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I’M AN ULTRA-DISTANCE ATHLETE. DO I NEED TO ADD VOLUME TO THE GHP TRAINING?
If you are interested in an ultra distance race, we highly recommend that you build up to that distance and get good at completing shorter distances faster first. There is nothing better to prepare you for your ultra race than progressional skill and speed development along with a foundational strength and conditioning program. The leading issues in ultra-running are deemed “volume” based injuries, of which we don’t believe volume plays a role in this. We believe movement plays the key role, and when poor movement patterns are adopted early on in any sport, they are nearly impossible to change without stopping and reinforcing with skill development and “outside” exercises and innervation. Shorter distance runners are more skilled runners by and large because to go fast requires skill development.
Distance and time are not our primary concern with ultra training.
Development of muscle tissue to withstand the damage is, which is why we emphasize strength and conditioning for ultra athletes. Getting faster, stronger, and improved ability to recover allows virtually any distance to be achieved. So training for a 50k can be very similar to 100 mile because one will usually race or participate in 50k prior to 50 mile, 100k or 100 mile to understand this exact concept. The pace for 100 miles is far different than 50k, much less a marathon, therefore the ability to develop tissue and slow pace allows athletes to be successful by ingraining the technical prowess of shorter distance runners. Nobody in any endurance sport who was great ever just started at the longest distances, they all came from shorter distance backgrounds. This may sound like it is a volume thing, but we are only looking at the most obvious thing when we see this, vs the things that actually change the athlete. Volume is nothing more than a byproduct of skill development, or more is a byproduct of better. In time, yes you may be able to tack on more time/distance, but there will be nothing more gratifying than holding up better, and feeling stronger, while maintaining long term participation in something you enjoy doing.
GHP is a general program, you MAY need to add in some training that is specific to your sport, terrain, and skill development. But as we say, volume is earned. You earn volume as described above. Putting in the work to develop strength and skill, then gradually adding more.
There are really two ways to increase the volume; more intervals or longer distances. Only change one thing at a time. You can also change up the rest between complete rest and active recovery.
We always want to base progression on performance. IE Are you recovering well; any nagging aches and pains or problem areas? Are you hitting goal paces across all intervals and stamina work? Are you getting faster?
In practical terms, you could start with adding a couple more intervals to the Short Interval day for a couple of weeks. You could also use active recovery between each interval rather than complete rest.
Then you could maintain the Short Interval volume for a couple more weeks but add 1 or 2 intervals to the Long Interval work.
Then for the next couple of weeks, increase the Short Interval volume again (usually by increasing the distance of each interval), maintain the Long interval and increase the Stamina/TT.
All of that is pending good recovery and performance.