Ultra Challenge?

This plan has now been revised… see the revised plan here:

So, I’ve been thinking about a challenge for me…. this time last year my challenge was to try and run a marathon distance in preparation of doing an actual marathon (the Lochaber Marathon) in April 2011. This year I’m thinking I’ll try and train to complete an ultra marathon distance (or a few in training, culminating in a 50 miler) …. in preparation of doing an actual Ultra Marathon next year… (!?)

My aim is to try and use the next 2-3 months to see whether I’m ready to up the mileage (in training and events) and complete the longest runs I’ve ever done. I’ve done 3 marathon distances in 2011 (here’s my most recent), and have done one 31 mile run (in pain for half of it with a gubbed IT band!). I’m hoping I’ve given my body enough rest since my injury occurred at the end of June and that I’ll be able to step up to the next challenge.

Here’s my idea. Over the next 8-10 weeks I plan to run long runs up to the distance of 40 miles. I’l stick to about 3 runs a week and not make the mistake (I think) I made last time by increasing the amount and miles I do on a week, apart from on my long runs. I’ll stick to one easy run of 5 miles, one medium run of between 6-8 miles (with hills or speedwork) and one long run.

I hope to possibly run the 53 miles that is the Highland Fling at the end of April 2011, so this will be a first attempt at doing some (or most) of it (along the West Highland Way – Milngavie to Tyndrum). The Highland Fling is on a Saturday in April which is good as it means I won’t have to take any time off swimming teaching (which I do 40 sundays of the year).

In the next few weeks, I’ll cross train with 1-3 swims a week, have circuits once a week and have two rest days a week. Every 4th week roughly will be an easier week with less intensity and less crazy long distances on the long runs.

My draft training plan to aim to run 50 miles is as follows:

If you have any thoughts on this, I’d be happy to hear your thoughts…. especially those of you who are seasoned ultra marathon runners! 😀 When I started an 8 week training plan for the Clyde Stride in May this year, I think I over did it by doing double runs in one day, and more running (4-5 days a week) than what I’m used to. If I fancy an extra run (up to 4) a week, then I’ll do it, but I want to try and keep my training to just 3 runs on a weekly basis so I don’t overtrain or over do it.

If you’d like to run with me, just let me know – company is always good on long runs :-). This will be a bit of trial and error as I’m a little bit new to this running ultra long…but I’ll hopefully get to grips with it as long as my legs stay in one piece this time!! 🙂

I’m not sure of the route, but I’ll use the next few weeks to hopefully get a bit more of an idea of what the West Highland Way is like and hopefully also get a good understanding of it for when we’re going to walk the whole route at the start of April 2012.

If I manage the training this Winter, culminating in 50 miles from Glasgow to Inverarnan, and if I manage training for and completing the Highland Fling, I’ll then consider doing the Clyde Stride (40 miles – my deferred place) in July 2012! Am I ready for the challenge of an Ultra Marathon? – we’ll just need to see how I get on in my training!

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