Montane Lakeland 50 & 100 Training Plan 2023 - Weeks 21-24
We're now on weeks 21-24 of our Lakeland Training Plan. If you're joining us late, don't worry, you can just jump right in, but read the previous articles / blogs linked below. There's 21 weeks of training left and the easiest way to burnout prior to the event and get injured is to do too much intensity and not enough easy stuff.
Our theme from week 1 has been to develop aerobic base, which requires a minimum of 3-6 months to see significant changes, running below aerobic threshold. By now you may want to jump with the high intensity interval training, but the gains are short lived. REMEMBER that most people who enter this event can already comfortably walk or run at the pace they'd like to achieve on the day of the event, but they simply can't do it for 15-40 hours without breaking down, slowing or stopping.
Measuring progress is difficult as we're enhancing sub-maximal economy. You may not see any instant gains in your 5k PB but what you should start to see is an increase in pace, whilst still running in zone 1 / below VT1. You may have to walk uphills in the initial weeks, but this will change to the point where you can still jog and maintain the correct heart rate.
We've posted 3 blogs already which talk about the training plan overview and you can read those in full by following the relevant links below:
Blog 1 - Enjoyment is key for consistency
Blog 2 - Specificity rules
Blog 3 - Training zones and tech
Let's just remind ourselves of the training zones, for which you can use perceived effort (go from feel) or heart rate. Let's also remind ourselves of the 2 ventilatory threshold points which dictate those zones.
Zone 1 / EASY - This is running and being able to hold a full conversation without pausing for breath.
Zone 2 / STEADY - As the pace increases slightly, your conversation continues but you will notice that it is now slightly broken. You have to pause slightly and catch your breath between words.
*The point at which you go from being able to hold a full conversation to then having to hold a broken conversation is Ventilatory Threshold 1 (VT1) and we may also refer to this as the 'aerobic threshold'.
Zone 3 / HARD - The pace increases further and you now have to stop talking altogether because you are breathing harder. You're still in control though and this feels like the kind of pace you could probably hold for an hour. It's hard, but it's still 'aerobic'.
Zone 4 / VERY HARD - The pace build even further and your heart rate is climbing rapidly. You feel like you're going to lose touch with the group and push a little more which triggers very rapid breathing, you feel as though you're on the verge of hyperventilation and know that this pace is not sustainable.
*That rapid change in breathing, the feeling that your breathing is about to go out of control is Ventilatory Threshold 2 (VT2).
THE DAILY STRUCTURE
Monday - REST / Strength
Tuesday - Hill repetitions workout continues, vary the hill from week to week. Run for 10-15 minutes to warm up and locate a hill which is 1-2 minutes long (ideally a steep one). Complete 6-8 repetitions as running hard to the top (or a specific point on the hill) then turn and descend at speed. Focus on fast and light feet during the descent but don't simply jog down to recover, your goal is to add stress and use the descent to condition your legs. Uphills don't cause damage, downhills do... When you reach the bottom, walk or jog light for 2 minutes to recover and then repeat.
Wednesday - 30-90 minutes zone 1
Thursday - Run for 10 minutes to warm up, then complete 4 X 10 minutes Zone 2 with 2 minutes recovery after each repetition. Zone 2 is broken conversation pace, but the intensity should still be very much manageable.
Friday - REST / Strength
Saturday - 2 - 8 hours zone 1 (see notes below)
Sunday - 30-90 minutes zone 1 or long walk
MAIN NOTES FOR WEEK 21-24
1. Once again, you should complete a 6-8 hours session in this block which is a combination of walk / jog, this can be done on any of the weekends within the next 4 weeks. Try to find a hilly trail course and carry full kit. Your objective for this session is very simple, you need to complete it and feel fully recovered the next day. If your legs are sore, you went too hard. You don't need to do 8 hours every weekend, but you MUST pick one weekend at target a long day.
Do not run hard for 6-8 hours... aim to complete the session at the intensity you'd hope to hold for the 50 or 100 mile event. Plan a day out with friends at some point in the next 4 weeks, then confirm it in your calendar. If you're thinking 'I can't possibly do a 6-8 hour day'... you're wrong. You just need to walk most of it and you'll be fine, stop feeling as though you have to run it. REMEMBER - Most people walk 60% or more of the event, so replicate this in training.
2. Do the easy stuff EASY!! A reminder, when it says Zone 1 you should be below aerobic threshold, very easy conversation pace. Harder is not better and accumulating time is more important than intensity.
3. The weekend long walk / run is really key. It's the most important session of the week. Push the time to 4 hours+ on a regular basis and consider getting out earlier to add more. REMEMBER - It doesn't need to be all running, it's walk and jog combination. It's not marathon training, it's not possible to run none stop for 6 hours every weekend.
4. DO THE STRENGTH WORK!! Don't wait until you're injured. Mike has posted the strength routine on the Facebook Group, you'll find it in announcements at the top of the page.
5. Spend some time this week planning out your calendar. Events are great ways to motivate you for longer training sessions, so start to write your list for 2023 in the build up to the event.
1. Adjust the time to suit you. Even if you only go out for 15-20 minutes, that's SIGNIFICANTLY better than not going out. If you're injured or tired and can't run, go and walk, it's more beneficial than you think. Consistency is more important that the time spent running. Give yourself plenty of time to warm up, jog/shuffle for 15 minutes rather than starting fast.
2. Understand the training zones above and apply perceived effort or heart rate correctly. In the next 4 weeks, try to identify your own intensity based on the description above. Can you hold a full conversation? Is it broken or can you simply not talk at all? Tune in to your body, listen to your breathing and learn how to run from feel.
3. Get into the routine. As we've previously stated, the difficult part is simply going out of the door and doing the training, writing the plan is the easy part. To some extent, the actual session that you do is less important. Just go out of the door and start the routine.
4. Do you struggle to stay in. zone 1 / hold full conversation and feel that you are going too slow and have to drift into zone 2? That means you are especially weak in that area. Giving up on the idea and simply running harder is not the answer. You need to tackle it head on and stick to the correct intensity if you want to solve the problem.
5. You can choose the amount of time you run, but the rule is simple. Stay in zone throughout and if your legs ache a little the next day, then you ran too hard. The goal is to reach the point where you could easily run at least 1 hour each day for several weeks, with no problems. To do that, you need to run slow.
You can ask questions in the Facebook GROUP. We'll be chatting more this week about strength and conditioning.
If you'd like to accurately calculate aerobic threshold and training zones, then visit us for a sports science assessment HERE.
The Endurance Store