A couple weeks ago I posted Sophie Speidel's story from Running Through the Wall. This is the first part of a follow-up interview with Sophie. Enjoy!
Holiday Lake 2002 was your first ultra. Describe how you trained for your first. Did you follow a detailed training plan? What was a typical training week like as you prepared for the 50k distance?
I trained for HL2002 by running the 2001 Richmond Marathon in November, and then running a 16 miler and 21 miler in December and January, along with track workouts with long repeats and shorter trail runs. I didn’t know about tempo runs back then, but I did have a good deal of residual fitness from 2 years of training for short- course triathlons. It wasn’t enough, though, because I developed IT band issues halfway into HL and had to walk/run to the finish! In hindsight, I should have put in a few more miles per week (I estimate that it was 45 mpw max), added tempo runs and run back-to-back long runs. I learned a lot at that race and continue to learn with every ultra that I run! I also would have taken advantage of running a training run on the course, but in 2002, Horton didn’t have training runs prior to the race.
How has your training evolved over the last 6 years? What did you do differently as you prepared for HL 2008?
This year I ran
A good example of how my training has changed in six years is what I did for Masochists in 2007. I worked with a coach, Mark Lorenzoni, who is a very successful road racing coach in Charlottesville, but he also does a great job with the longer distances, so he put a plan in place for me for the 2007 Mountain Masochist 50. I told him I wanted to run a PR (sub-9:40), and he had me running upwards of 75-80 miles per week in July and August with very little speed work, and then he brought me down to 50-60 mpw with track workouts and tempo runs in September and October. A typical week in September looked like this:
Monday: 8 miles easy on dirt roads with 15x 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy toward the end of the run
Tuesday: 5 miles easy on roads in the a.m., 5 miles easy p.m. on rocky technical trail; Lift (upper body)
Wednesday: Track workout. 2 miles easy warm up, then 5x 1200 in 4:50 (6:40 per mile 5K pace) with an 800 meter hill repeat between each 1200 off the track, then 3 miles cool down for 10 miles total
Thursday: 5 miles easy on dirt in a.m., 7 miles easy on trail p.m; Lift (lower body)
Friday: Tempo Run: 3 miles easy warm up, then 3 miles at 7:10 pace on hilly dirt roads, 1 minute rest, then 2.5 miles at tempo pace up and over big hill climb for 8.5 total.
Saturday: Long run of 20 miles on very hilly dirt roads at 8:45 pace with last 4 miles at 7:40 pace, which is marathon pace for me
Sunday: Easy trail run or day off, depending on how I feel.
As a result of this kind of training, I had a great race at Masochists…I ran 9:34 and felt great the entire race. By comparison, I ran Masochists as my first 50 in 2003 in 10:25.-----
Editor's note: Thanks Sophie! I love seeing ultrarunners doing track intervals and tempo runs. We all have lots of slow years left in us. Let's enjoy the fast years while we can. Now get out there and run!