Sometime during summer of 2017, I set my sights on Gold Rush Run medium distance race to be held in Finnish Lapland late in March 2018. Considering we had only done a couple of years of sprint racing, most of which dry land racing, it seemed like a daunting task.
My background is in hiking and mountaineering. I have climbed in the Scandinavian Mountains, the Swiss Alps and the Peruvian Andes. I am compelled with challenges so long that adrenaline rush alone cannot sustain the performance. There has to be some epic element to it, and sprint racing does not provide that for me, even if I do enjoy those in a different way.
Preparing myself was therefore not a completely unknown territory, but how to prepare the dogs? I have attended some really great training camps arranged by L-SVU in Finland, but I felt the message was more geared towards sprint racing, and even then, it focused mostly on the athletic training and nutrition. For other areas of training, I asked Vallu from Bearhill's to act as my mentor, and I am happy he agreed.
I drafted a training plan with comments from Vallu, but failed to properly understand some of his key comments, which in hindsight carry a lot more weight. This especially:
"The best training is the one that you can actually do"
My training plan, especially for the autumn season and early winter down South was simply too much. As the conditions (weather, work schedules, and all those things I had not accounted for in the plan) started to hamper the training, I started falling behind, causing a domino effect which led to a sort of training paralysis in December, lasting halfway through January.
Lesson learned: Training plan should be milestone-based, and not a weekly curriculum.
Curriculum - as in having a daily schedule - will break down eventually, which may cause you to miss out even more workouts, as you are "already behind schedule". Milestone based system, however, always dangles an objective in front of you, regardless of what you did or did not do last week.
Click here for part 2, lessons about matching the training to the race.