‘Fail to plan and plan to fail’ has to be the mantra of the ultra runner.
Yes, I know many ultra runners like to think they are winging it – but they aren’t – they are all in fact following some sort of training plan.
As soon as you commit to an event, sign on the dotted line and part with your hard earned entry fee, you’re coming up with some sort of training plan. Yes, it may be a somewhat haphazard, in-my-head-I-know-I-need-to-run-this-distance, type of affair but it’s still a plan.
There’s also the compulsory kit list; the gear you have to plan to acquire – beg, borrow and/or steal… there’s another plan.
Ultrarunners are characters of routine, we like to run at certain times; we are in fact ‘planning’ to run. Oops, so there’s a third plan.
What might make it even better is if that training plan was carefully considered and written down. This way, there’s a process to the madness of running crazy distances. You can see how the miles stack up, how you can fit this into your daily life, and importantly when you’re going to recover. It might also make you stop and think before you sign up to yet another race which risks detracting from the main event.
Despite being a creature of routine, I do like a flexible plan. Yes I’m a stickler for getting the time on my legs (although if I’m km short or over here or there who really cares), I do like to be able to swap stuff around depending on how I’m feeling.
Of course there’s the golden rules of easy/ hard and 10% build but it’s good to be able to play around and challenge yourself. The human body is infinitely adaptable. Give it a challenge and it’ll do it and make it easier for itself next time around. If you want to improve and make gains therefore, you’ve got to push it harder or differently.
Since there’s only so many miles anyone with a normal life can clock, you’ve got to come up with subtle changes to make your body adapt and this is where writing a plan down comes into its own. If you can see what you did last time, you can work out easily what you need to do this time around and where you can make alterations… a pick-up pace here or a longer interval there could be all it takes.
No where’s the pen and paper. I gotta get me a plan 🙂