Trail running season is finally starting! That means it’s high time for me to start planning for summer trail races. This weekend I finally decided on my trail running goals and mapped out a basic plan, so I thought I’d share those today.
I’m working towards two goals: a goal race and a more general, long-term goal.
Goal race: a 25K at the end of July. The longest trail races I’ve done were about 7.5 miles (this is a surprisingly common trail race distance), so I’m just going to double that distance, no big deal. More seriously, I’ve run 13.1 miles on the road and I’ve hiked 13 miles with 7,000+ feet of elevation gain and loss, so I’m sure I can cover the distance. The challenge will be covering it with something resembling speed, which brings me to the second goal.
General goal: increase uphill speed. You’ll see most people power hiking at least parts of the long, steep uphills in trail races, so this isn’t entirely about running faster; even my uphill hiking is relatively slow! I jokingly blame it on my short legs, but I know I could still improve quite a bit.
The plan: I have 9 weeks before the 25K, but we’ll be on vacation one of those weeks so I’m planning for 8 weeks of structured training. My first priority for training is getting lots of hills in – both running and hiking. I’m planning for 3 runs and 2 hikes a week, though realistically I expect some weeks will only have 1 hike. One of the runs will be hill repeats, and my long runs will be on mountain trails as often as possible.
My secondary focus is strength training. I’ve been focusing on increasing strength for the past several weeks; I’ll keep following the same gym training plan, but doing 2 workouts per week instead of the 3 I had been. I also have a bad habit of avoiding lower body moves that I’m weaker in, so I plan to make sure I incorporate those – specifically lunges, split squats, and step ups.
I had a hard time finding training plans that incorporated hiking, so I ended up putting one together myself. It’s pretty basic, but also I’m not a running coach; so if for some reason you want to follow my plan do so at your own risk. I’ll keep my training essentially the same each week, just adding distance or intensity as appropriate. Each week’s schedule will look something like this:
Monday: easy run, 3-5 miles. Yoga class (may move to Wednesday or Thursday).
Tuesday: hill repeats, 4-8 miles total. strength workout, lower body focused.
Wednesday: short hike, 2-6 miles.
Thursday: strength workout, upper body focused.
Friday: long run, 6-14 miles.
Saturday-Sunday: long hike (5-10 miles) one day, rest the other.
Apart from long runs, I haven’t specified mileage in my plan yet. I’ll review the plan at the beginning of each week and add specifics based on how training has been going and my schedule for the week. And now I’m excited to hit some trails!
Do you have any trail running goals for the summer?
Would you be interested in reading a weekly training recap here?