The 2015 Season Training Program
My training season for this past year was loosely based on Timothy Noakes 90km Comrades Marathon Training Program from the Lore of Running. Noakes’ program reads a lot like a marathon plan. It’s broken into 13 weeks where the first 6 weeks are a base phase, the next 5 weeks are a build phase, and the final 3 weeks are a taper. Through the base phase I kept things comfortable focusing on getting 8 hours of running in weekly, doing one workout of substance, and becoming accustomed to back to back Saturday / Sunday long runs. During the build phase I tried to do two workouts of substance every 10 days while running longer back to back runs on the weekends. In the final taper phase I cut down hourly volume by 40% three weeks from race day, then ramped up to the hourly volume equivalent to the race duration (an 8 hour race typically meant 8 hours of running this week) two weeks out, then reigning back to short easy runs and a couple intervals the week before the race (these weeks usually totalled 3 hours of running). I was only able to do the full 13 week build once at the beginning of the season for the Elk / Beaver 100km, after that I’d start counting backwards from my next race and work through the training schedule from there. I did make a couple modifications since Comrades is a road race and I was planning to run hillier courses. My modifications included: running nothing shorter than 1,000m intervals (I kept the recommended duration though), capping most long runs at 3.5hrs (the program recommended a 50km run), interchanging tempos and hill workouts when I could get to the mountains, and logging trail miles twice a week (usually one of my long runs, and one of my hill workouts). I felt this approach worked out well enough, but balancing quality, volume, recovery, and the “fun factor” through the build phase without an objective eye was harder than I expected.
Some of my favourite workouts for the year:
The Man Maker (6-8 reps of 3 minutes on followed by 1.5 minutes active recovery climbing a 7-10% grade) from Rob Krar (check it out on Strava).
The 20, 10, 6, 6 Tempo Session: 20 minutes of tempo, 2 minutes of active recovery, 10 minutes of tempo, 2 minutes of active recovery, 6 minutes of tempo, 1.5 minutes of active recovery, 6 minutes of tempo, and profit!