Considerations funded on pure theory is of limited importance. The only approach that works is evaluation based on practise after careful planning. Planning is-of course-based on theory and the experience resulting from the accumulation of workouts, races and other activities. Still, I always want to excel. Take my running to a new level. My only competitor is my self. What others do is of limited interest, except if there's something to learn from it-there always is if you look closely enough.
What is that next level going to be then?
Fundamentally, I need something that goes beyond my capasity of today. That means I'll have to run longer, faster and in a more demanding terrain.
I have the capasity to endure today. What I need is to improve on my strength and speed. I also need to develop endurance to run continually for hours at end-without stopping. I simply need to run more as a whole.
From the last quarter of this year I'm establishing a new sechedule based on a gradual increase in amount of running. There are two possibilities then. To increase the length of my existing sessions and to increase the number of sessions. I need to do both, but in a considerate and patient way.
To excel in ultrarunning I need to run long and run a lot. With a winter returning each year and affecting my outdoor-running for 3-4 months there certainly are challenges to overcome. That's good-I need that.
With trail-runs being my priority in the second quarter in 2011 I need to plan with that in mind also.
When it comes to ultra-running I can improve on several areas. Most important are nutrition, running-strength, endurance(long sessions: 4-8 hours) and speed.
First of all I need to work on my endurance throughout all winter(fourth quarter this year and first quarter next year). That means I'm adding one more endurance-session to the two I'm doing today. They we'll all be outdoors until winter is forcing me inside. In addition two of them will be on trails before winter is settling. When conditions are allowing it I will start running outdoors in the first quarter. First on roads with solid pavement, later on on grael roads and finally on trails. My first ordeal will be Täby Extreme Challenge the 9th of April-2011. It'll be my first 100-miler. Before then I need to train very long runs, run at night, run in racelike conditions and improve on my nutrition-intake.
To achieve results I need to plan wisely and be disiplined in my execution. When planning I must make benefits from the experience gained from this year-2010. It's been a very good year so far.
One of the key issues is periodization. One year, from 1th of January to 31th of December is a macro-cycle. The year consists of four quarters(meso-cycles) and a quarter consists of three periods of 3-4 weeks(micro-cycle). This is how it goes:
A. First quarter: gradually more volume followed by recovery week every third or fourth week
Period of basic-training, few or no races, indoor-training
-January: Base 1; Running spesific endurance and technique, strength-training, cross-training
-February: Base 2; As Base 1 but with gradually introducing more running spesific force and muscular endurance
-March: Base 3; As Base 2, but more running-spesific force and muscular endurance.
B. Second quarter: High volume at start, but gradually decreasing, recovery as in first quarter
Period of building running-spesific abilities outdoors
-April: Transition period of 1 week, Building 1; force, muscular endurance and anaerobic endurance, as well as cycling, swimming and ligth strength-training
-May: Building 2; As Building 1, but with gradually more running and less cross-training. Very light strength-training.
-June: Tapering; Only running-Endurance and muscular endurance, Race: Only running-Race-like workouts. No cross-training or strength-training.
C. Third quarter: High volume at start, but gradually decreasing, recovery every third week
-July: Race: Only running-Race-like workouts, Transition
-August: Like the period in May
-Sep: Like the period in June
D. Fourth quarter: gradually more volume followed by recovery week every third or fourth week
Period of basic-training, few or no races.
-Oct: Transition, Like the period in January
-Nov: Like the period in February
-Dec: Like the period in March, Transition.
Experience so far tells me that greater distinction between endurance and quality-workouts when it comes to intensity is important. Further on I need to do much more endurance work on relative terms. Today I've been down on 50 %-that's to much quality or to little endurance. In addition quality-workouts is best combined with endurance workouts. When it comes to weekly volume I can handle something between 13-15 h as maximum, weekly volume. Recovery is serious business and I can certainly improve on that point. From day to day it's important to get enough sleep. Right now I'm operating on 7-8 hours. I need 8 at least. On weekly terms I seem to be in need of one recovery day(free of training)-at least that's what my training-log is telling me when I add up the last quarter. I think I'll try a recovery session as an alternative to no activity.