Monday, June 23, 2014

Training for Howl at the Moon 8-Hour

Me at a previous Howl at the Moon race.
My favorite race of the year, the Howl at the Moon 8-Hour race (Danville, IL) is only 48 days away (August 9). Basically, I have 7 weeks to race day. That equates to approximately 6 weeks of training and one good week of taper. How am I going to spend that time?

First, a tiny bit of history regarding this Howl race. I've done twelve Howls to date. Here are my statistics for those 12 events:

Total Races: 12
Low: 33.9 miles (2010)
High: 47.06 miles (2006, 2008)
Total Miles: 510.83
Average Miles: 42.57
Best Placing: 12th (2005)
Worst Placing: 99th (2010) 

I finally broke 500+ lifetime Howl miles! That felt good. Last year I finished with 40.98 miles. Fairly low for me. I want many more this year. I need to at least get my "average" 42.57 miles. I'd be much happier with a new personal best (more than 47.06 miles). If I hit 50 miles, I'd be ecstatic. That 50-mile goal has been on my mind for about 10 years. My usual goal is to be in the top 10% (about top 30 runners). I feel that's possible this year.

So, how am I going to train for this beast of a race? Simple answer is "more miles, some speed." I plan on continuing my two running bets (basically I need to run 40 miles/week with one tempo run each week). For Howl, I should ramp the miles even more, maybe toward 50 miles by the first week of August. My weekly tempo run (3 miles at 80%+ heart rate reserve) will continue, but I'll move it to earlier in the week (from Thursday to Tuesday). I'll probably do it inside on a treadmill to truly build speed and not wear me out with heat exhaustion. Thursday will return to a friendly group trail run in the evening--easy, social miles in the heat. Other runs will be aerobic and fat-burning, with walking if needed. My plan is to simulate race conditions in everyday training. Run easy, walk the hills. The weekly tempo run will keep some speed in my legs and also make the "easy" pace feel truly easy...but it may also make that easy pace a bit quicker. If I can run 9-minute miles in the heat, with a low heart rate, then I have a good chance of accumulating massive miles at the 8-hour race.  A 9:36 pace for 8 hours would get me 50 miles. Sounds easy. It's not.

Here's a typical week in my new training plan:

MON: 3 miles, very easy, roads
TUES: 6 miles, 3 at tempo pace, on treadmill
WED: 7 miles, easy, trails
THUR: 7 miles, moderate, group trail run
FRI: off, rest day
SAT: 15 miles, easy, trails
SUN: 5 miles, easy 

TOTAL: 43 miles

Does this seem reasonable? 


TCollins said...

You should try to get some 10-15% increases throughout the summer, hit more on that Thursday (run before people get there a mile out and back (2miles easy)).
I like the 44-46% on the weekends, and off on Friday.
I love the hard on the treadmill, that makes your legs get used to it (the speed, that what you need). I would ramp up the Tuesday also in that Tempo working to get up to 7miles... If that is getting too much on Tues. and Thurs, then increase your Monday to like at most 7 miles easy easy.

43 47 38 52 57 (Focus on race)

Chris said...

Nice advice Tim. I need to restructure any speedwork I do. Knee is hurting from fast weekend tempo. I think the risk-reward balance is pointing me toward more miles, less speed.

TCollins said...

So your thinking of that 100 miler in Illinois it looks nice trail easy running on those knees, could be fun.

Chris said...

Already signed up for the 50 miler (Tunnel Hill in Nov). I'm saving he 100 miler for next year! It'll be my 100th ultra.