I'm on a tight training budget. considering that i'm trying to 'keep up' with some absolutely incredible athletes in the hopes of being a contributing member of the adventure racing team next year, it seems even tighter. I train about three to three and a half hours a week, not including a 15 minute primary series short form (yoga) that i try to do (and sometimes actually get done) 3 times a week. i'm pretty anal about getting these hours in, and have decided, in fairness to my family, not to secretly try to squeeze in additional time training. this, for me anyway, is a slippery slope which soon leads to 4, then 5, etc hours being the 'status quo'. and getting less than the status quo tends to make me grumpy. when conditions allow (my kids get a little older, life gets less busy?!) i hope to up these hours, but for now i'll make do. i think of it as an experiment. How fit can i be on this schedule? 3.5 hours is more than enough to get big in the gym, or become a better climber, or even train for a fast 10k, but what about for elite level 24+ hour adventure races? am i out of my head?
well, i've settled (at least for the past 6 weeks) on a schedule adapted from a half marathon program based on the Furhman institute of running and scientific training (FIRST) research. the schedule requires 3 running days a week, one training speed, one 'tempo', and one endurance, as well as 2-3 days of cross-training. all of the FIRST training programs are available free online: http://www.furman.edu/first/fmtp.htm I've modified it as such:
three core workouts a week, one speed (using intervals), one 'tempo' (training at near race pace or lactic threshold) and one endurance. the program is 18 weeks long and i started at the first week. week one the speed workout was done on the stepmill in the gym. the tempo one was on a road bike (indoor trainer if weather shitty), the endurance workout was a run. my second week of training repeated the previous workouts, but cycling for the speed workout, running for the tempo one, and stepmill for endurance. week three rotated disciplines once again. the fourth week i moved onto the second week of the program. I'm currently in the 7th week following this schedule. last week i added two days of 1km swims in a pool as cross-training and to get some upper body endurance (i'll need it for paddling on the montana trip and AR in general).
So far i'm pleased with how things are going. i often want to train more/longer, but so far have managed to find other ways to use that time and as a result stay more connected with things at home. i'm usually amped up when i do workout, which is nice. Pacing is an key element to the program - the individual workouts are engineered based upon a Planned Half Marathon Pace (ie sprint splits, tempo workouts, etc all come from this PHMP). i decided to base my workouts on a PHMP of 6:55-7:00 per mile. I then adapted this 'pacing' to the other disciplines, and am still working out the kinks. the stepmill is easier, as it gives a reading in miles, that i believe is designed to be equivilant to running (ie doing a mile on the stepmill in 8 minutes is about as hard as running a mile in 8 minutes for me). I've roughly estimated that my PHMP on the stepmill is lvl 13, with a 400 meter interval pace being lvl 18. Cycling is more hit and miss, especially outside because wind factors in heavily in north dakota. i've roughly multiplied any distances perscribed in the workouts by 2.5. this seems right in theory (cycling 20 mph ~ running 8 mph or 7:30 minutes/mile) but with even a 10 mile an hour crosswind maintaining 20 mph takes alot more effort than the 7:30 mile.
i'm anxious to see how all this pays off in july when i get a chance to see how long i can keep up with jason and daniel (from the 'elite pro' adventure racing team (: ), or maybe more accurately, if i can keep up at all.....