a shift worker on a varying shift rotation means I don’t fit into a normal 7 day week. This combined with rest of life means I have to plan ahead while being able to adapt. Everyone has their own limitations. Work with them, not against them.
Over an 8-9 day cycles, Hard Core 100 training will follow the rough outline:
- MAF Test
- VO2 Hill Repeats
- Ultra Long Day
- Long Paced
Out of necessity the order will often get swapped around.
These runs are exactly as the name implies. The aim is for them to feel good. I want to stay within a comfortable effort, but look chasing the feeling of light and springy. They are runs where I aim to achieve the feel of running comfortably. Pace will be a by product of achieving this feeling along with good technique.
Distance will mainly be dictated by the time I have available to run on the day. Some days this may 30 minutes, other day I could sneak out beyond 90 minutes. Whatever the distance and resultant speed, I should finish feeling good. The load from these runs shouldn’t have me needing to take it easy the following day.
Phil Maffetone uses the term Maximum Aerobic Function. I may not agree completely with all the details and the terminology used, but I find the majority of the concept useful. The MAF test itself provides a useful and consistent reference point.
Basically it provides a heart rate that is a rough estimate of the intensity at which you burn fat at it’s maximal rate during exercise. How accurate is up for debate. As you improve your aerobic conditioning the speed at which you run at this heart rate should improve. This is relevant to ultra marathon training.
VO2 Hill Repeats
This is the run to kick up the intensity. This run aims for a double benefit.
- Working at close to VO2max will improve my aerobic capacity.
- Running hard up hill will increase running specific strength and power.
The session is simple. Find a moderate to steep hill that takes 2-4 minutes to run up. Run hard at around VO2max intensity up it. Jog easily back down. Repeat a few times.
Ultra Long Day
Where would a 100 mile training plan be without a really long run?
The format will vary depending on life commitments. The crux of the day is to get extended time on my feet and tune up the elements I will need for race day. Ideally I’d like to get out for 5-8 hours over plenty of hills at a low intensity in a single run. Reality will mean this run may need to be broken up into 2 or 3 runs over the day and night.
Usually a 40km run with quite a few hills thrown in. The aim is for a steady effort seeing how close I can get up towards my MAF heart rate. Usually this run will fall the day after my Ultra Run Day so will have the added challenge of carry over fatigue in the legs.
The run should be faster than 100 mile race pace. It could almost be considered as specific speed work for the 100 miles.
An out and back run covering 10km over a hilly course. All run on feel. No clock or heart rate watching this one. The aim is to hit close to, or just under my anaerobic threshold. When combined with the VO2 Hills, this run should result in an improved speed for my anaerobic threshold. This should allow more space to be comfortable at the much slower aerobic intensity required for a 100 mile race.
Hard Core 100 Training Wrapped Up
Ambition goes along with this plan. Getting through the training requires being careful with intensity and ensuring recovery is addressed. It is a balancing act. The biggest threat to consistent training will be my other life commitments. No time for procrastination.
Don’t forget the pdf outline: Hard Core 100 Training Plan pdf
Come join me on the journey and we’ll see what we all learn along the way: