Grand Pilgrimage Training plan

In september a few sorry suckers brave souls have threatened to join me on a ~50-ish mile run from the Salt lake city airport to the Grand Meetup in Park City. As promised, the following is my training plan. *Disclaimer: I posses no medical knowledge, my judgment is questionable, I have never competed as a runner and I’m probably quite slow. But I have run some pretty long distances and spent a ton of time studying the sport.

tl;dr: Rest + Diet + Consistency

Training breaks down into three target areas: Physical ability, mental toughness and logistics. I’ll sumarize my thoughts on each and provide example activities. I plan to followup up, with an individual post on each subject in more detail.

Physical ability – For 50 mile runs, this goal is least important in my opinion. Humans of modest fitness can walk 50 miles. It may hurt, but it can be done. What we want to focus on is preventing over-use injury.

Activity – Start at 5k every 3 days, gradually work up to 5k daily. Eventually, incorporate 8-12 miles runs 2-3 times per week. Power train 2-3 days per week. This means hill repeats or tire pull. Note: most people will increase their mileage as they get faster and stronger. This is a mistake. Don’t increase volume until you can manage to get adequate rest. Without rest, your fitness will not scale, you will eventually crash and/or get hurt.

Mental toughness – Running 50 miles will hurt, and cause you to question why you are doing this. It happens to EVERYONE. You must learn to tame your impulses. What a shame it would be to run 35 miles, then fail not due to fatigue but to mental distress. It happens a lot…

Activity – Tire Pull, tire drag and tire sprints. Do something impossible. You must do something so terrible, that the pain of 50 miles pales in comparison.

Logistics – This one is most important. Even the strongest folks fail, if they run out of water. When you chafe so bad it bleeds, no amount of mental toughness will get your through… So preparation is critical. Get the logistics down so that the only excuse you have, is yourself.

Activity – Try out all the things. Break in new shoes, new shorts. Experiment with anti-chafe balm. Practice taping your feet and toes. Know how often you need to drink. Practice running at elevation. Experiment with your diet, eat what makes your body feel good, not what quenches your emotions.

In summary, my training plan is to remain injury free at all costs. By keeping mileage consistent, testing all new gear way ahead of time and beating the self doubt out of my psyche with a large dirty tire. I have no speed or mileage target, but I would like to see my resting heart rate back in the high 30′s. Currently around 45.


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