Advice on extending Mike Foote’s Big Vert plan via the optional ME workouts

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  • #48580
    Rob L

    I’ve just start Mike Foote’s plan in preparation for an event next October.

    I was going to run through it twice (i.e. 20 weeks + 4 weeks (transition/maintenance/rest) + 20 weeks). The first run-through is a lighter version as I need to get my climbing up for the start of the second run-through. I was probably averaging 1000m+ a week before starting the plan, and I need to start the final run-through at 3200m (race has 6400m+).

    But I’ve just seen there are six extra ME workouts that you can use to extend the plan.

    So I was thinking instead of running through the plan as is twice, I could extend the second go by six weeks to do all 14 ME workouts. Or I could do all 14 workouts the first-time through and just do the 8 hardest ME workouts the second time, keeping the plan at 20 weeks.

    Any thoughts? Should I definitely extend the ME workouts if I have the time?

    In the plan it says to continue “if you are still seeing gains in your uphill running endurance”, but I’m not sure what that will look like.

    I’ve done a few ME workouts so far, albeit with no weight as it’s new for me, and I seem to handle them OK — I feel a bit weak straight afterwards, but no long-term soreness like I hear some people experience.


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    Anonymous on #48597

    Thanks for writing to us with your questions. I would recommend running through all 14 ME workouts the first time through the plan even if it means doing fewer high intensity interval workouts late in the plan that time. The me will provide a great base for the high intensity and improve the fatigue resistance of your legs. The second time through you can shorten the ME block but whether you do that by cutting off the front or back end I can’t tell you. It sounds like you’re handling them well right now but gage this on how you handle the whole progression.

    Improved uphill endurance probably should have read: “improved uphill performance”. Everyone I have every used this plan with noticed improved running performance even when carrying some fatigue during the ME block. The bigger gains will come when you shift over to the intervals in the final phase of the plan.


    Rob L on #48602

    Thanks, Scott! I will extend it like that then and see how it goes the first time through.

    Josh on #48676

    Thanks for posting Rob, I had a similar question and just wanted to confirm the best way to implement Scott’s advice. Are you saying to extending the first go through to 24 weeks (i.e. adding in the extra weeks of ME in the middle) or keep it to a 20-week cycle and replace some of the Z3 with the ME workouts?

    If replacing, the week where ME #13 would be has no Zone 3 interval workout (instead there is a second long aerobic base run on Tuesday). Which workout would it be best to replace with the 13th ME workout? Was thinking either the Zone 2 trail run or the Hill Sprints workout to avoid giving up a bigger aerobic base day.

    Thanks for the input

    Rob L on #48677

    Josh, I understood it to mean keeping the first plan to 20 weeks and replacing (and doing less of) the Z3 workouts. In my case, that would let me keep the second cycle to 20 weeks. I might be different if you’ve got more time.

    I hadn’t thought about week 13, although I might not do the mid-week long runs on my first run through anyway. So I could replace them with ME workouts. It probably depends on if you’re doing an event at the end of the plan.

    Josh on #48691

    Thanks Rob, that would make sense. I actually have slightly less time than you (mid August race) so won’t make it through the plan a full two times. I think my approach will be to run through it once with the additional ME workouts in place of the Z3 workouts, and then on the second (truncated) go-through, focus more on the latter half of the plan to get the full effect of the intervals (basically just extending the ME phase overall and then the interval phase overall).


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