In case anybody was curious, I thought I’d share my training plan for the Beaverhead 55k. Creating this training plan was quite time consuming, and I took a lot of different things into consideration:
- Time vs. Distance
- Rest Days
- Recovery Days
- Cross Training
- Total Hours
- Long Runs
- Recovery Weeks
- Bryce Canyon 30k
At Week 12 of training I discovered 80/20 running where 80% of your training is done at low intensity and the other 20% is moderate and high intensity. After my discovery I modified my training plan a bit.
Do I really need six months to get ready for a 55k? Probably not. But if I have the time, why not use it! After the COVID I wanted to ease myself back into running. At no point does my weekly mileage increase by more than 10%.
Time vs. Distance
Back when I first got my Garmin I dabbled with one of their training plans for a bit. Instead of each workout being based on miles, it was based on time. I really liked that. If I’m not feeling great, I don’t have to slog through so many miles, which would take longer and make me feel even less great. If I’m feeling good, I can squeak in a little extra distance.
The training plan shows Mondays and most Fridays as rest days. Monday is my only real rest day. On Fridays I might not run, but odds are I’ll be doing some form of cross training. I chose Monday as my official rest day because it’s way easier for me to take a full rest day on a workday.
Recovery days are days where I don’t have a hard workout. Intervals and long runs are what I consider hard workouts. Wednesdays and Saturdays (providing my long run is on Sunday) are recovery days. My runs will be nice and easy. Depending on the cross training, Fridays might be a recovery day as well instead of a rest day.
My top three forms of cross training are strength training, cycling, and hiking/backpacking. I do strength training three days a week because a strong body makes for better running.
Cycling is a great form of cross training, and it’s easy on the joints. I might substitute cycling for a Sunday run, but I also want to get in more cycling in general. During the work week and for the rest of winter it’ll be on the spin bike. Once it’s nice out again, I plan to get outside, whether it be on the road bike or mountain bike.
When it comes to trail ultras, hiking is just as important as running. And I love hiking and backpacking. In the winter it’s more snowshoeing. In the spring, more hiking with a sprinkle of backpacking. In the summer it’s pretty much all backpacking. A hike might even replace a Sunday run now and again.
During the last couple months of training I wanted my weekly running time between 7-9 hours. This should give me around 30-45 miles a week, which should be enough to get me ready for a 34-mile race.
Every Tuesday is some form of fartlek/interval or hill repeat workout. I pulled the fartlek/intervals from The Complete Book of Running for Women (the book calls them pace workouts). The hill repeats are based off a training plan from vert.run.
Every Thursday is strides day where I do a warmup followed by eight strides. Each stride consists of 20 seconds fast but in control, followed by a 40-second recovery.
Since I’ve gotten into the 80/20 running thing, my long runs are where I spend some time Zone X. Although this is considered the moderate-intensity rut by Matt Fitzgerald, it is an important zone to train in for endurance runners. During an ultra, a runner will likely spend an appreciable amount of time in Zone X, so it’s wise to train in that zone as well.
Since Beaverhead is a trail ultra, my goal is to do most of my long runs on trails. It’s nearly impossible for me to hit up trails during the work week, so I have to get trail time in whenever I can. Until spring hits, I’ll likely be running on roads, but as long as I can hit the trails for the last 2-3 months of training, I should be good.
In addition to rest days, I also have recovery weeks. After three weeks of hard work I give myself one week with less running time. The total time might not go down by much, but it’s something. I also scheduled less intense fartlek/interval workouts for those weeks.
Bryce Canyon 30k
Back before the COVID hit me, I was signed up for the Zion 50k in April. I also signed up for the Bryce 30k because I figured it’d be easy to stay in shape for a 30k after training for a 50k.
Now it the 30k falls on Week 20 of my training plan. That’s why there’s a blank spot in my training plan that week because I don’t know how long it’ll take it me. As long as I don’t push myself it’ll be just another training run. An expensive training run.
And I’m not talking about being able to touch my toes. Is my training plan etched into stone tablets, never to be changed? Absolutely not. A run might get cut short. A run might get skipped (gasp!). I might have to move a run to a different day. A hill workout might turn into an interval workout.
There is no point in stressing myself out by trying to strictly adhere to my training plan. After all, it is just a plan. And as we all know, plans change.
Beaverhead Training Plan
If you have any questions or comments about my training plan, let me know!