1. Hit up the Hills. Too often people don't train for the kind of terrain they will encounter. Even if your 100 miler isn't super hilly, doing hill workout will build strength and mental toughness. This doesn't mean forcing yourself up a hill once a week, it means literally busting your butt doing multiple types of hill repeats and hilly long runs during the week. Here are the 4 key hill workouts to practice:
- Long, Steep Hills with Lots of Vert: (1x week, can alternate with short steep hills) pick a 2 mile climb that is so steep you have to fast hike it (example: 2 miles with 1,500ft plus of climbing). Fast hiking is key to 100 milers. As you improve, begin running the least steep sections. Really push your cardio. This should not feel good. You can do one repeat of this workout, for a total of 4 miles and really push it. As you get closer to your event, work up to 4-6 repeats (16-24 miles) and it becomes a good endurance workout with lots of vert.
- Short, Steep Hills or Stairs: (1 x week, can alternate with long, steep hills) These are used for sprint repeats. I use a set of stairs that climbs to the top of a street in my neighborhood. It's 65 feet of climbing in less than 1/10 of a mile. It's just short enough that I can stomach 10 repeats, or more, but I'm keeled over panting by the top. Prefect torture. To make this a complete workout, pair it with a easy 4 mile warmup and 1-2 mile cool down.
- 2-3 minutes balls to the wall: (1x week) Pick a very steep hill and run it as fast as you can for 2-3 minutes. Use the downhill as recovery, and rest at the bottom as long as needed. Repeat. Repeat.
- Long Hilly Runs: (1x week) The hills don't have to be super steep, but they should be similar to the ones you will encounter in your 100 miler. This should be your long run every week. Begin with whatever distance you usually do for a long run and work up to a weekly long run of 20-30 miles with a couple of 50 milers (can be races) in the months leading up to your race.
- Pick a steep 5 mile uphill out and back route. Run/hike the uphill easy, use it as a warmup. For the downhill really push the pace. Make your self uncomfortable. Work up to 2-3 repeats. If you don't have a 5 mile hill, use a shorter one and do more repeats.
4. Long Run & Back to Back Long Runs: As mentioned above in hill workouts, you will need to add a long run and work up to 20-30 miles weekly, although it's been done on less. This is just the ideal. Your long runs should mimic the race course you are preparing for. It is also good to have a few races in the months leading up to your 100 miler. Keep in mind that any races done less than 4 weeks before your race could hurt your race day performance and are risky. Back to back long runs are a good way to get time on your feet but break up the impact of a one day really long run.
5. Recovery Runs: These runs help add mileage and prepare your body for the mileage of a 100 miler. They should be VERY VERY easy. Walk if you need to. No pace is too slow. You must keep it easy or your quality runs will suffer.
6. Tempo Runs/Speed Work: Be sure to push yourself with some speed workouts. Sure, a 100 miler is slow, but if you get faster if will be that much easier. A few of my fav's for this are:
- 1 mile repeats with 2-3 minutes rest (at 5k pace)
- Hill Speed Workouts (see above)
- 6-12 mile tempo runs: run at a slightly uncomfortable pace the entire time.
- Interval: Set your watch. Begin by running for 8 minutes easy, 1 minute hard and work up to 3 minutes easy, 2minutes hard. You can vary this workout any way you see fit.
8. Start a Stregth Training Program: You could do my 15 minute a day program or you could attend a class a few times a week, get a personal trainer, or join Crossfit (but don't overdue it or your running training will suffer). Increased strength will make you a much better runner. Be sure to work on your legs too, for example if you can't do one legged squats then you better start practicing. Start small, build up. Make whatever you do, well DOABLE. Otherwise you will wimp out.
9. Cross train: I bike almost every day in addition to running. I like to use a trainer and bike indoors during the winter. I do a interval workout for 44 minutes that's 1 minute hard, 3 minutes easy. 11 reps. The key? No impact, lots of muscle benefits. Cross training is excellent for a recovery day or when you're feeling over trained. Just make sure it doesn't interfere with your running and the energy you need to put into running workouts.
10. Enjoy your Workouts. If you don't enjoy your workouts then what's the point of all this anyway?
11. Rest When You Need it: Even if your rest day is always Saturday, take a rest day when your body needs it. This is the art of training your body to rebuild into a stronger, faster runner. Without rest days, you will plateau or even back track. If you are tired for a quality workout, it won't be quality. Sure, on occasion the point of a workout is to run on tired legs, but this should not be done on a regular basis. It is the path to over training and injury. Take it from someone who is pretty good at both. Some signs it's time to rest:
- trouble breathing on an easy run
- tired legs on terrain you can usually run
- often sleepy during the day even when you get a full nights sleep
- lethargic, irritable, agitated, dizzy, or other odd symptoms
- niggles: little aches and pains that don't seem to go away
- craving unhealthy foods
- mental: feeling like you have to run or you will lose fitness even with just one or two days off
- catching a cold or flu
- Experiment with race day nutrition as mentioned in #3. The runner who can stay fueled properly will be much more likely to do well and finish the race. Figure out what works for you or your run will be more of a sufferfest than it needs to be.
- Eat healthy to train well. Everyone is different, but eating whole foods in general is a good idea. Cutting out sugar and other empty calories is a must in my book. For most people eating only whole foods (no cheating!) will have them at a race ready weight come race day. Extra pounds equals extra suffering and slower times. Personally, I also choose to cut out all grains and most added salt focusing on lots of vegetables, fruit, and protein.
|HURT 100, Oahu, Hawaii|
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