Several other Black Line Londoner’s recently did a #50Days50Runs challenge. And it seems we are in good company as Jo Carritt, Pro Triathlete and EverydayTraining coach, also makes this an important part of her season prep.
We asked Jo if she would write a guest blog on on the topic for us so we could get the view of a pro, and we’re delighted that she said yes! Thanks Jo…….
50 runs in 50 days is a challenge that I have given to many of the athletes that I coach, and do myself most years at the beginning of my season. It is derived from a challenge that I learned about from my former coach Scott Molina: 30 runs of 30 minutes in 30 days. That has a pleasing symmetry about it and gives a month of running focus…without too much focus on the running!
Getting back into shape after Christmas, I opted to lengthen the duration of the challenge, but still kept the minimum run requirements low at either 30minutes or 6 km- my gym just happens to be 6km away, but down a hill – it’s an easy option for a run but I couldn’t see myself running around the block for 5minutes to make up the time! Of course within my 7 weekly runs I would be including my long runs and I found that I preferred to take a day off running and do a double run day each week: that’s something that I’ll often include in my regular schedule anyway, with run 1 being a “loosener” first thing in the morning, and run 2 a pace-focused run workout later in the day. Another easy way to catch up runs is to run to and back from the pool, gym or any other appointment; one of my rules is that there must be at least 30 min between runs for them to be considered as distinct runs.
I find the 50 runs in 50 days ‘challenge’ to be useful for a number of reasons:
1) Done early in your run build phase, or when resuming training after some time off with injury, and is beneficial because it removes your focus away from pace, distance, intensity, training zones etc and purely gets you to think about time on your feet and regularity. 2 medium runs, a long run and a brick run is plenty of running each week for most age-group Ironman athletes and if your running is already at a good weekly volume (30-40miles/week) then you still get to do these runs within the 30/30/30 challenge, with the addition of regular short runs to boost your overall run volume. Here’s my run volume for the first 7 weeks of 2013 thanks to the 50in 50.
week 1 76km
week 2 85km
week 3 80km
week 4 55km
week 5 72km
week 6 69km
week 7 73km
Not massive mileage, but great consistency (I somehow managed a light week in week 4 after a camp in Fuerturventura, but that’s still around 5hrs of running) and I feel that this gives me a good basis for adding more intensity into my run sessions from here on.
2) The challenge requires that you run almost everyday. To gain a day off requires a day of multiple runs. After the first week, you will probably be running on tired legs nearly all the time – not exactly the same, but close, to how your legs are likely to feel when you head out of T2 on your Ironman. Loading the legs in smaller doses is somewhat safer than getting the same effect by doing very long runs, and will build up your strength – especially if those runs are incorporated into your commutes and you’re carrying a back-pack!
3) It’s a mental challenge. As well as forcing you to be creative about time management and where you can fit a half hour run into a busy day (a very useful skill to develop for high volume training required for an Ironman), it’s also a reason to get out and run even when your sure as hell don’t feel like it. If you take on the ‘challenge’ then its really mental fortitude that will get you through to the end. Just like doing an Ironman.
There are reasons NOT to do this – it’s pretty demanding and even the minimum amount (all runs at 30min) will give you a weekly run mileage of close to 30miles. Of course if your usual recent run mileage is much less than this, it’s probably not suitable – however you could always adjust the parameters – how about 20/20/20? Another common pitfall for even very fit athletes attempting the challenge is doing too many longer runs, and overdoing it. In 2008 I progressed from 40/40/40 to 50/50/50 – and made it to 90 days of 90 runs of 50 minutes or more. It was a close call when I got sick and had to miss several days in the middle, but by then I was sufficiently conditioned for high volume running AND had the benefit of a training camp where I could do up to 3 runs a day near the end of it. I stopped the challenge 4 days before my best ever Ironman performance, where I secured the European age-group Championship on the marathon.
If you fancy a great week of training with Jo in the mountains you can check out EverydayTraining’s next Camp in the Pyrenees
For more about Jo, check out www.joannacarritt.co.uk and EverydayTraining www.everydaytraining.org.uk
You can also follow Jo on Twitter.