... ... Running training - 2/9 - Mile27
Nov 112016
 

Ben Duffus finishing the World Sky Running Championships 2014

Ben Duffus finishing the World Sky Running Championships 2014


Welcome to the blog, our newest coach, Mile 27’s Ben Duffus. Here Ben gives his thoughts on how he plans his minor and major races throughout the year to optimise his performances

One of the attractions of ultramarathon running is the opportunity to explore the limits of both our body and mind. But as the human body has a limited capacity to recover from being pushed we need to be careful with the frequency and depth to which we push ourselves. It is very rare to see an elite marathon runner attempt more than two to three marathon races in a year. In ultramarathons, if we want to push ourselves to our absolute limit, we should plan to be in peak form for no more than 4 “A races” in a year. The exact number of races a runner peak for depends on a variety of factors, such as the type of event, previous training/racing history, sleep patterns, nutrition and age. Already our sport is plagued with burnt out elites who have over raced; the likes of Western States winners Geoff Roes and Timothy Olson have been quite open regarding the toll over-racing has had on their health.

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Sep 092016
 
Fat burning profile ?

Fat Burning profile

Given an ultra takes a lot longer than 2 hours (the approximate limit of our carbohydrates to supply energy) it is clear that fat is going to be a big contributor to our energy supplies.
The less effective we are at using fat for fuel the more carbohydrates we have to consume during a race to fuel our muscles. The more we have to put into our stomachs the more chance of stomach problems. Given stomach upsets are a major causes of DNF’s and below par performances in ultras it makes sense to work on increasing your bodies ability to burn fat.

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Apr 082016
 

Live somewhere flat and want to race here ?

Trail and ultra races in the mountains are growing in popularity. The challenge of the massive climbs and descents, the stunning views and the chance to connect with nature at its most spectacular are powerful draws. But many of us also live in places where there is very little in the way of elevation. So how can we go about training effectively for races with lots of vertical.

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Jun 262015
 
Looking for this much vert probably isnt going to help your training

Looking for this much vert probably isnt going to help your training

“It’s all about the vert” is a common catch phrase for those training for hilly ultras. But is doing lots of vertical all you need to do to perform well in an ultra with large amounts of ascent and descent?

With the popularity of training software like Strava it is easy to compare the amount of vert you do each week with others and get swept up in a more is better thought process.

But the whole idea that the more vert you do the better your performance is analogous to the idea that the more running you do the better your performance. Whilst high mileage is a factor most of us agree its what you do with those miles that count just as much if not more as the amount of miles.

So why is vert any different? Surely it is how you get that vert that will have more effect on your race performance than the total amount of vertical.

Is all vertical the same?

Does hiking uphill give you the same training response as running uphill ?

Does running uphill help with your hiking speed uphill?

Does running easy downhill load the legs the same as running fast downhill?

Does running down technical terrain load the legs as much as running down fire-trail?

Does running down fire-trail develop your technical descending skills as much as running technical descents ?

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May 012015
 
Some of the terrain on the Big Red Run (photo courtesy Greg Donovan)

Tackling the dunes (photo courtesy Greg Donovan)

The Big Red Run is the next race on my race calendar so I thought I would share how I plan to go about training for this multi stage desert race. It is a similar format to most of the multi stage desert races around the world, with 4 shorter days of 30-42km, and then a long day of 84km.

Whenever I look at designing a training plan for a race, I analyse what factors are most important for that race, and each individual and plan accordingly.

For a multi day race there are a few key factors training should be focussed around:
1. Improving running economy
2. Decreasing risk of injury
3. Ability to run long several days in a row
4. Increasing endurance
5. Race specific training
6. Improving fat burning ability
7. Time on your feet

Let’s look at each of these in detail and see what they means in terms of training. Continue reading »