One question I'm regularly asked (by myself usually!) is how on earth do you train to run across a country as big as the United States of America. Well the answer is certainly not a scientific one!
I never really had that much of an idea when I trained to run the 874 miles from John O'Groats to Lands End last year. I worked on the simple principle of taking the total weekly mileage and trying to run 1/3 of it every week during training. With hindsight, that strategy, together with the variety of terrain and elevation I covered worked really well and helped achieve the ultimate goal.
I've been trying to apply the same kind of principle to the next big run's training plan. Oh and then make things a bit more difficult and testing! I'll be thankful for it later I'm sure!
My initial thoughts are to run approx. 220 miles a week on the next big run. My gut feeling is that trying to run 1/3 of that distance in training each week is not quite enough. I think the target should be to run 1/2 of that distance each week! Now, like me when I did the sums, just take a moment to think about that. This means, that at the peak of this training plan, I'll be running 110 miles per week. 110 miles per week on top of work, family life and watching the Toon play!
That kind of mileage is going to take some building up to, so the aim is to to get up to that level of training by July 2009.
I feel that, once I start putting down milestones, such as this, that it is a case of just filling in the blanks between now and then. That's a fair few blanks mind!
I've made a great start to training this year. The aim for 2008 has always been to get myself ready to start training in 2009. Everything is going very much to plan. This is just the training before the proper training starts!
Somehow, in 2009, 2010 and 2011 I've got to become like one of the runners I've looked up to for a long time now. Like a Jimmy Bell, a Patrick Aynsley-Smythe and dare I say it even a Jackson Williams! Somehow, I've got to get from over-eating Geordie to a finely tuned, ultra distance running Geordie! Now that's some tall order!
In the meantime, I've just got to keep on keeping on doing what I'm doing. That is, enjoying a balanced mix of exercise in 2008 and getting used to having no rest and no recovery! I'll be building up the running to 50 miles a week by the end of the year (as well as all of the gym classes and cycling). Then, if all goes to plan, I'll be running 110 miles per week by July 2009. I'll be looking to sustain this for the following 22 months, right up until April 2011. That is a massive target to aim for! Absolutely massive! It sounds pretty straight forward when I write about it! It's a good job I'm one for putting words into action.