I had a reasonable 12-week plan mapped out for this race, but then stuff happened, so now I’m scrambling to fit the most important bits of training into the next 8 weeks.
The most important bits, for me, are 1) it’s steep and technical; 2) it will probably take me around 8 hours to finish, which is roughly twice as long as I’ve spent running up ’til now. Thus, I’m focusing on long runs and steep runs and long, steep runs.
I’ll also do several runs on parts of the Ridge Run course. Technically, I’ve done a lot of runs/hikes on the finish line end of the course – the ‘M’ trail – but I’ve yet to make it to or past Baldy, the nearest peak. I’ve also done, and will continue to do, ‘M laps’, wherein you power hike the steep way up (1/2 mile, 900 ft elevation), run down the ‘easy way’, and repeat.
My only goal for this race is to finish, which I’m reasonably confident I can do as long as I meet the checkpoint cutoff times: 1:15 at 2.2 miles, 3:00 at 7.4 miles, and 4:15 at 10.6 miles. Technically there’s also an 8-hr finish line cutoff, but I know people finish in over 8 hours every year, so I’m not concerned with that one.
Oh yeah, and I’m running a 38K trail race July 6. It’s nothing like the Ridge Run – it’s a much easier trail – so it doesn’t really fit in my training plan, apart from being a long run. My only defense is that I had to sign up for this race before I knew whether I got into the Ridge Run.
My long runs for the next 8 weeks are pretty rigidly mapped out, but everything else is a bit up in the air, but prioritized. (Please pretend that made sense.) So here’s my not-actually-much-of-a plan:
The long runs
Week 1: I actually haven’t settled on the plan for this weekend. My best option, considering the upcoming 38K, is probably 15 miles one day and 5ish the next. But there’s also a 10-mile race Saturday which I kind of want to run, in which case I’d try to do 8ish miles Sunday.
Week 2: Something steep, but only 8-10 miles to at least sorta taper.
Week 3: Bangtail Divide 38K.
Week 4: 11-12 miles on the Ridge Run course, starting from the finish line – this takes me a couple miles past Baldy and back.
Week 5: 12ish miles, less steep/technical.
Week 6: ~15 miles on the Ridge Run course, from the start to the second checkpoint and back. I want to make sure I can get to the checkpoint comfortably under the cutoff time, so I plan to push on the way there and take it easy on the way back.
Week 7: 6-8 miles.
Week 8: Ridge Run.
The other stuff
Uphills are my weak point, so I plan to do some steep climbs weekly. Sometimes in the long run, sometimes M laps or Baldy climbs. Maybe sometimes both. Also hoping to to go up Sac – the first checkpoint and first peak on the course – a couple times other than my week 6 long run, but it’s a longish drive with a bad road and gate doesn’t open until at least July 1. So we’ll see.
I plan on 4 runs per week, at least 2 on trails, but more is better. I also want to try for at least one hike per week, which hasn’t happened at all so far. And at least one, preferably 2 strength training sessions. But the long runs are priority #1, the steep uphills are #2, and I think I can finish if those things get done even if I lose the rest for some reason.