Ultra Marathon Training: Block 3 Weeks 9-12
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The last 4 weeks of training was a bigger challenge than I anticipated. Well off target for quite a few sessions. I tried not to dwell on them too much. Took a little extra recovery. Tested myself in the last week. Surprisingly I still ended up pretty close to where I hoped to be. Now ready for training block 3.
Following the Training Plan Overview the focus is:
- Increase pace at Anaerobic Threshold
- Increase pace of long run.
- Small amount of anaerobic tolerance development
Increase Pace At Anaerobic Threshold
Anaerobic threshold training provides big improvements. I start to feel invincible and find the faster paces feel easier and easier. Anything powerful tends to come with strong side effects. Anaerobic threshold training has a big impact on me. I find it easy to over do. I get caught up in the feeling. So many times I have over shot the mark. It tends to give my immune system a hit and I am prone to getting sick. After a week or 2 of feeling fast, my legs tend to come crashing back down as if wrapped in concrete.
Trying to sort out how to get the benefit without the downside had me searching through my training logs. Looking back over the years there is a trend. Over training with anaerobic threshold work has been related to 2 main issues:
- Trying to extend anaerobic threshold work beyond 60 minutes in a session.
- Pushing the pace too high on continuous threshold training runs.
This training block I’ll avoid the above 2 ways of training.
- I’ll save pushing the pace up for the interval runs.
- Hold back a little on the continuous threshold runs.
- Limit any session to well under 60 minutes.
Increase Pace Of The Long Run
The distance will be limited to 40km or 4 hours, whichever comes first. With how my long runs have unfolded over the last 2 months, it is clear increasing pace isn’t about going hard in the first half. Long runs of 40km are definitely not easy. Where will the improved speed come from?
Most of that pace will be from maintaining my form and pace all the way to the end. Avoiding the drop off in speed that has occurred in almost all long runs will be my priority. Just holding it together over the final 5km will bring my average pace back by about 20 sec per kilometre.
The secondary push up on pace will feel subtle. It involves attempting to relax and allow my body to open up. So far I’ve had to artificially slow down the first part of my long runs and it still feels quite restrained. I want to gradually release those restraints and let the legs find a more natural rhythm and pace. The risk is that pace is too fast for the full distance.
Small Amount Of Anaerobic Tolerance Development
There’s 2 reasons for this:
- Creating a stimulus to maintain or enhance the VO2max gains from the past 2 weeks.
- Be able to maintain run form in the closing stages of the races at the Emergency Services Game in a few weeks.
VO2max can be maintained with less than it takes to raise it. So a couple of sessions over the month that have me gasping for air should be enough. Hopefully it helps me with a little extra kick in my legs for the end of races.
A training week covers 9 days for me at the moment. There will be some variation to fit around the other areas of my life, but here’s the basic template I’ll be working from:
- Anaerobic Threshold (Continuous): 10km
- Anaerobic Tolerance: 12 x 300-100m, 1min recovery
- Long Run 40km/ 4hours
- Anaerobic Threshold Intervals 4-6 x 2000m / 1000m float
I’m curious to see if the Anaerobic Threshold (Continuous) and Anaerobic Tolerance combination over days 3 and 4 will work for me. I think it will, but am open to adjustments if needed.
There is definitely a nice dose of faster running injected into the program. None of the fast running should feel forced. While there are physiological adaptations I’m going for, it is more important I develop the right feel in my running. Block 3 is about trying to develop that right feel in running faster.