Clam Chowdah Challenge and Ultra Marathon Training
After the Cox Providence Marathon in May 2011, I was searching for another marathon. I was hoping to complete the full 16 week marathon training program. I found the Cape Cod Marathon in Falmouth, MA in late October 2011. It was an added bonus that it was in MA as then i’ll complete marathons in two states.
When I went onto the website, I saw the Clam Chowdah challenge. At the time, there wasn’t much information on the website as it was a new challenge for 2011. In previous years, they had the Half marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday, but never had an official challenge for both. I called the race race director asking what it was. I was guessing that you had to eat a giant bowl of clam chowder before running the marathon. I was wrong. It was doing the half and full marathons. The race director had a good laugh about it. She was also interested in how I will train for it. I didn’t know yet but I kept it in mind and looked around.
I didn’t find any training programs that was specifically for this but found a good ultra marathon training schedule. I used the 50k training program as the runs on the weekend was closest to the half/full in the same weekend. http://www.trailrunevents.com/ul/schedule-50k.asp: (Later, i found the Intermediate to Advanced Marathon training schedules by Hal Higdon to be similar and can also be used for this challenge).
Because of my running ability at the time, I dialed down week 1 by a few miles and work my way up to week 1. I started with 4,6,4 then 12 and 6 miles on the weekend. As I’m only running a marathon and a half, i only go up to week 10 but not run the long run to 24 miles, only 20. So my longest week looked like 4, 8, 4, then 20 and 10 (see week 8 below)
When I attempted the 20 miles and 8 miles the next day, the 8 miles was extremely difficult. The following week, I reversed the schedule so I ran 10 miles, then 20 miles the following day. It was significantly easier and it was closer to the event i would be running. My longest week became 4,8,4, then 10 and then 20 miles the next day for 48 miles for the week. I did this for a few weeks to make sure I was ready for the race.
Below is the what i ran for training. You can see a missing long run in week 5, which was a big rookie mistake. I also slowly transitioned from running 5 days a week to 4 days a week. I also wanted Sunday to be free so i ended up doing my long runs on mostly Friday but eventually moved to Saturday on week 8 before it was on Sunday for week 9 as the race was on Sat/Sun.