Thursday, September 12, 2013

How I Trained For Run Woodstock Freak 50K

I started training for Run Woodstock on June 3rd, so basically I had 14 weeks to take myself from 1/2 Marathon shape to 50k shape/endurance.  Most plans recommend that you have already been training/complete training for a marathon before jumping into a 50k, well I figured if I was going long at Run Woodstock I would go the extra 5 miles and get the aid stations with the better food. (I do not recommend this for everyone and before beginning any exercise program consult your doctor/health care professional)  John (my pacer for Run Woodstock) shared the training plan he used for his 50k in April that looked something like this:

(Not sure where it originally came from, it was forwarded to me if you know the original source please let me know so I can link it-Thank you!)
I then combined that plan with the 50k training plan I found on (Click here for the plan).  I liked that the Competitor one had not only mile goals but also time goals for certain runs:

Especially on the second long run of the week the time worked out better because I did not get discourage when my pace was so much slower then normal on heavy legs.

For the most part I stuck to my plans and did the running portion.  My longest run was a 24 miler, and I substituted one of the 20+ runs for my 23 miles at Red Eye Relay.

What worked:

  • 3 Week Taper: I ended up tapering for 3 weeks.  While this may not be ideal it is how life worked out and all I could get in those last 3 weeks.  I think it worked out for the best because my exhausted legs had plenty of rest and were ready to go on race day. (Maybe there is something to be said about being undertrained and rested then overtrained and exhausted for a race.  Even though I did not feel undertrained, I did worry a bit that 3 lower milage weeks was to many)
  • Previewing the course: I was able to run the actual course two times.  This was nice since I was able to get a feel for the hills, terrain, and what to expect.  
  • Long runs/Back to Back Runs/Tired legs: This part of training seemed essential to me because I became familiar with the exhaustion I would feel around mile 25/26 during the actual race.  I learned to listen to my body, walk when I needed to a run when I could.  I also became comfortable with the uncomfortable feeling I would experience in my legs and with my body.
  • Ditched the Garmin/Pace:  I often times threw my Garmin in my Camelbak or covered it with a sticker or left it at home.  I had been so time focused for so long I noticed the first few weeks I would get discouraged if my pace was not fast enough.  Being discouraged and thinking that I was not enough was the last thing I needed when I was heading out for a long run so I took pace right out of the picture when I could.
  • Different shoes: I had read an article a while back about running shoes and it talked about how heavier shoes were better for recovery runs because they actually slowed down your pace.  Makes sense, so when I was running on the road I would wear my lighter Saucony Kinvara 4's for runs less then 7 miles and would wear my heavier Saucony Ride 6's for longer runs.  This actually worked out really well, for my shorter runs I was able to turn over faster because my shoes were much lighter.
  • Believe I Am Training Journal: I started using this journal with a month left in my training and it worked out fantastic.  It helped me set goals, see the week & month ahead and a place to create a visual page/quote collage.  It helped with the mental aspect of training and the race itself, I knew that if I ever let doubt enter my mind my chances of finishing would decrease.
  • Reading and Learning:  I read everything and anything I could get my hands on about 50k's and Ultrarunning.  I read blogs and forums, participated in Ultrachat, listened to podcasts.  Anything and everything so I felt like I had not only the inspiration of all the people that had done it before me but also a little bit of an idea of what I may face or would experience throughout the race. 

What I would add/change: 

  • Core & Strength: I definitely will be adding this to the schedule for this winter/upcoming season.  I know I say that every time I start a new plan but honestly I will be adding this!
  • Hills & Speed: I focused so much on being able to run for a long period of time I did not add these on a regular basis.  Training for the 50 miler I will be adding both because I know they would have helped tremendously this time.
  • For the 50 Miler I will be using the lower milage plan from the book Relentless Forward Progress, it still has some decent milage weeks but it a little more doable with a husband and 3 kids.
  • Nutrition: My nutrition sucked for the majority of my training, I definitely need to get it back under control like before our trip to Hawaii when sugar was kept to a minimum as was junk food.

What was something you learned, something that worked or something that you would change from your last training cycle?

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with you that core and strength training are musts for distance runners. After my first marathon I learned this and have added more and more core and strength training over the last year. It *really* does help! Way to go on your 50k finish!