#WorkoutWednesday: My Finlayson Arm 25K trail race training plan

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

I finally signed up for a race.

It’s been almost eight months since the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, and I must admit I’ve been slacking in the running department. I took a planned break from training to focus on building strength and flexibility for the first few months of this year, but have started to get bored and unmotivated to workout. My workout routine has looked something like this since January:

Monday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Tuesday – 30 minutes of HIIT or an easy 45-minute run
Wednesday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Thursday – Easy 45-minute run
Friday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Saturday – 1 hour hike, 30 minutes of yoga or a rest day
Sunday – Easy 45-minute run or a rest day

Although my fitness-related goal for this year is to work on yoga inversions, I love having an event or something to train for as it gives me something tangible to work towards. Plus, I love participating in races – the nervous excitement, the runner camaraderie, the race shirt and medal, a sense of accomplishment… who doesn’t love the race-day experience?

So, last week I signed up for the Finlayson Arm 25K. It’s a challenging trail race incorporating all my favourite mountains in one of my most favourite places to run: Gowlland Tod Provincial Park.

Squally Reach in Gowlland Tod Park

Squally Reach in Gowlland Tod Park

Debbie looking out over Jocelyn Hill

Debbie looking out over Jocelyn Hill

Ascending the backside of Mt. Finlayson

Ascending the backside of Mt. Finlayson

Views along the Ridge Trail

Views along the Ridge Trail

Descending Mt. Finlayson... though I think for the race we're going up this way.

Descending Mt. Finlayson… though I think for the race we’re going up this way.

I briefly (and stupidly) thought about registering for the 50K, but after working backwards from the race date of September 12th and figuring out a training plan based around several busy weekends of weddings, camping and concerts this summer, I realized that probably wouldn’t be a good idea. I wouldn’t have sufficient time to train properly; it’d be the Squamish 50K all over again.

Although 25K seems like an easy distance, I know the course and know how challenging it’s going to be. Just look at the elevation and the course:

finlayele

finlayson25

Here’s the 13-week training plan I created for the race, which incorporates a few days of strength training, a few Zone 1 and 2 runs during the week (which for me is a heart rate level of about 138-145 bpm – almost a 6-minute-per-kilometre pace), and a long trail run on Saturday or Sunday, reaching upwards of 28kms a few weeks before the race before tapering back down. It’s not very different from what I’d do for marathon training, except for the lack of speedwork. I don’t plan on doing any because, a) I don’t need to, b) I don’t like doing it, and c) I’m not trying to get faster right now. I’ve got a few stair workouts planned each week and will obviously be hiking/slow jogging up hills during training, which will help prepare me for all those climbs, but other than that I won’t be going very fast. And that’s fine by me.

Do you have any races this fall? Do you find you need to register for a race or event in order to be motivated to work out? Are you following a specific training plan right now? Have you taken a planned “off-season” from running?

– B