run commuting, hill repeats, training for a 100k, run commute training for ultra marathons, weekly long slow run, weekly long run, garbage hill, seerdadrun, run workout

Hill Repeats to Replace Weekly Long Slow Run – Sort of

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Now reality is starting to kick in.  Race day for my 100km trail ultra is just over two months away.  No longer can I say “Well I can get that big run in next week”.  Finally race day is close enough that it is time to start my preparing both physically and mentally.

Over the years I have made long run mileage my biggest priority.  Going into a 50k race I was always sure to run at least one 50k training session.  While living in Nova Scotia I never found these runs to be of much difficulty.  I was able to mix up roads, trails, and lots of hills.  With so much variety of terrain the runs were easily mentally stimulating.  At the same time they achieved the desired physical results.  As race day approached my confidence for completing the race was high.

This year I’ve decided to up the distance for racing while also looking at later season mountain running goals.  Big problem though, I live in Winnipeg which is very flat.  Unlike the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia which I could do a long run over rolling hills, here if I head out for a run there are no “hills”.  Really becomes hard to accumulate the vert required for late season mountain races.  So how do I plan on making up for lack of hills?  Well I’ve got a plan.  Now I’m just hoping it works.  Especially for my flatter early season 100 kilometers at Spruce Woods Ultra.

So far with my run commuting I’m managing to average just north of 50 miles during the week.  This is already a fairly substantial amount of mileage.  Since I have to run both mornings and afternoons I’m fairly used to running on tired legs.  Hopefully this will benefit me during the long flat stretches of this years ultras.  My belief is that I have enough experience and mileage to be able to just continue to put one foot in front of the other.  Now when it comes to climbing there is little during my run commuting other than some small rolling trails.

So this is where my long run comes in this year.  I’ve mentioned a bit before that I have found a place here in the city called Garbage Hill aka Westview Park.  The name is appropriate as it once was a garbage dump.  Although it is not big compared to pretty much anywhere other than the prairies, Garbage Hill is still a real hill.  This has became my new primary location for the Long Slow Run.  So what does this run involve, lots of repeats.  The good part is there is a large variety of angles to approach the hill enabling one to mix up their workout.

Let’s take today for an example workout.  Over 17km’s I managed to get in over 3 300ft of elevation gain and loss.  Although the pace was slower then a normal long run and the distance was not substantial the elevation over that length is very substantial.  This weeks hill repeats were just over 2 hours and 20 minutes.  This will be a key component leading into race day, time over distance.  The significance of this is that the mileage will still reach a fairly substantial level and occasionally the elevation per kilometer may slightly drop.  But overall a greater significance will be placed on vert.

My plan is to continue to increase the distance and obviously the elevation over the next few weeks.  At the same time I will continue to increase weekly mileage by slightly increasing my run commute.  Right now I’m averaging 17-18km’s per a commute.  The intent here is to rich a max mileage of 20k days just before I start my taper.  This will result in an overall weekly mileage in range of 130-140km’s.

In reality my long run heading into race day will be substantially less than even my long runs for a 50k race.  The hope is that by having a huge volume of weekday miles combined with some huge vert on Saturday’s that my legs will hold up to the riggers of the race.  Pretty sure they will not only hold up but provide me with one of my best personal performances ever.