Follow-Up Comments To The Switch Flipper

AJW discusses his peak training for the Western States 100.

By on May 9, 2014 | Comments

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 running 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?
Andy Jones-Wilkins

Andy Jones-Wilkins is an educator by day and has been the author of AJW’s Taproom at iRunFar for over 11 years. A veteran of over 190 ultramarathons, including 38 100-mile races, Andy has run some of the most well-known ultras in the United States. Of particular note are his 10 finishes at the Western States 100, which included 7 times finishing in the top 10. Andy lives with his wife, Shelly, and Josey, the dog, and is the proud parent of three sons, Carson, Logan, and Tully.