Training in your own backyard (or someone else’s)
Spring is here and summer will be along before we know it.
The big question is, ok it’s two-fold, what events are you planning to do and are you going to be ready for them?
Planning for, and finding time to train for them in our busy schedules is absolutely paramount if we want to get to the start line feeling confident when race day comes around, let alone getting over the finish line.
My immediate plans involve the small matter of the Quebec Mega Trail 160 km event in Mont Ste-Anne (https://ultratrailcanada.com) at the end of June, followed by Big Wolf’s Back Yard Ultra in Cacouna (https://www.
Both of these take place in Quebec, Canada.
The province of Quebec, for those who don’t know, is a year-round runners paradise.
There’s an abundance of mountains, trails, roads, and when the season permits, frozen lakes to run across.
There’s always a full 12-month calendar of well-organised events and you really do have to pick and choose. You can’t do them all every year. Unfortunately.
I also have one eye on December where I plan to take on a 24-hour challenge (more of this in a future blog post as our team is currently at the planning stage).
Both of the events I have at the forefront just now couldn’t be more different – the first is a 160km trail race with a cut-off time of 41 hours across mountains following a linear trajectory from the beautiful Baie St-Paul area to Mont Ste-Anne in Beaupré. There are cut-off times to respect along the way so those need to be taken into account.
The second, the backyard ultra, involves a 6.71km route (loop) that starts and ends at the same place. Each loop, or yard, begins on the hour every hour. If you’re not on the start line when the whistle blasts, you’re out. No exceptions. It’s up to each participant to decide on how long each yard should take – as long as you come in under 60 minutes. Too fast and you’ll not last long! Timing is everything with this one.
Even though the events couldn’t seem more different, there are some similarities when it comes down to training for them.
I run 5 days per week, sometimes twice depending on the training plan, and also incorporate a couple of strength & conditioning, and yoga sessions into the mix.
As much as we all love running, if it’s all we did we’d soon get bored of it.
Yoga really helps with stretching and relaxation.
So out of the 5 days on 3 of those I often work out more than once.
On the running front, 4 out of the 5 are slow. This is intentional.
I am a firm believer in Matt Fitzgerald’s approach which he details superbly in his bestselling book 80/20 Running : Run Stronger and Race Faster By Training Slower.
My training plan is a hybrid really, to be able to cater for what’s to come in the first half of the season.
A slower pace helps here as there’s no way I’ll be running fast over 160km nor during the backyard ultra either.
The pace I train at is ideal for both events. I’m happy about that as there’s not too much chopping and changing and equally, not a huge amount to worry about on that front.
7m 30 to 8m per km is really not strenuous and can involve some walking.
That in itself comes in handy as it presents a great opportunity to take on board food.
Mountains, trails, roads, and food – lots of all of that.
What’s not to like?
Why not try a backyard ultra and test yourself?
They are gaining in popularity, thanks in no small part to Lazarus Lake’s Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra (https://www.
Whatever events you’re planning on doing this season, get out there and enjoy them.
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You don’t have to go fast, you just have to go!