Follow-Up Comments To The Switch Flipper

AJWs TaproomAfter my column on the ‘switch flipper’ workout last week, I received several comments and quite a few emails asking for more detail about my training plan. While this is not intended to be a training column and I am by no means an expert, I would like to respond to the questions as they may be of interest to some readers.

In general, once I have experienced the great leap forward of the switch-flipper workout, I feel energized and focused. This year, the training plan I outlined is a blend of long, slow days in the mountains with ample vertical climbing and descending, and medium-distance tempo runs that I run significantly faster than 100-mile pace. In addition, at this time I abandon the Maffetone approach that I employed through the winter and run much more on feel than on heart rate. In fact, on about half of my runs between now and Western States I will run without a heart-rate monitor or a GPS watch.

Also, in my attempt to build steadily toward a peak on the last weekend in June, I will pay strict attention to my weekday quality runs to build both strength, speed, and power.

Finally, I will start including one or two doubles per week.

So, to provide an example, next week’s training plan (May 12-19) will likely look like this:

Monday — 8 miles easy running on rolling terrain.

Tuesday — Hill repeats: 8 times up and down a 3-minute hill (approximately 250 feet) with 60-second rests in between. It is important for me to run the downhills hard as well. This day also includes a 2-mile warm-up and a 2-mile cool-down.

Wednesday — 6 miles easy a.m./6 miles moderate p.m.

Thursday — Speed session on the track: ‘Pyramid Power’ workout as 200, 400, 800, 1200, 800, 400, 200. 1-minute standing rests between. 2-mile warm-up, 2-mile cool-down.

Friday — 10 miles easy

Saturday — 32-mile long run with approximately 6,000 feet of climbing and descending at 100-mile race pace.

Sunday — 15 mile tempo in the afternoon on rolling dirt roads.

Most of the weeks preceding June 14 will look something like this with occasional tweaking based on fatigue and life issues. However, I have found that once my body is given ‘permission’ to load up on workload, I can handle about four to six weeks of this kind of work before I feel like I really need the rest. And, if I hit it right, that feeling of a need for rest will come right in time for my taper to begin on June 15.

Bottoms up!

Saucony Creek Hop Suplex AleAJW’s Beer of the Week
This week’s Beer of the Week comes from Saucony Brewing Company in Kutztown, Pennsylvania. This relatively new Pennsylvania brewery has quickly become known for their creative hop blends and their outstanding Hop Suplex Ale is an excellent example of their creativity. Weighing in with 90 IBUs and 10% ABV you’d think this would be a booze fest. However, balanced with honey and floral hops, it goes down really smooth. And, it one of the best values I’ve found in a DIPA.

Call for Comments (from Meghan)

  • Okay, readers, are you training for a summer 100 miler? If so, what does your training look like?
  • Is there any resemblance of your peak training to AJW’s?
  • How do you when to load up on work and when to give yourself a break? Do you listen to your body or work on a schedule of loading and recovering?

There are 4 comments

  1. ClownRunner

    Very smart move, you finally–at long last–reveal the training plan during your final year at Western States. You went all those years without letting your competitors know what you were doing…but now, with nothing left to hide, you give them a nugget of intel. All I know is, I would be wasted tired if I tried that schedule for just one week. I guess that's why my 100 mile race times have been 30+ hours… :)

    Thanks for sharing the specifics, awesome!

  2. totops1

    What do you do if you don't experience the "switch flipper" workout ?
    Do you increase your speedwork/hillwork duration throughout the cycle or do you keep the same durations ? and How did you choose those durations, just randomly or do you integrate factors such as the endurance index to determine your speedwork speed and hillwork duration?

    1. ajoneswilkins

      If I don't experience the switch flipper I continue to plod on. Some years are easier than others. I mix up the durations of the speed work but I stick to 3 minutes for the hills. It just feels like that is the duration that is long enough for me to push consistently and short enough to maintain a 90% effort.

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