Defn: a human male displaying evidence of devolution - exhibits distinctive "caveman-like" tendencies. This man often dribbles in public places; cannot drink a beverage without spilling it on himself, the floor or someone else; may also run into objects like lampposts & bushes; has a definite "sloopish & short legged" running style that is slow and low to the ground, often resulting in the dragging of knuckles.

These throwback neanderthals, along with their questionable diet, should clearly be avoided.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pikes Peak Marathon Training Plan

This is my training plan that I used in the weeks leading up to the event on Sunday, August 19, 2012.  Feel free to use it, steal it, burn it, ignore it - you've made it this far - you may as well read it, then let me know what you think.

It was built by me (a self confessed, Knuckledragging runner who during training, managed to train on the race course / trail about a dozen times in the 8 weeks or so prior to race day.  I'm 44 years old, blessed with a great family who have more promising speed than I do and for race references / results - I usually finish well behind race winners and a little ahead of the "middle of the pack" runners).   How it plays out on race day is yet to be determined.

Admittedly this training plan was drawn up in pencil, it changed a few times as things happen in life.  I started in earnest training for the race on July 1st (7 weeks before race day) - this was a week after running a Half Marathon.  So, I had a good base already built. 

My "weekly training" ran from Sunday's through Saturdays and I ran 5 days each week (although 1 week had only 4 runs).  Prior to really training specifically for PPM - I had run up Barr Trail each month of the year to Barr Camp at least, sometimes further up to A-Frame and back.

The plan was laid out on a calendar - here it is not.  Instead I have formatted it as a narrative.

Week 7 (Jul 1 - 7): 3 runs + a 25 mile hike of Pikes Peak w/ my son, up and down (where I jogged and walked some of the way back down).  Total mileage 47 for the week.

Week 6 (Jul 8 - 14): 3 runs of 4, 8 & 10 miles during the week.  Then on Saturday 20 miles on Barr Trail - from PPM start line up to A-Frame and back.  42 miles for the week.

Week 5 (Jul 15 - 21): A 6 miler on Sunday.  Then 6 mile runs on Tues, Wed, Thurs.  Saturday I did the Classic 10K.  So, only 30 miles for the week - but each run was w/ a decent effort.

Week 4 (Jul 22 - 28): Due to the 10K the day before, did my long run on Sunday: 14 miles on Barr Trail.  Drove to the Summit, went down 6 miles and back up, then down 1 mile, back up.  Ran on Tues, Wed, Thurs 8 miles each day.  Then Saturday my longest run (distance) of the training period - 26 miles at the USAFA on Falcon Trail.  64 miles for the week.

Week 3 (Jul 29 - Aug 4): After 2 rest days, ran Tues, Wed, Thurs: 12, 8 & 10 miles respectively.  Then Saturday another 20 miler from PPM start up to A-Frame and back.  50 miles for the week, including 3 runs totalling 42 miles on the race course.

Week 2 (Aug 5 - 11): Beginning to taper but still wanted to work hard with 2 weeks till race day.  Ran a 6 mile tempo on Sunday, then 8 miles each day on Tues, Wed, Thurs.  These were close to full effort each day.  Saturday long run of 10 miles from the Summit of Pikes Peak (Down 4, up 3, down 1, up 2 miles).  Weekly total = 40 miles (26 on the race course).

Week 1: (Aug 12 - 18): The week before race day and a time to take it easy with only 15 miles of running.  Tues 6, Wed 5, Thurs 4.  I am posting these prior to actually doing them.

Some notes about my training:
* I did 11 runs over 2 hours long, including a 3 1/2 hr run, 3 runs that took 4 to 5 hours, my longest run was 5 1/2 hours (on the race course, taking longer than it should have, but it was extended due to a fall / crash and resulting painful walk back to my car), and then there was the 8 hour round trip hike / jog and walk back of Pikes Peak.
* I ran a lot uphill and downhill.  5 times I ran between 2000' - 3000' of vertical gain.  4 times I ran 3000' - 4000' of vertical gain.  4 times I ran 5000' - 6000' of vertical gain.  The Summit hike was over 7800 feet of gain.  After each of these "ups" - I then came back down.
* The Summit of Pikes Peak:  The drive up to and back from the Summit was time consuming, often tiring and I often questioned if I really should be doing all of this.  But getting in all the work up there helped me with several things: 1) Getting used to the Altitude a little better.  2) Getting familiar with the trail both going up and down.  3) Getting used to the Weather patterns up above treeline.  4) Getting used to what kind of effort is / should be needed above treeline on race day.  All told - I ran 61 miles over 7 runs that each started and ended at the Summit during the 4 1/2 weeks before race day.
* Most of my training runs were by myself - for the most part they were boring and lonely - but I am okay with that.  Several runs though were highlighted because Steve (Happy Trails) joined me - full of encouragement and willing to suffer with me: most notably in the thin altitude and also on the 26 mile run.  Because I only ran 5 days a week - each run had a purpose: either tempo, elevation gain, long run, altitude training, downhill running, running after falling (not planned - but could happen race day as it happened in training).
* With the training comes results and improvement: better ability, better speed, better endurance, painful crashes.  I left several DNA samples on Barr Trail and have the scars still to prove it.  Although not afraid to fall during the race (and half expecting it) - I know and learnt the hard way that I must remain focused at all times (and not with my time), both going down and up - yes, I fell going uphill, more than once.
* I usually rested / did not run - on Mondays and Fridays.  Some Sunday's after a particularly long / hard run I also rested.  This old guy needs his rest days.
* I tried to stretch a lot during the week days - working on my hips especially.  Also doing planks (including side planks) and burpees w/ a medicine ball (10#).   I found that these exercises helped with general and core fitness.

What will the result be?  I have no idea.  I have thoughts about that - will post later this week.


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