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I’ve run ultras before but I’ve never used a training plan.

Sometimes my runs worked out well, sometimes not so well. When things did go badly, I don’t think it was ever a result of my training – almost always it was a function of me doing something stupid like running with an injury or going out too fast.

And I went out too fast rather too regularly, I have to admit.

This time around I am trying something different and adopting a training plan. Someone far smarter about the ultra world than I has put together different plans for different levels of athletes at Ultrarunning magazine. As a subscriber, I have access to the plans and after reading through the descriptions, I pegged for the Intermediate 100 Mile option to prepare for the 2020 LyonSainteLyon.

Here’s how Ultrarunning describes the plan:

This plan is intended for runners who have done the distance before and/or have 2-4 years ultramarathon training experience and are trying to improve upon their time or placing from previous years. The plans are intended for runners that have some experience doing interval work and back to back longer runs. If you are looking to add more structure and guidance to your training, these plans are for you. If you are new to ultrarunning, or have over 5 years experience training for ultramarathons, these plans might not suit you.

Subscriber Link

Sounds about right.

The plan itself calls for five days a week of running with rest days each Monday and Friday. Longer runs are on Saturday and Sunday, with the midweek efforts a mix of intervals, endurance runs, and tempo runs.

The planner and productivity part of me loves this sort of thing. Everything is clear and I won’t be heading out the door with a “well we’ll see what happens today” vibe. Instead, things will be planned, executed, and marked off the to-do list.

On the other hand, I’m a little wary that having a plan and then, for reasons I might not be able to predict right now, not executing against a workout. Will I feel bad? Will I get discouraged? Will I put myself behind where I should be? And what if I have to miss a long run – am I going to fall apart on the way to Sainte Etienne in December?

I suspect not but the advantage of not having a training plan is that you can never really be behind on your plan!

The plan itself is a 20 week or about 5 month plan, so it doesn’t get started until July. Up until then I’ll be just building fitness, getting the miles in, and generally doing my best to enjoy being outside after this lockdown period.

Seven days to go…