Specificity of Training

I read this article which has a few good pointers in it for running your first ultramarathon.

Today I’m going to look at: Specificity of Training

After the long run, the most important aspect in training for an ultramarathon is specificity of training. I am in no way suggesting that you need to run on the course every day or every weekend. Not at all. Indeed, you can be well prepared for a particular ultra having never stepped a foot on the course prior to race day. What I mean is that you should be prepared for the footing, climbs/descents, and possibly the conditions you’ll face on the course.

Since I can remember I’ve done this when training for events.  I’ll run most or part of the route I’m going to do, and if that’s not possible (for the Wick Triathlon or the Lochaber Marathon) I ran the same type of route – ie a loop of 3 x 1 miles for the Wick Sprint Triathlon, or out and back runs for the Lochaber Marathon.

For the Women’s 10k and the Glasgow Half Marathon I ran most of the route quite a few times before race day so that I knew what was coming and so that I could challenge myself on the day.

So my advice to you… if you are training for an event which is local to you – get on out there and run part of the route.

Here are some of my training routes for the Glasgow Half Marathon:

Wk29 – 9.25M half marathon prep
Wk30 – 12M half marathon prep
Wk31 – 8M half marathon prep wi Jackie
Wk31 – 8M half marathon prep wi Jackie
Wk34 – 6.2M Pollock Park half M prep tempo
Wk35- 11.5M Half Marathon prep

As you can see I did quite a few long runs on the route in preparation for the run, which made the run on race day good.  I knew every twist, turn, hill, and down hill.  I knew how far it was to the finish line and I knew when I should hold back and when I should fly (I was dressed as supergirl 😉 )

For the women’s 10k I’ve run the route many times, on my own, and with friends.  It can get a little bit repetitive towards the end, but its well worth it.

Wk4 – 10k Time trial
Wk8 – 10k Time trial 2
Wk10 – 10k and a bit (ii) 1
Wk11 – 10k and a bit (ii) 2
Wk11 – 10k and a bit (ii) 3
Wk12 – 10k and a bit (ii) 4
Wk15 – 10k Speed Session (time trial)

You get the idea anyway.  And if you’re not local to the race.  Think about the kind of terrain you’ll be running on and the hills.  Where do the hills come in the race – at the start, middle or end?  Incorporate hills at the same points as you’ll get them in your event.

My training for the Clyde Stride 40 mile ultra marathon

For the Clyde Stride I plan on doing 3-4 long runs on the route.  Yesterday I did an out and back (10 miles out 10 miles back) on part of the first stretch of the route… and I think I’ll run the next part from Cambuslang Bridge onwards.

And one day (maybe for my longest run – 32 miles) I’ll drive to the finish line in Lanark, run back along the route for 16 miles and then experience the last 16 miles when I’m tired.  Kind of replicating how it will be on the event day.

Of course I’ll be thinking about energy, water and food intake on the long training runs, and you should too.  When’s best to take on a gel?  How far in?  How much will I need? How will I carry it?

Remember the night before a long training run, you can leave water/lucozade/energy gels at a thought out place on a route you plan to do, so you don’t have to carry so much.

The Clyde Stride is split into more or less 4 x 10 mile stretches, and there are checkpoints where you can leave bags with goodies in them.  So I’ll be working my energy intake on training around that.  10 miles in I’ll take on energy in the form of food, and maybe in between I’ll take on gels.  We’ll see.

This entry was posted in Food, Hills, Nutrition, Training Plans and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Specificity of Training

  1. Pingback: Thinking about running an ultramarathon? | Lorn Pearson's Training…

  2. Pingback: 14M Half Marathon Training route | Lorn Pearson's Training…

  3. DrRachelRuns says:

    Great ideas! And, thanks for adding my blog to your blogroll. 🙂

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