I've been pouring over my running log/calendar for 2009 and have compiled my training leading up to the Kettle Moraine 100 Miler. If you would have asked me before today, I would have said that I've been training specifically for it all year. In fact, I didn't until March 2009. Early in 2009, I placed 5th at the Winter Buckeye Trail 50K in mid-January. I maintained my long runs on the trails through the winter and in February staying in "50K shape" and ran the Covered Bridge FA 50K (tons of mud and torrential downpours) on March 7th in Mill Creek Park. Two weeks later is when I did my first back-to-back (Friday/Saturday) training weekend...March 20/21. So, assuming a base of being in good 50K condition, I ramped up to where I am now in a matter of 2 months, since today is May 19th.
In summary, I am going to list what I did starting in the beginning and using "Weeks Out to Target Event: KM100" as the guide...a countdown timer, if I may.
13 weeks out: Covered Bridge FA50K
12 weeks: Down week; Week Total: 38.7mi
11 weeks: 22 on Friday/20 on Saturday (trails), 10 on Sunday (road); Week Total: 66mi
10 weeks: Friday 2-a-day with evening trails of 13.4 until midnight, 7.6mi on roads Saturday morning; Week Total: 50mi
9 weeks: Quick Taper to Fools 50K; Week Total: 18mi
8 weeks: Fools 50K on Sunday, 20 on trails Friday after dark, 30 on trails Saturday morning; Week Total: 92.2 mi
7 weeks: 36 mile road run on my 36th birthday; Week Total: 68mi
6 weeks: Down week, 27mi long run on roads/trail; Week Total: 47.5mi
5 weeks: Friday/Saturday 30mi/30mi back-to-back trails; Week Total: 76mi
4 weeks: Down week in Florida; Week Total: 30mi
3 weeks: 35mi trails Friday/12.6mi trails Saturday; Week Total: 71.8mi
2 weeks: Taper (currently in); 15mi trail run this Saturday, expect week total in mid-30s
1 week: no more trails, total miles around 20
Final Week: 10+/- miles early in week then travel to the Kettle
January Total: 173.5
May (projection): 235-240 miles
Looking back, the only thing missing is an overnight run. I have lots and lots of night trail running and night running experience in general as I normally run pre-dawn during the week. I made sure that on my long back-to-backs that I got a max of 5hrs of sleep the night before and usually around 4hrs. The goal was to start out tired and go the distance. All-in-all, I am very happy with my training. The 2nd day of each back-to-back always ended up being better. I felt better, ran faster, and felt like I had much more in the "tank" when I finished...all good signs. I also placed a big focus on uphill strength on the hills. After seeing Jim "Slim" Harris powering up the hills at the Covered Bridge FA50K, I knew I had my work cut out for me. His uphill speed is amazing and he's not running. Well, I worked hard on this over the many, many miles and I am sure that I am much stronger now as a result. I have learned to move swiftly up the hills, opening up my stride, and using my shoulders and arms for more power. Not running keeps my heartrate under control so that as soon as I crest the hill, I can roll right into running again without delay. I have found that running the uphills isn't faster and increases the heartrate resulting in being winded at the top...then walking! So, I'm much more efficient on the hills and maintain a more steady heartrate. I also practiced race-day nutrition during the long runs by drinking Hammer's Heed and Perpetuem, eating Clif's Shot Bloks, eating my boiled/salted redskin potatoes, and the occasional banana and clementine. Post-run, I always took one serving of Hammer's Recoverite to expedite muscle recovery and ensured I ate good food within an hour of finishing. In my opinion, and I know there are many opposing views on this out there, rest and recovery are just as important as the training itself. I stand by the belief that your body does not grow stronger while on the trails but instead while you rest and recover. To properly do that, you must eat right, hydrate, and give your body the building blocks to do its job. I believe I am a living testament to this as I have come through the most intense training cycle I personally have ever done without one shred of injury or nagging problem. I take no supplements, either. I feed my body the fuel it needs to perform minus the junk it doesn't. If I expect to go long, recover well, rebuild, then do it again (and I take no supplements to cheat the system), then the food has got to be on target.
The taper is only a few days old now and I feel very, very good. I have to keep looking at my calendar to remind myself I just ran 35 on Friday because I don't feel one shred of it and I haven't since Saturday night. (I felt like I could run the Cleveland Marathon when I was up there on Sunday!) So, time to stick strictly to the plan and take it easy. One last trail run this Saturday of 14.5 to 15 miles and I'm done with the trails. Right now, there's quite a contingent of runners who are planning on showing up to join me: 6:30am, Lock 29, Saturday morning.
Happy Trails, everyone!