So as we enter the final week of 2016 I think I have nailed down my calendar for the year ahead. It’s a collection of races, fat-ass runs, and one big goal. I think it should work and I am motivated to get it all done. Here’s how it looks.

  • January: Base Building

This month is all about the time on my feet, overloading on miles, and starting the year off right. I’ll be getting my nutrition dialed in and getting out early to fit in the training while the world is sleeping.

  • February: Town and Tube

It’s my own attempt at a Big Backyard-style ultra in fat-ass format. Will probably run it alone but wouldn’t mind some company, too. The goal is to get a 100K day under my belt early in the season and see if I can do it without a lot of logistical issues.

  • March: Big Block of Miles

In the West Wing they talk about a ‘Big Block of Cheese Day’. I’m talking about a ‘BIg Block of MIles Month’. The goal here is to get in the time on my feet to have me prepared for the next two months and the first ultra races of the year.

  • April: Saint Fons 12 Hour

I ran the 6 hour race at Saint Fons last year and I want to step up to the 12 hour this year. I won’t really set goals for this race until the month before but I am confident I’ll beat my erstwhile PB for the distance which is a rather pathetic 66.4km from Ploeren. The 12 hour race starts at 10pm so I’ll have the experience of running through the night that will be helpful ahead of the Ultra Boucle the next month.

  • May: Ultra Boucle de la Sarra 24 Hour

I ran the 6 hour Ultra Boucle last year and it was hard – super hard. The constant climbing and descending made it difficult but when I saw that there would be a 24 hour option this year, I signed up. I’ve never run a 24 hour race before so this is really going to be stepping into the unknown but what better way to see where your limits are, right?

  • June: Recovery

After a couple of big races and knowing how the Ultra Boucle is going to hurt a whole lot, June will be about recovery and making it into the summer in good shape. The last couple of years I have run well in the summer and I am hoping that this continues again this year?

  • July: (Another) Big Block of Training

Another ‘Big Block of Training Month’ with some speed work, hills, and making sure I can do the tough stuff that is only a couple of months away now and waiting for me in Switzerland.

  • August: Long Runs

This is the last month before the A-race of the year. This month will be about distance but mainly about long runs. I’ll take advantage of the break from work and the long daylight hours to get in the sorts of distance runs that I need to feel confident ahead of the big race in September.

  • September: Ultratour du Leman

The Ultratour du Leman is the biggest race of the year, the longest race of my life, and the target for the next 267 days of training. I’ll be alone for the race as Cécile is slated to be at a work meeting in Canada but I’m psyched about the distance, psyched about the course, and ready to make my step up to the 100 mile distance, and then beyond.

  • October: Ultra Run in Lyon

This is another fat-ass format of my creation but at least I know I will not be alone – at least in the second half of the run. Joining up with thousands of other runners at the Run in Lyon Marathon to finish out the course should give me the motivation to finish strong.

  • November and December: Looking Around for Inspiration

Depending on how I feel at the end of the season I might look around for another race. There’s a times ultra in Marseille in the first week of December I’ve looked at before, and Ploeren is also in December (though it is in Brittany which is not really convenient). I don’t think I’ll be heading back to the Saintelyon but, on the other hand, if there are some others who are interested in that race and if I change my mind, I might find myself back there once again.

The one thing I am still tossing up is whether to add some strength work or gym work to the schedule. I’ve read more and more about how gym sessions and weights can help runners and I am basically convinced. The only thing giving me pause is whether I can fit it into my schedule and whether I would get a good return on investment for the cost of the gym membership. It’s something I will likely figure out in the next few weeks.

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