Finding my first 100 Miler – January Update

So this is where we really get started. Race day is in 8 months. It’s 100 miles non stop and I’m, to put it simply, bricking it a bit. I know I’m hardly in it to win, and frankly just surviving without crossing the finish line dead is my goal. But the stubborn person in me wants to run as much of those 100 miles as I can, wants to finish sub 24 hours and wants to be proud of more than just completing the distance in the cut off time.

January Training

The Training plan for January consisted of Weeks 13-16 pf the Krissy Moehl 100 miles training program from the book Running Your First ultra. I think it’s a great book and worth a look if you want guidance and training plan advice for 50Km to 100 mile ultras.

Weeks 13-15 are speed training. Weekly speed sessions based on 5 minute intervals at 80% effort with 1 minute recovery. Thats then pairs with a midweek long run of 10-14 miles and back-to-back weekend long runs up to 30 miles.

Week 16 is a recovery week before the next training block starts in Feb.

Week 13

Building good sessions with the speed session throwing up 7 x 5 min intervals. Overall this session gave me the big surprise I wasn’t;t expecting a new 10K PB and my first sub 40 minute 10K. Absolutely stoked. These session are not about PB’s they are about fundamental fitness and strength, so getting a good session in and finding I had broken one of those real barrier times was just brilliant.

Week ended with 3 long runs 12, 20, 12 miles on consecutive days. The first time the miles have piled on like this.

My fitness level is such that this was OK. 12 is a comfortable distance (as long as I’m not trying to hammer it home!) and 20 is a good endurance day.

These are the runs I really feel are building my strength, as much as I love the speed sessions, training for a 100 mile race was always, for me, about the build up of the long runs and the back-to-back training.

Week 14

This was a big week. Step up in mileage and a second week with three long runs at the end of the week. Life meant I had to shuffle the runs a little so I planned 14 then 13 then 25 miles in back to back to back sessions.

The weeks speed session was as Week 13, with an extra rep. Not great weather conditions and so the speed was not so good. But every workout can’t be better than the last, especially when doing outdoor winter training.

My 14 miler this week was a time constrained run so I had to motor that more than I would like. Was expecting to pay for that in my next 2 runs, but felt good. I think the strength is really starting to build. 14 then 12 then 25 is not a walk in the park but I felt good Sunday afternoon. Like properly bouncy!

Week 15

Recovery after the weekends runs was key. A lot of miles in the past 3 days so effective recovery is key for what is my biggest week yet. Rest day was good. No aches from the weekend. Good hydration and refuelling done and some light stretches to ease the week in.

This weeks speed session is going to win no prizes. Weather was awful so jumped on the dreaded treadmill. Worked it hard, with 8 reps of 5 min at 6:10 min/mile. But given the non-smart nature of my treadmill the strata data is just a pile of rubbish. But I know I pushed hard.

Highlight of the week was my Sunday Long Run. 30 miles is in itself great, but the added bonus of 3 inches of snow falling from miles 16 to 30. Great fun.

That wasn’t the goal though. 30 solid miles with my focus on eating well. I am building up my focus on eating on long runs (>10 miles). Roughly speaking 40% of calories burnt should be consumed during the run. This time I burnt approximately 2500 Calories and consumed 2 x Chia Flapjacks, 2 x Stroopwaffel 1 x KMCNRG energy gel and around 300mL of tailwind. So I got in about 1200 calories which is pretty close. Pretty happy with that, and the fact that I didn’t stop moving to eat. A skill I’ve been working on. These foods are great for this, but I need to try more to give me a variety for my longest of runs – and especially my 100 miles!

Overall the week was good. Fitness based on my Strava data shows continued improvement.

Week 16 – Recovery Week

Well, recovery week is the week I dread. Simply because my mind tells me that progress only comes from effort. Recovery week is not in that category. That said everything you read indicates this is wise, especially to the ultra newbie! I think the challenge really lies in knowing what effort really is recovery, what is not enough and what is simply not easy enough. Following the training plan meant this time that the whole week my Garmin told me I was in recovery effort. Yes, it’s not scientifically accurate I’m sure, but it must mean that the effort was a pretty good approximation of a recovery effort.

In review

January was great. Really pleased with progress. Got some great mileage in. Challenged by some tough conditions and not to mention the challenge of a national lockdown. Sticking to local routes and not venturing 10’s of miles into the countryside.


Training block this month is endurance. back-to-back long runs at the weekend with 2 workouts mid week. This will be a tough month, but hopefully I’ve built a great foundation in January to move on from.

Back to the December Update

Back to the Start of my journey

Hydration Focus

Nutrition Focus

3 thoughts on “Finding my first 100 Miler – January Update

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