Sunday, June 7, 2009

50 mile training program planned - shooting for 100 mile week

I'm consistently running again, and with 14 weeks to go until a) the end of summer; and more importantly b) the Superior Trail Races 50 miler, I slogged through data to plug in a new training program.

The bulk of the program is based off of Daniels' Running Formula, by Dr. Jack Daniels (no, not to the whiskey), and all the descriptions below are paraphrases of his work. I ran on this program in high school cross country, and used it to develop training programs for my '08 TC marathon and the recently-finished SHT Spring 50K. My high school cross country coach liked to say that he could coach an entire team off of a handful of pages of Dr. Daniels' book (six, actually).

Based on the 50K finish, I decided I need more long runs, at least one quality workout per week that is not a long run, and generally more miles. The program I developed, as detailed below, starts tomorrow. Here's the quick and dirty numbers:

Week Miles LSD 1 LSD 2 Q type
6.8.09 40 10 8
6.15.09 40 10 8
6.22.09 60 15 12 I
6.29.09 60 15 12 T
7.6.09 80 20 16 T
7.13.09 70 17.5 14 I
7.20.09 70 17.5 14 T/L
7.27.09 90 22.5 18 T
8.3.09 80 20 16 M
8.10.09 80 25 20 I
8.17.09 100 30 20 T
8.24.09 80 20 16 M
8.31.09 60 15 8 T
9.7.09 40
9.12.09 50

Here's what that all means: My weeks start on Monday. Each week has a listed goal mileage, two long, slow distance (LSD) goals and a quality workout (Q type). Lets break each category down.

Outside of weeks 7.27.09 and 8.17.09 (weeks 8 and 11 of 14, respectively), my max mileage per week is 80 miles. Compared to the 50K, I had one week of 60 miles, a few weeks of 50 and more of 40. With this program, I hope for more consistent weekly mileages and to better place by high mileage weeks within the program. The peak of 100 and general peak of 80 miles is otherwise mostly arbitrary outside of the general desire to increase mileage above and beyond my prior peak of 60.

The long runs will be done on Saturday and Sunday, with Saturday being LSD1, the longer of the two runs. The idea behind this is to build endurance with back-to-back long runs, and to ensure I place my long runs on the days I have the most time. In theory, I should be able to finish the race, regardless of my weekly mileage, so long as I get my long runs in. In general, LSD1 is 25 percent of my weekly mileage, and LSD2 is 20 percent. This leaves 11 percent of the mileage for each weekday, assuming I run each day. Remember, this is only an average weekday distance. I regularly did a 10+ mile run in the middle of the week during my 50K training despite never running above 60 miles in a week. In addition, some of my non-LSD quality workouts will take the place of the LSD for that week, or will be longer than that 11 percent weekday average. I will not do a non-LSD quality workout for the first two weeks, which are designed as base-building (maintaining) weeks.

The quality workouts are generally speed-type workouts. They are based off of an athletes velocity (v) at maximum oxygen consumption (VO2Max). VO2Max is a function of one's ability to process oxygen; the better at it an athlete is, the higher their VO2Max will be. This number is used to compare performances and generate goal-specific training times for a given distance. Elite athletes, such as Lance Armstrong, have high VO2Max values; Lance's VO2Max value is 83.8. Based on Daniels' tables, I have a VDOT hovering between 55 and 58.

The abbreviations in the Q type column refer to goal-specific training types. "I" stands for interval runs. The purpose of this running is to improve one's aerobic capacity (VO2Max), or ability to process oxygen. In layman's terms, this is hard running. In this category, I will run 200 meter repeats (likely 16 of them) in a single workout, with short recovery periods in between. I will also be doing 1000 meter repeats of various quantities.

"T" stands for lactate threshold running. This is comfortably hard running (there is a difference). "T/L" stands for long threshold running, which is threshold running for a period generally over 20 minutes at a time. At this point, Daniels' recommends increasing the runners per mile (or km) pace to reflect the distance. The purpose of all threshold running is to increase the period of time a runner can operate at velocities at or near VO2Max without suffering from the effects of lactic acid, which can cause sore muscles, cramps and other undesirable maladies. Threshold running in effect improves the body's ability to process lactic acid. In this group, I will do sets of 2.5 mile repeats and 4-6 minute repeats.

"M" stands for marathon pace running. It is exactly that - the pace at which a runner could complete a marathon. Daniels' describes this pace as "faster than easy." After finishing the TC marathon, I agree with his assessment. I plan to use is on 10-15 mile runs.

I will regularly post updates as to my progress on the program, and detail my non-LSD quality workouts as I go. Happy running.

1 comment:

Media.assistant said...

Hi Matt,

I wanted to give you the heads up since this seemed up your alley for Thru-Hiker in the making. We are gearing up to launch a new website called Sierra Club Trails. It's (as far as we know) the first-ever comprehensive hiking wiki...A website where anyone can post their favorite hikes and anyone else can edit the descriptions so that the trails are constantly up-to-date. The site is up and running in a beta test now, and we're planning to launch it this Thursday, July 9th - so I wanted to make sure you were in the loop.

What makes this site unique is that it's a wiki - i.e. anyone can update or edit the trails that are posted. So if I post a trail in, say, Yosemite, and you've been there recently and saw that part of the trail is really muddy, or the bugs are bad this time of year, or if camping spots are getting really popular and should be reserved in advance, you can update that.

In addition to hiking and paddling trails, the site also features tips for hikers (and runners!), a birding blog, photo contests, and Nature Notes, a series of audio features based on interviews with naturalists and Sierra Club Outings leaders. Sierra Club Trails is also an online community where users can create profiles and meet other hikers and nature-lovers, as well as join discussion forums with topics like the best trail mix recipe or whether guns should be allowed in national parks. Community members can form groups around a particular outdoor interest or place.

Does this sound like something you'd be interested in covering for your blog?

The link is - and the logo is on Flicrk here -


Natalie Gaber
Sierra Club
85 Second Street, Second Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 977-5526