I've broken down my ultramarathon goal into six training milestones , the first of which is a 15K on my home trail this upcoming November. That means I have about 3.5 months to train for my first race. Since I quit smoking almost a year ago I have been working on building my base, and I feel pretty comfortable now jogging three miles of trails, four or five times per week. So I think it is time to start slowly and carefully building my mileage.
I have a few books with . But I wanted a more interactive experience, like having a virtual trainer coach me each day. After some digging I came across Hal Higdon's training programs. He provides free training plans for different distances and different experience levels. In addition, he provides a link to an online interactive virtual training system called Training Peaks . With the Training Peaks system I can load my desired training plan and the system will send me an email message each morning with a detailed description of the workout for that day (see before for example from this morning).
I purchased the basic 1/2 marathon novice plan and set it to start two days ago. I figured I would go with the 1/2 marathon instead of the 15K because I can use the same plan again for my next race, which is a 1/2 marathon. The plan is 12 weeks long, which means I will complete the training before my actual race. So I've decided to just do the first four weeks now and then reset the plan on August 23rd, 12 weeks before the actual Rockledge Rumble 15K event on November 13th.
Here's a screen shot of the high level training plan. Click on the pic for a larger version.
Following is a copy of the email I received this morning from the Training Peaks system. I am not going to provide any more of future emails due to copyright, but wanted to provide this one as an example so you can see the type of information that Hal sends with his virtual training programs.
I would love to know about other online virtual training systems. Please post a comment with your favorite training site!
TrainingPeaks.com email from this morning...
Your Workouts for Wednesday, July 28
Planned duration: 0:20
Planned distance: 2.0 miles
Today is an option day. Run or cross-train. You will have this option every Wednesday for the 12 weeks of this training program. If you choose to run, go for 2 miles. If you decide to cross-train, I would recommend cycling or swimming or walking, maybe even coupled with some light jogging if you're up to it. A half hour or so should do.
Consistency is the secret to success in the half marathon.
Planned duration: 0:00
Before starting to train for an event 13 miles long, assess your fitness level. Realistically: can you do it? My Half Marathon Program assumes you currently have the ability to run three to four times a week with long run distances going from 3 to 10 miles. If that seems difficult, consider going a shorter distance--or take more time to develop an endurance base. And if you are over age 35, you probably should see your doctor for a physical examination.
Assuming no major problems, most healthy people can train themselves to finish a half marathon.
Your Workouts for Thursday, July 29
Planned duration: 0:30
Planned distance: 3.0 miles
Run 3 miles at the same comfortable pace you ran on Tuesday. Speed doesn't matter; distance does. You will burn approximately 300 calories covering 3 miles. Over a period of 12 weeks--if you kept the distance the same--you would burn 3,600 calories on Thursdays. Theoretically, this would allow you to lose one pound of weight from your Thursday workouts alone. After your run, do some stretching and strength training, similar to what I suggested for Monday or Tuesday. As the countdown to your half marathon race continues, I'll ask you to increase your Thursday commitment gradually from 3 to 5 miles.
Picking a pace is easy if you don't think too much about it. Your body will tell you how fast to run.
Planned duration: 0:00
When I suggest that you run at a pace where you can comfortably converse with a friend, I'm not certain I want to include using a cellular phone.
Finding a friendly training partner is one of the secrets to running success.