Saturday, November 24, 2012


As its only 2 weeks to my 32 k Trail des Caps, I thought it might be a good idea to give a flavour of what I've been doing. As you know I have incorporated a lot of Crossfit type workouts and a lot less running over the past few months. I felt this would be a good opportunity to experiment with Crossfit Endurance. My normal training would be 60+ plus kilometres per week with 10 minutes calisthenics 3 days per week and a hill repeat sprint session once per week (this would include a long run of 4-5 hours). My schedule for this race has been very different......The first 6 weeks were 4 days per week of HIIT (High intensity workouts for 20 mins max) with  3 runs including interval and sprints totalling only 25-30k per week.....and the last 6 weeks were as follows......(please note that all Crossfit workouts have names).

Monday     AM 10k Tempo or Interval Run (60 sec sprints/60 sec rest)
                  PM Crossfit- 3x8 Clean and jerk, 5x5 Weighted barbell squats & (GRACE- 30 reps Clean
                  and jerk).

Tuesday   AM Crossfit - 4x8 Snatch, 5x5 Bench press & (BARBARA - 4 rounds as fast as possible of
                   20 x Pull ups, 30 x Chest release push ups, 40 x Sit ups, 50 x Bodyweight squats).

Renegade of my favourites.
                   PM 1500 metre timed sprint.

Wednesday REST

Thursday    AM Crossfit- (PATTY - 5 Rounds of HIIT 40 secs of each exercise, 20 secs rest,
                    Kettlebell swings, Let me inns, Barbell push press, Running mountain climbers)
                    PM 800 metre x 4 sprints with 90 second rest.

Friday        Long 20-24k trail run with 2/3000 feet of elevation gain (2-3 hours).
                  * (Paddy and Crossfit Endurance don't agree with this Long run, 90 mins would be the max that they would recommend....but I believe its neccessary from a psychological perspective)

Saturday    AM Rest
                  PM Crossfit. Either 4x10 Overhead squats, 3x AMRAP Toe bars and    
                  (LINDA, 2,1, reps of Deadlift, Bench press, Cleans)..............OR...........
                   Crossfit 3x 6 Handstand pushups, 3x5 Box jumps and (MARY - one round as many reps
                  as possible of 5 x Push press, 10x One-legged pistol squats, 15x Hang cleans.)

Sunday       REST

..........and thats it. Total time in gym per week.....  2 hours.
                              Total time running per week ....3-4 hours
                               Total exercise time...................5-6 hours

Sidenote  This includes 2 full rest days per week. Paddy, my coach, would have preferred it if I'd done even less running. In my first 6 weeks I only did 72 mins of High Intensity exercise per week, ie averaging 12 mins per day and in that time I  decreased my body fat to under 10%.....
  *Also, I realise that 3 hours is not a very long, 'Long run' as regards ultra training but as Crossfit advise against any runs of this length at all, then in this program it is.
       I have tried to be specific here to show more clearly that its what you do and how you do it, not how much. Nutrition of course is even more important. Sue and I have worked out that I eat probably twice as much as I used to but the balance of carbs to protein to fat has changed fact our diet now is probably about 75% Paleo.
       I'm sure Paddy and I could work out a more effective routine than the one above but everyone is different so this is a learning curve to see what will work best for me at this stage. A female friend of ours, married with 4 kids, does 20 hours training per week to run marathons, so you can see my type of training is nothing in comparison, but if this is effective which would you choose? My training is more varied, stimulating and carries less injury risk than only running up and down mountains for 20 hours per week but we all have a choice and if thats what you want to do.. ...and have the time....then good luck to you.
     After this week I will taper the mileage further with just Tabata's and intervals and ease back completely on any strength work. Apart from a brisk walk I'll do nothing the last 3 days before the race. I will increase my carbs in the last week but I won't go crazy because otherwise I'll feel too heavy as I'm just not used to it....and besides I don't believe in changing your natural diet too much the week before a race. I normally run and train on my existing diet so if I double my carb intake then that should be enough to build up my glycogen stores.( However, I reserve the right to screw up completely.........just in case any of this goes wrong.)
      I admit I am concerned about the lack of mileage and to be honest I should have done more sprint/interval work but this is partially an experiment to see what happens with this type of program. Also one can feel good or bad on any given day and the weather too can play a part plus the terrain is quite different to previous races so its bound to be 'interesting'.There are always suprises in trail running and that's part of the fun so you have to be prepared to adapt.... ..and speaking of suprises, today I was doing a 10 k interval run, feeling good and suddenly I pulled my calf muscle. I have had no injuries for 9 months and 10 days before my race, Bang!  So annoying, and worrying as I thought I was over the calf issue. So it was the normal R.I.C.E. protocol and then back to the TENS machine. I can still do most of the Crossfit stuff but I'll have to think long and hard about any running this week. This will of course be a worry during the race but what can you do? My physio Helen is coming over tommorrow and she will no doubt administer some horrendous torture in order to get me fit.This is going to be a very strange 'taper' week, hopefully my fitness will be okay and the rest period should help muscle recovery.......we shall see, I'll just have to roll with it.
    Funnily enough this summer I  was doing a quick 10 k with a friend of ours, Jules, who is no stranger to road marathons, and he was quite suprised at how much you had to concentrate on where you are putting your feet and how mentally tiring it must be in an ultra........which is very true because I can guarantee that in an ultra the moment you look up and admire the view you'll be flat on your back and looking up at the sky!
    On a completely unrelated note I was in chilly London last week and went training in a small park at dusk. I was doing sprint repeats for about an hour and suddenly a voice from the darkness, an American voice, shouts out;-
    'Hey man those negative splits are a bitch aren't they?'
     I had to laugh.... Yanks, you gotta love them......for a moment there I was back in sunny Southern California.


1 comment:

  1. happy that you are doing so well Phil......Steve would have a laugh, but I understand you completely!! So Cal is great for training, but not so great for living -- too crazy.

    Good Luck,
    Love ya,
    Pamela in Seattle