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Training recaps hold me accountable, and for whatever reason, people like to read them. (I do too.) So let’s see if I can actually remember to post them for the next ten weeks; truthfully, it’s almost harder than training itself. But I digress. As I posted previously, I seriously considered bailing out of Vermont 100 because my body needed a break. But, deferral wasn’t an option, and only a partial refund was offered (according to the website). So my bank account sat me down and sternly said “money doesn’t grow on trees, you’re going to this race young lady, whether you like it or not.”
“Alright, alright” I whined and rolled my eyes at the notion of being a responsible adult “But I’m taking off the month of April”.
And I did. And it was good.
This, however, leaves me with only 12 weeks to train for a 100 mile race. Please note, that I would NEVER recommend a 12 week 100 mile training plan to a beginner ultra runner, or even an experienced ultra runner starting from square one with a training cycle. However, I’m going to assume that I have a relatively solid base from January’s Frozen Hell Hole Hundred miler, and then training for the Georgia Death Race. Of course, that’s the same “base” that burnt me out, but I digress. We’re going with this.
During my month off I still taught spin class once a week, taught plyometrics class once a week, and lifted weights 4-5 times per week. I casually ran and mountain biked a few times as well (and Bellyaked! Wheee!) . So I wasn’t inactive, I just wasn’t “training”. I also focused on nutrition and sleep, two areas I definitely had room for improvement. My body relished the break (so did my mind) and as such, I feel pretty awesome right now.
Week 1 & Week 2 consisted of 42 and 50 miles respectively. Pace was easy Z1/Z2, and I simply focused on logging the miles to kind of get back into the swing of things. A surprising large portion of the mileage (approximately 70%) was done of pavement. Yikes, I know. Two reasons for this
1. Vermont 100 is mainly on hard packed dirt roads, which are definitely harder on the feet and the body than soft single track. So I’m trying to toughen my feet up.
2. Convenience. I won’t lie. Huntington Beach State Park is close to the gym I work in, and it’s an absolutely GORGEOUS place to run. Plus I get to see alligators mid run (and turtles and snakes and rabbits and birds and even dolphins if I hit the beach). I am able to squeeze my run in between clients and picking up the kids from school.
While I didn’t hit a ton of vertical incline these first two weeks, I did suffer in the heat with a number of mid day runs. VT 100 is in July, afterall, and we’ve already hit regular 80 degree days, with the ridiculous South Carolina swamp humidity climbing. So I may not have the mountain terrain, but I’ll be damned if I’m not acclimated to the summer heat by race day. Work with what you’ve got, am I right? (Watch, it’ll be rainy and 60 degrees on race day, haha).
Included in each week was:
- 1 spin class (approx. 90 minutes: 30 solo warm up, 60 class)
- 1 plyometrics & core class
- 1 lower body strength training session (approx. 90 minutes)
- 1 “push” strength session (chest, shoulders, triceps, approx. 60 minutes)
- 1 “pull” strength session (back and biceps, approx. 60 minutes)
If you know me, you know I’m a huge advocate for cross training.
If you don’t know me, hi, my name is Heather, and I’m a huge advocate for cross training.
I truly believe it makes a difference between a chronically injured athlete and a healthy athlete. During the race, it means the difference between random things falling apart early on (Why do my shoulders hurt? Why is my low back sore? etc.) and being able to stay strong for the entire duration of the race. Plus, it helps that I love strength training, almost as much as I love running. In fact, one of the things I struggle with during peak ultra training is trying to balance both. In a perfect world, I’d have time for 4 upper body strength sessions per week, plus 1-2 lower body sessions, but I just don’t.
ANYWAY. I’m in a really good headspace right now about Vermont. There is a lot less pressure on my shoulders and in my heart about this one, versus GDR. I can’t exactly explain why. I suppose I don’t really need to. I can say that I’m really looking forward to running the back roads and trails of the exact same area of Vermont I grew up in (well, a couple of small, quaint towns over, but you get the idea). I got the second “100 mile buckle monkey” (the: “was this first time a fluke , or can you really do this?”) off of my back in January, so I know that I can do this.
So let’s do this.