If everything is important then nothing is important. It is necessary to be on target with those components of training that the athlete or teams need to do to improve. It is tempting to try to do everything to insure that all bases are covered. Unfortunately that approach will ultimately dilute the training effect, which limits long-term improvement.
Life happens on the hills. They’re opportunities to prove to yourself that you’re stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you’ll never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.
There are several ways that I hill train. Some days, I do short hill repeats, and some days I do long hill repeats. I repeat 6-10 times and my workout is over.
I add hill repeats to my long run. My personal view is that I should be able to add a few hill repeats at the beginning, middle or end of a long run. I think this type of training is body work and mind work. It is almost impossible to run a trail race without a few significant hills as part of the course. This random sprinkling of hills on a long run keeps my mind fresh for upcoming races.
Speed work: I use tempo runs, track workouts and negative split long runs. I mainly do my tempo work on the road, up to 9 miles. I run at the track almost every Tuesday, up to 7 miles. I choose two of my long runs each month to run a negative split (negative split = running the second half of the workout faster than the first half) workout.
Uphill Hiking: Thanks to the advice of my friend Teresa, I am now ‘hill hiking’ on the treadmill at least once a week for about 30 minutes. I set the treadmill on 15% and hike at a 3.9-4.1 pace. Sometimes, I just go to the gym to hike and stretch. Sometimes, I add the hiking after a short run. As my fellow ultra runners know, there is plenty of running AND plenty of power hiking during an ultra. I like being the one who can power hike the hills and pass persons who cannot sustain a fast hiking pace. 🙂
Strength Training: resistance training in the weight room and/or a body weight resistance are both great compliments to trail/ultra running. SO important. It keeps my muscles strong. It keeps my tendons and ligaments strong. It keeps my body mass ratio in check. It is also great for the bones (bone mass/strength is vital to all ladies over 40) and balance.
*For the past 2 1/2 months, I have been working on core strength, with body weight exercises.
Your core is a complex series of muscles, extending far beyond your abs, including everything besides your arms and legs. It is incorporated in almost every movement of the human body. . . these muscles can act as an isometric or dynamic stabilizer for movement and force transfer center rather than a prime mover.
-Jeff Kuhland, “Do You Know What Your Core Is and What It Really Does?”
Miles: To run an ultra you need to log the miles. I run 5 days a week, currently.
Monday: I like to start the week with some miles in the bank! I usually do 12-14 miles.
Tuesday: Track. I run between 3.5-7.5 miles, depending on the workout.
Wednesday: easy. Mileage depends on the week.
Friday: getting my legs tired for Saturday. I usually run between 8-10 miles.
Saturday: L O N G day. I run between 15-30 miles.
Destination Running: get out of your running area code! It is nice to visit other trails, while training. AND, it is great to run on the trail/road you are racing, if possible.
Training partner(s): This quote best encapsulates everything my training partners mean to me. Paramount to fun, success and hard work!
There are friendships that have been forged by dedication and by pain, by defeat and by accomplishment, by mud and by sweat, by laughter and by tears. Friends who have seen each other when we look out worst and when we look our best, when we feel like we could collapse and when we’ve won our biggest victory. Friends who encourage us when we want to stop, stick with us when we’re about to fall, and run beside us not just in the races but everyday. There are the types of friendships that don’t fade with time and don’t dwindle with distance. These are running partners.