Is VK training any different?

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  • #43234

    Could anyone offer me some generic thoughts (or point me to content on the website or in the books) that will help me think about how to approach training for 6-8 mile, 3000ft up and down races as opposed to longer events? I’ve previously used the Intro to Ultras plan to train for a trail marathon (about 3000 ft vert) and the Big Vert plan to train for a double marathon (10 000 ft vert) with what felt like good success for an intermediate runner. I have an 8-mile, 3000 ft loop near my house that I can finish in about 2 hrs at my current fitness level–probably faster since I haven’t tried it for a while. My first impulse is to just jump back into the Big Vert plan, but if I apply the scaling instructions in the plan to an 8-mile race, I would complete my entire week’s worth of running distance in a single day at the beginning of the plan, since it’s rare for me to run less than 25 miles a week even if I’m cross-training for climbing. Do I need a custom training plan, or can I just run with one of the pre-programmed plans?

    Any guidance will be greatly appreciated.

Posted In: Mountain Running

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    Anonymous on #43241


    As with any endurance sport the aerobic base is critical for the support it provides to the event specific training. For the VK, event specific will mean high intensity, hard uphill running/hiking. For the mountain runners I coach I like to use the gym based ME during the base period before beginning to add more conventional uphill intervals. That is why the Mike Foote Big Vert plan is laid out is laid out in that fashion.

    Even though we do not have a VK plan you can use the Big Vert plan scaled down to the under 50km level. Those scaling instructions do not apply to races under a few hours.

    You will still want to keep to the 80-90:20-10% balance of Low to High intensity training volume. If your are confident that your aerobic base is good you will be doing most of base training in Zone 1.

    Your event may be an hour but that does not mean that your training volume can drop by the same proportion as the decrease in event duration. The volume difference between marathon and 1/2 marathon, 10km training is far less than the shorter length might indicate. Many top 800m runners (less than 2min) are still doing 60+miles/week because that base is vital to all endurance athletes.

    All that being said is that the shorter the event the more important the high intensity race specific training is to improved performance. You will not race well in the VK without that HIT.

    I hope this helps,

    OwenFW on #43246

    Thanks, Scott.

    Anonymous on #43317

    Another thing to consider is the length of your longest session per week. If the event is two hours, then base sessions longer than 3-4 hours are going to be less useful than more frequent faster sessions.

    For example, two days of back-to-back 3-hour sessions at a faster, more-recovered pace will be more specific base training than one day of six hours.

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