My primary goal is to increase endurance and stay injury-free. Quickness can take a back seat...hopefully it'll naturally come with an improvement in aerobic capacity. I have a 50-mile trail race on April 9 (Potawatomi Trail Run) so I'd like to be fit enough to finish that race without undue stress on my body. I believe there's enough buried conditioning in me that I just need to revive basic training and I'll be OK. I can't move straight into long runs without risking injury. Here is my 4-week plan leading up to the 50-mile race:
Tuesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Wednesday: 5 mile easy trail run
Thursday: 5 mile easy trail run
Saturday: 5 mile easy trail run
Sunday: 10 mile hilly trail run
TOTAL = 30 miles
All runs within my MAP (115-135) or MEP (135-145) heart rate zones. I simply set my HR monitor to beep when I exceed 145. Anything under that is fine. Any beeping and I immediately walk.
Notice the simple nature of this schedule? Ever heard of the KISS principle? Keep-It-Simple-Stupid. Since I referred to myself as stupid in a recent post ("I'm a Stupid Runner"), I figured I should develop a no-thinking easy plan for the next month. Lots of simple 5 and 10 mile runs all within a certain HR zone. I'm missing the true long runs, but that's OK. I don't have time and I'm not going to jeopardize my recovery. If needed, I can take extra time to finish the 50 miler...there is a concurrent 100 mile race so my "cut-off" time for the 50 miles is 34 hours. I could take a nap and still finish the 50 within race limits! The key to this plan working is to hold-back on every run and keep below target heart rate limits. I need to run and recover. Run and recover. Run and recover. If the weather warms up, I'll get in some barefoot walking too. That'll strengthen my feet and let me feel connected to the trails.