Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Leadville Training Plan

As I try to keep my 2013 resolutions, I’ve devised a working Leadville 100 training plan that I think is super solid and will get me to the starting line in awesome shape and good health. This plan takes into account the fact that I’m one of those runners who seem to get in good shape fast and then go stale, leading to injury in the final weeks of training. So the key is a gradual build-up that incorporates strength training and as much climbing as possible. Here’s the plan and I welcome feedback:

February – March
  • Reduced volume – hold weekly running mileage to 40-55
  • Cross-train on the bike when possible
  • Consider a fast road ½ marathon
  • Keep up with good intensity – weekly intervals and tempo runs to stay sharp and strong
  • 2-3 weight training sessions per week, focusing on quads, hamstrings, glutes, hips and core. Weight sessions should be on intensity days so to avoid undermining rest/recovery days.
  • At least one big climb on a trail per week
  • When possible, keep long runs to 2 hours or less. If a run goes longer (like if I’m running with Team CRUD), be sure to fully recover from it.
  • Planned recovery days
  • Gradually increase weekly mileage to 60-75, incorporating some 2-a-days
  • Continued weekly intensity
  • Cross-train on the bike when possible
  • Light, short barefoot running on a flat, grassy field to build foot strength
  • 1-2 big climbs on a trail per week
  • Extend long runs to 2-4 hours
  • Consider a trail ½ marathon (Mount Carbon) and/or 50K (Cheyenne Mountain or Greenland Trail)
  • Continue with weight training, reducing sessions to 2 per week while still doing intense core work
  • Planned recovery days
  • Weekly mileage mostly in the 80-90 zone. 1 week of 100+ miles
  • Train on the Leadville 100 course (at least 1 Hope Pass double-crossing and practice on all other parts of the course)
  • Continued weekly intensity (adjust where needed)
  • Ideally 2 big mountain climbs per week
  • Stair climbing during lunch
  • 2-3 long runs of 4-6 hours (ideally on the Leadville course--see above bullet point)
  • Consider a 50K training race like the Golden Gate Dirty Thirty
  • 1-2 light weight sessions per week while still doing intense core work
  • Planned recovery days
  • 2 weeks of 100+ miles
  • Train on the Leadville 100 course (1-2 Hope Pass double-crossings)
  • Continued weekly intensity (adjust where needed)
  • Ideally 2-3 big climbs per week
  • 2-3 long runs of 4-6 hours (as much as possible on the Leadville course--see above bullet)
  • Stair climbing during lunch
  • 1 light weight session per week while still doing intense core work
  • Planned recovery days
  • Start taper the week of July 29-August 4
  • Annual Leadville night run
  • Taper
  • Race!


  1. Did you ask Brandon if he is still hosting the night run? :). I would like to join for that if I can.

    That looks like a great plan to me. I hope to do lots of trail running in April - June as that is clearly an area where I need some reps. I will try to join you on some long stuff if you keep me in the loop on your plans.

    I think the move to start with low volume and cross training is brilliant. Peaking too early is a real concern when you have a huge base like yours.

  2. Awesome plan! If you can stick to this you will certainly be ready.

  3. The purpose of the weight training is to build muscle to counter injury and fatigue. If you do your weight training on your high intensity running days then your body won't build muscle as I understand it. l do my weight training and use the rowing machine on recovery days. Maximum weights low reps, tear em up. Get the blood flowing with 2 clicks on the rowing machine and do nothing else but eat the right stuff for the day. Next day back on the ashphalt.

  4. Original BG: Good points but I'm going to have to disagree. By doing weights on recovery days one risks undermining recovery since weights stress muscles. What I'm doing are quality running sessions (e.g., fast stuff) immediately followed by weights, and then an active recovery day the next day. That way my recovery days are true recovery days and my hard days are true hard days.


  5. Wyatt, agreed on keeping weights away, during recovery. We all are told time and time again to recover on recovery days, and be sure to fit in rest in our plan, but most of us get too motivated and don't really take time off. Real light cycling is a great near no impact activity for recovery that will promote blood flow. Then fitting in some hard cycling is a great way to "smoke" yourself without hitting the joints too hard, and I think you will be happy with the aerobic and quad improvements from it. As for weights on high intensity days....was wondering about the order of things? I would think that high intensity running should come first, so you are not fatigued and compromising form, leading to injury and lackluster speed work. Your legs will be tired and not turn over as fast as possible, and therefor you are training them to not turn over fast. Maybe do running first and get in a good session, then move to weights and go to fatigue/failure. Probably a much better option to prevent injury, and still be able to get in truly fast footwork. Just my thoughts on how I would approach it....let me know if you think I am wrong on this. Plan looks solid though, now its just discipline to stick to it.

  6. Dewey: I'm still learning about how weights and running mix but I absolutely believe a hard run should come first. Running has to take precedence. I agree with you that weights before a quality session might compromise form--a dangerous scenario.

    On most of my recovery days I'll still run but at a slower pace. Mondays are usually an optional day for me. I'm going to build in some total rest days because I think they make a difference.


  7. Original BG and Wyatt -
    Following the hard/easy rule is absolutely the best scenario. Wyatt is doing it right. Keep in mind that this early in training, Wyatt is not pushing the volume of miles he is used to and his body will be fresher. As he picks up the volume, his weight training will slow. It is a good blend.

    That said, I have a difficult time finding time to do frequent doubles and personally violate the hard easy rule by doing weights on off/easy days. I am trying to avoid that, but sometimes we just take what life gives us.


  8. Curious about one thing: Are you dropping your speed walking? That seemed to be a late addition last year in your LT100 buildup. Ultimately, did you feel like it wasn't worth it?

  9. Anonymous: I don't think my speed walking did much at all last year. It was the first 100 I'd ever tried walking as part of my training. This time around I'm kind of going back to what worked before--lots and lots of mileage. Only this time I'm going to traing more on the course, be mindful of recovery and be strong enough to handle it all thanks to weight training early in the proces.

    Also, AJ, I'm assuming Brandon will host the annual night run again. It was super fun.