Friday, May 31, 2013

Training for Howl at the Moon

On June 1st, I begin my training for Howl at the Moon 8-Hour race. I'll basically have 10 weeks until race day on August 10. That's a long enough period to establish a training effect, but not so long that I'll lose focus. So, what kind of training do I have planned? What will prepare me for an 8 hour race? What are my priorities?

The main focus needs to be endurance. I need to have the ability to run for 8 hours without stopping. I may insert walking breaks, but I won't stop! To develop endurance, I need to have plenty of long runs in my training. My plan (thanks to my buddy Jeff) is to simulate the race day event by doing a long run Saturday morning at 7-9am, taking a break for 4 hours, then doing another long run from 1-3pm. The real race goes from 7am to 3pm. In training, I'll run 4 of those 8 hours. This should get me physically and mentally prepared for the 8-hour race. Plus, on Sunday, I'll toss in another 2 hour long run. To acclimate to the heat expected at Howl, I'll do many long runs in the heat of he day.

Endurance is the key to keep me moving forward for 8 hours, but endurance alone won't get me the pace I need to rack up lots of miles. To accumulate more miles, I need a faster pace. A faster race pace means I need more speed and stamina in my training. Tuesdays and Thursdays will be my "faster running days." For now, I think Tuesday will be speed-focused with track workouts, hills repeats, or fartlek runs. Thursday will be more stamina-based with either a tempo or progression run.

Of course, with hard workouts, you need rest too. Rest translates to recovery and rebuilding. Stress plus rest equals strength! Monday and Friday will be complete "off" days. Wednesday will be an easy recovery run.

Here's a quick example weekly summary...

60 minutes Track, Fartlek, or Hills
45 minutes Easy
60 minutes Tempo or Progression
2 hours at 7am,
2 hours at 1pm
2 hours

Any thoughts on this plan? What would you add or subtract? I intentionally list runs by type and MINUTES rather than miles. This will keep me focused on the purpose of the run.

NOTE: Only 71 days until the Howl at the Moon race! It's going to be epic.


IJSEvents said...

My first ultra many years ago. Good luck Chris.

Chris said...

Hey Ian,

Howl was my first ultra too! This will be my 12th Howl. I have 469 total miles in my first 11 races. Hope to be topping 500 miles after this one!

jeff said...

Good training plan Chris!!..You have a mental approach too. I miss the runs together but my foot is getting lots better....actually I'm doing a secret 30 day taper to the Shadow of the Gaints 50K on June 8, thought I would finally try your successfull run less, rest alot, eat alot approach to racing!!

Chris said...


I like your plan! Sleep, eat, repeat. Who needs to train?

David said...

Time-based training makes a lot of sense for this type of race. I think this can help discourage the thoughts of "running a little faster to get the workout over with sooner".

Oh, and I discovered this past weekend that training is not as over-rated as I'd hoped. I recently did a tough 50K (8000+ ft elevation change at 7500-9500 ft altitude) as my conclusion to several months of hobby-joggin'. It turns out my 'training' plan successfully converted me from a back-of-the-front-packer to a front-of-the-back-packer.

I'll forward my training plan if you decide you want to give it a try :) You'll need to join a beer-of-the-month club though if you want to truly follow it.

Chris said...


Yeah, I guess training can actually work. I'm still trying to do the time-based plan, but I slip back to tracking miles pretty quickly.

Beer of the month club? I like it!