I don’t know if I was out of my mind when merely after two marathons, I put myself down for an ultramarathon. Or maybe I was simply looking for a bigger challenge. Or maybe a bit of both! Putting that aside, the news is that I signed up for the 105k Canberra trail ultramarathon. The good thing: it’s in October this year so I have 30+ weeks to train. The not-so-good thing: I’ve never gone beyond the marathon distance i.e. 42.2k (yet).
Finding a training program for ultra is probably more difficult than a marathon, plainly because of the unpopularity factor. The old and wise training advice are along the lines of “spend more time on your feet” and “do more long runs”. But what about other days? I consulted a few of my running club friends who have done ultras, studied the existing programs (for example: Surf Coast Century 100k, some wikipedia styled pages etc.). I took in bits from everywhere and created a formal plan for myself. I don’t have anything scheduled for all the 30 weeks but I do know what I am doing this week. Based on this week’s progress, I’ll plan the next one (also taking in considerations other commitments). My training plan is a mixture of running, cross-training, a bit of body-weight workouts and more importantly, enough rest.
How did the week go?
Running-wise, it was a pretty good start. 1 easy run (D1), 1 fartlek (D3), 1 long run (D5) and a longer run (D7) for the week.
The long runs were 22k (2 hours) and 26.2k (2:12 hours) with which I am pretty happy given that I could run at a good pace comfortably. Sunday run was on a really windy day and I liked the challenge of those gushes. Some things to remember for the future: no sugar bars for nutrition (not so good in the mouth after eating), avoid over-hydration (belly starts to hurt). Dates seem to be good and I’d experiment further with them. Mashed potatoes for next week.
The fartlek session I’d do throughout my training would be Mona fartlek as it would provide an indication of the overall fitness and running speeds. This week, I did 5.12k in 20 minutes.
During my easy run, I listened to a few podcasts while it was still dark outside. Weekly mileage: 69k.
Cross-training? It had been a combination of cycling, swimming and badminton. I spent 30 minutes in a cycling group fitness class on D2 and rode a total of 36k on D4 in two sessions. If you have known me, then you might know that I can not swim and that’s why when I said I swam, it simply meant I tried to (with a kickboard). I swam on D3 and D5. The last bit was an easy hour of badminton on D1. Basically, I am mixing easy days of running with some easy non-running activity (which I am hoping would enhance my overall fitness) and when I am not running, then I am pushing slightly harder on these non-running activities.
Finally, on D2, I did some body-weight based exercises for the core muscles. There are plenty of apps for this and I am using the one called Home Workout. It was approximately a 20 minute session that included crunches, planks, some sort of twists etc. Too many names to remember!