Access our free training plans provided by our event supporters: coach René Borg from 'Running Coach Ireland'. Files are downloadable PDFs.
You can purchase TrainingPeaks version of these files to get more details including the more detailed workout descriptions and the ability to download the workouts directly onto most watches: check it out here.
Training plans: pick yours!
11 WEEK PLANS (start: 13th July 2020)
(note plans being uploaded over the weekend of 11th-12th July: check back later if the plan you want is not yet available for download)
No template plan will exactly fit your unique situation and level of fitness of experience, so it's important you modify the plans to your situation and adjust them as you go along based on how your body responds.
To give you sufficient options, we have added three difficulties of plan for each distance: beginner, intermediate, and advanced.
For a fully individualised option, Running Coach Ireland provide professional training plans with ongoing coaching support at www.runningcoach.ie.
Why do all the weeks start with a 2 hour long run?
Because we are only posting the 10 and 11-week plans this year it is assumed that you have already been 'training away' and are by now capable of running 2 hours. If you cannot run 2 hours: SLOW DOWN and treat your longest run as a 'run/hike'. Generally when people say 'I can't run 2 hours' what they are really saying is 'I can't slow down enough to complete 2 hours' (Arthur Lydiard).
I missed the start date for the plan! Can I still use it?
Yes, simply look at the early weeks and see if your own training was similar enough and if so jump into the plan a bit further ahead. You will notice some workouts naturally build on each other - if you have never done the workout you see in the plan before (such as 'hill sprints') then pick the one from earlier in the plan.
How do I understand the 'Beginner', 'Intermediate' and 'Advanced' and the 45k/80k 'first timer' and 'experienced'?
The assumptions behind each plan are roughly as follows:
Beginner: You are new to trail running but have some running experience. You can commit to running 4-5 days per week and safely complete at least 4.5 hours running per week now. You will be aiming for a time goal that is potentially in the 2nd half to the back end of the field.
Intermediate: You have a solid base of running experience and can commit to 5-6 days per week of training and roughly 6-7 hours of weekly running on average. You are likely aiming for a place in the mid-pack or even taking a shot at the top-50.
Advanced: You are a very experienced runner with plenty of exposure to trails and hills previously. You run 6 or more days per week and you are used to training 7 to 10 hours per week.
Note this categories won't perfectly fit everyone: you may be naturally very athletic but not used to training a lot. So you may use the beginner or intermediate plan but you could still finish in the top-20. Or you may be a 'slow' veteran who can complete nearly any distance but you wouldn't be competing at the front of races even if you often run 8-10 hours per week. Browse the plan and pick the one that seems to challenge you without being a massive step-up from the training you have done in the previous 3-4 months.
For the 45k and 80 km there are no beginner plans (instead there is a 'first timer' plan mainly built around beating the cut-off) and an 'Experienced' plan for anyone under 5.5 and 10 hours respectively. This is due to volume being similar in most of these plans: the main difference is that 8 hour finishers will simply do most of their runs at faster paces than 10 hour finishers because they are naturally faster and/or have more running experience.
These training plans are not suitable for elite runners: Elite runners need fully individualised plans to bring forth the best results - so the Advanced plans are not designed to be sufficient for elite level performance!
I notice even the beginner's plans have 'workouts' like hill sprints? I thought it'd just be easy running?
It's possible to prepare for an event such as EcoTrail simply by running easy and this would be a good approach if you have recently been injured and cannot tolerate faster paces yet. However, we now know that a variety of paces and efforts is healthier and less likely to injure runners during training as long as you run to YOUR level and not someone elses.
So don't be intimidated when you see workout names such as 'hill sprints' or 'intervals': if you look closely you will see these are done at whatever YOU consider 'fast', 'hard', or 'medium' effort. You should always adjust workouts to your level: if the workout is not quite challenging you, then extend the duration or the repetitions of faster work a bit. If you find the workout too daunting, just do a bit less than prescribed - you should feel comfortable challenged but not overwhelmed.