I am 80 days out from the Bigfoot 200 and taking a good look at how I am currently training.
I follow a three-up, and one-down pattern; typically running three weeks of higher mileage and then one week as a recovery week. My normal “up” week looks a little like this:
- Monday: Rest day (Do not ever question the rest day. Ever.)
- Tuesday: 7 miles
- Wednesday: 7 to 15 miles on trail depending time
- Thursday: 7 miles
- Friday: 7 to 10 miles hopefully on trail
- Saturday: 20 to 15 miles on trail
- Sunday: 10 to 20 miles
This week was an excellent example of that pattern.
After work Tuesday and Wednesday I ran seven miles from my house. Wednesday, because I was short on time, I drove to the local lake and got in another quick seven miles. Friday I ran just under nine miles with Sara through D.C., and then again Sunday in D.C. we did a recovery 13.
Saturday was the key run of the week.
Saturday I went with a friend over to the Shenandoah Mountains. My new favorite run is a loop that starts at the bottom of the Buck Ridge trail in Sperryville, Va.
For those familiar with this area, this run connects Buck Ridge, the Appalachian Trail, a brutally steep out-and-back on Leading Ridge, more Appalachian trail, the Corbin Cabin trail, Hannah Mountain, Skyline drive to the top of the Buck Hollow trail, and then back down to the start.
In all, the loop is 21.6 miles, with 7,000 feet of gain. Did I mention that Leading Ridge is rumored to be the steepest climb in the Shenandoah?
It’s an ass kicker. It’s amazing.
But perhaps,”favorite run” is not the correct way to describe the loop. Only about seven miles of the loop are actually runnable. The rest is all climbing. I live where it is extremely flat and I know that I need to develop my climbing strength and skills before I take on a 200-mile race with 50,000 feet of climbing.
So that was Saturday. It was a beast.
Sunday, I had originally planned to go out for another 20 miles, which would have bumped me over 70 miles for the week.
Then I looked at Strava: I had already run for 13 hours this week — which is the most I have run in a non-race week so far this year. I’d still had a big week even though the mileage was only 64.5 miles. I reminded myself that not all miles were equal and called it a little early.
Another big aspect of my training is sleep. But I’m not talking about quality and quantity — which are both important — I am actually talking how I’m “training” while I sleep.
A year ago I began using a Hypoxico system. My bed is inside of a large plastic tent which regulates oxygen levels to simulate sleeping at altitude. The majority of the week, I sleep at 11,600 feet.
This tricks my body into adapting to be at altitude. I’ll have more on this down the line, promise.
So, how do I feel at this point in my training?
It’s hard to remember I am 80 days out from the 200. I am running the Bighorn 100 in Wyoming in 25 days. The injury issues I had early in the year have me feeling a little behind, so I am going to stay on my normal training schedule until 10 days before the race — meaning I am not really going to taper.
(Sara thinks this is silly.) <– This note was left by the editor, which was Sara…
The goal for Bighorn is to finish but not run hard enough that I need a long recovery afterword. That would cut into my 200 training.
I think I am in great 100-mile shape, but what makes for great 200-mile shape is still something I’m trying to understand. I do know that I need more time in the mountains between now and mid-August.
Stick with me while I figure it out.