100K ultra adjustment for an earlier race | 80/20 Endurance

100K ultra adjustment for an earlier race

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  • #10742
    Suddy
    Participant

    Firstly, thanks for the great plans and support I’ve had for various queries via email. I just joined the 8020 facebook group and the first post I read recommended this forum, so here I am instead of pestering David or Matt via email :).

    I’m on a 100K ultra plan, targeting a race in early June, but the organisers are only 50% certain of it going ahead. I have found an alternative race in early May, which isn’t ideal for training, but is the best option for lots of non-running reasons. The target race organisers are going to make a final decision on going ahead in mid-April. Target race is a 60 mile mountain run, estimate 20 hours. Backup is 47 miles hilly trail I did last year in 9.5 hours, but if I do it, I’d like to beat my time to make up for the target race cancellation.

    It’s all a bit vague, but what’s the best plan here? Are there some adjustments I could make now to hedge my bets? Maybe ramp up the long runs earlier? Or maybe with the backup being less intense, I can get away with it?

    #10743
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator

    Fitness building can only be accelerated so much. It’s an inherently slow process. And the attempt to accelerate the process comes with risk. That being said, I went from my COVID sickbed to a virtual marathon in 6.5 weeks last year! So, it’s doable if you’re smart about it. Knowing nothing more about you as an athlete than I do, I would suggest you either stay the course or increase your long runs modestly.

    #10753
    Suddy
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback and well done on the covid comeback. So if I was to add a couple of extra miles to my long runs in case I have to go for the earlier race, what would you do if I end up being able to do the later one after all. For example, would you advise taking the miles back down again for a couple of weeks to avoid ending up over trained?

    #10754
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator

    Yes, I would. Keep us posted as you go forward!

    #12008
    Suddy
    Participant

    My race was at the weekend and it went pretty well – 10 minutes off my last time. I was utterly crippled by cramp in both quads a few times though right through the race, so if there is any 80/20 advice on that, I’d love to hear it! The internet seems to be awash with inconclusive advice.

    My next race will be September, with not quite enough time to re-do the whole ultra plan. Would you recommend just jumping back in at week 2 or 3? Once I’ve recovered from this race of course.

    #12017
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator

    Congratulations! That’s a fine piece of running. Do you have a history of cramping? It’s seldom a one-off, and when it is there’s usually a clear cause.

    As for what next, your proposal should work fine. Once a year, though, an athlete who trains as hard as you do needs a deeper reset, so be sure to give yourself that after the next event.

    #12046
    Suddy
    Participant

    Thanks for the congratulations and plan advice. I will definitely have a rest after my September race as it is ridiculously mountainous.

    As for cramp, it’s definitely not a one off. I’ll try any ideas you can share or just a few links to follow would be great. In training I’d been doing loads of weighted squats to try and help and on the day I tried to be on it with hydration and nutrition.

    It’s always my quads to the point that I can’t move my legs and, up until Saturday, would kick in when it got hard at the end tired or had dawdled at an aid station. This time though It happened all over the place. e.g. early on an easy climb and mid way on the flat. It cleared up when my running buddy dropped me and I was able to slow down for a bit, though I didn’t think we’d really been pushing that hard. I picked the pace back up again by the end and the final climb was completely cramp free. The weather was freezing cold rain all day, so maybe that had an effect?

    #12057
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator

    The weather certainly might have had an effect. Unfortunately, athletes who are prone to cramping always will be. All signs point to a genetic predisposition, and you can’t change your genes. You’ll only drive yourself nuts trying to find a silver bullet that “fixes” the issue once and for all.

    What you can and should aim to do is raise your cramping threshold so that you are able to cross the finish line before you cross that threshold. The best way to do that is by performing occasional race-simulation workouts that bring you close to but not beyond the level of fatigue that induces cramp in races. There is also evidence that “hacks” such as drinking pickle juice prophylactically, salt loading prior to competition, and heat acclimatization can raise the cramping threshold.

    #12070
    Suddy
    Participant

    Thanks for the feedback. I think from all the hacks I’ve read about, pickle juice seems to be the most popular. It’s also good to know that there is probably no point driving myself mad looking for fixes.

    Regarding raising my cramping threshold with race simulations, how do you fit that into 80/20? With ultra distances, a race simulation is a considerable undertaking.

    #12072
    Matt Fitzgerald
    Moderator

    You never want to run past the point where training becomes punishment. You just want to set aside one or two runs per cycle that drive you deep into fatigue. An example that works with the existing 80/20 plans is choosing a tougher course and pushing harder in the second run in a pair of back-to-back long runs.

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