Training Plan

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:

Length

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.

Hopefully I can avoid training statuses such as these.

Rest Days

The training plan shows Mondays and most Fridays as rest days. Monday is my only real rest day…for the first eight weeks. On Friday 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.

After the first eight weeks Monday becomes a strength training day. Up until then one strength training workout happens on the weekend. But by Week 9 the weather will be nice, and I likely won’t be home on the weekends. So, goodbye rest day. I’m not too worried about this because I’ve trained six days a week before with five of the days being doubles (strength and running workouts).

Yoga is a valid form of rest.

Recovery Days

Recovery days are days where I don’t have a hard workout. Intervals and long runs are what I consider hard workouts. For the first four weeks of training, Thursdays and Sundays will be recovery days. My runs will be nice and easy, and the only other workout allowed is yoga. Depending on the cross training, Fridays might be a recovery day.

After the first four weeks, Sundays will be my only recover day because Thursdays will be a strength training day as well. The idea is that by Week 5 I’ll be in good enough shape to not need two recovery days.

Cross Training

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.

Total Hours

During the 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.

Intervals

Every Tuesday 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.

Every Wednesday 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.

In the middle of my training I threw in some intervals during my long runs. There’s nothing like picking up the pace in the middle of a long run, and then continuing to run after all that effort.

One of the many interval workouts programmed for my Garmin.

Long Runs

There’s really nothing special about the long runs, except for where I do them. Beaverhead is a trail ultra, so my goal is to do most of my long runs on trails since it’s nearly impossible for me to hit up trails during the work week. 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.

Recovery Weeks

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.

Over 3,000 ft of elevation gain in 18 miles. What was I thinking? Photo credit.

Flexibility

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

That sexy downhill towards the end looks mighty fine! Photo credit.

If you have any questions or comments about my training plan, let me know!

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