Update on my trail race training - Chi Running

Update on my trail race training

Posted by Danny Dreyer on Tue Jul 28th, 2009, 5 comments

Thought I’d fill you in on my training progress for the National 10k Trail Championships. I’ve got just over a month left to train and I’ve just finished my conditioning phase which meant lots of slow aerobic distance running (mostly 1-hour runs at a comfortable pace … 120-125 heart rate).

I decided to test myself with a set of six ½-mile intervals on the track to see how well my breathing would hold up. All of that aerobic training is paying off, because I was able to run the entire set without getting winded.

Here are my splits for the set in the order I ran them. My main goal with the workout was to progressively run each interval faster without increasing my perceived rate of exertion (which I wanted to keep at a constant 6-7 on a scale of 1-10). This is the perceived rate of exertion I plan to use on race day.

Six ½-mile intervals
Resting heart rate: 41
Max heart rate during exercise: 155
Resting heart rate during 200m jog breaks: 114

1. 4:09
2. 3:45
3. 3:35
4. 3:24
5. 3:21
6. 3:10
Average of the six: 3:34

According to “Yasso’s Rule” I should be able to run a 3:34 marathon if I take the average of my 6 intervals and convert the split time from minutes to hours and seconds to minutes. This not only tells me that I’m ready to run a marathon at a Boston qualifying pace, but that I’m now ready to safely add speed work into my workouts without overtaxing my lungs or starving my legs of oxygen.

My current training plan from now until race day:
I plan to change my daily running workouts to include sets of 10 x 3-minute hill intervals twice weekly for the next two weeks. I’ll then increase the length of the intervals to 4 or 5 minutes each and do six of these intervals twice weekly. One run per week will be a 6 mile run at race pace and one run per week will be a Long Slow Distance run of 10-12 miles. ALL of my weekly runs will be on trails up to race day and I plan to do a 4-day taper before the race.

Within all of these various workouts I will always be working to perfect both my uphill and my downhill running technique so that on race day I can run efficiently and fast. Let’s hope my plan works.




  • injury-free running,
  • running,
  • trail racing,
  • downhill running,
  • racing,
  • uphill running,
  • 10k training program,
  • distance running,
  • interval training.,
  • race tapering,
  • speed intervals

5 CommentsLeave a comment below

Emma Sunerton-Burl Jul 29th, 2009 12:16pm

Thanks for sharing this Danny - it helps me see how to train for a race whilst still allowing gentle development. I have a tendency to want to do loads more than I am fit for and so burn myself out way too much. I love running in nature too - as I live in snowdonia (north Wales, UK)  it means I love to run up the mountain trails/paths, well try to, I so want to develop my fitness enough to be able to do fell races here without needing month or mores recovery. I think you have shown me the key here - to just be slow and perhaps walk if nessecary for ages before trying to do anything with speed or hill workouts as such. Though I have had the aim of increasing my fitness in this area for about 3 years now, progress does seem very slow, though I push then burn out.

Hi Emma,
Thanks for your reply. I’ve always wondered what fell running was like. I’ve heard it’s very strenuous but quite a beautiful way to appreciate the countryside. I’ll be coming to the UK in 2010, probably May 1&2, to do a couple of ChiRunning workshops. Maybe someone there can take me fell running.

Best wishes with your training. I think you’re on the right track now.  - Danny

Eric Tobias Aug 5th, 2009 11:59am

I think Yasso’s comparison for the time that you should take to run a marathon is 10 800s w/ 400 recoveries.  If you can extend it to ten then you are on your way.  A group of us are doing Yassos’ 800s, under the tutelage of a good runner, for an half-marathon in September.  We started with 4x800/400 and we are going to work our way up to 10x800/400.  800s are tough but it gets easier as I keep doing them.  In order not to starting the first couple too fast I use my HR monitor to keep it in the HM range (80-85%MHR—I believe for the marathon the range is 75-80%MHR.  Just some of my thoughts.  Good luck with your training.

Carlotta Luke Aug 12th, 2009 04:29am

I live in the UK and would love to do one of your workshops. Could you let me know when you will be taking bookings for your trip in May? I bought your book about 6 months ago, and then did a Chi running workshop with Michelle Muldoon near London. I really like this way of running and it has brought a whole new level of understanding and enjoyment for me. I never thought I could run more than a couple of miles, and certainly never thought I would be able to enjoy it. I now look forward to running and have just ordered your Beginner’s Marathon training book. Thanks for the inspiration.

Hi Emma,
We will be posting the workshops in the London area on our website within the next 3 weeks. we’re still working on our 2010 schedule, but tentatively we’ll be in the UK the first week in May and I plan to hold at least two full-day ChiRunning workshops and possibly some half-day workshops. This is in response to the exploding interest of ChiRunning and ChiWalking in the UK.

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