THE LOONY CHALLENGE TRAINING PROGRAM
Going Loony (covering 19.3 miles in 3 races over 2 days) is a delightful and doable challenge—and the Twin Cities is such a lovely place to do it! This program is designed to get you across three finish lines feeling strong, capable and smiling. Some weeks, you’ll run five days a week, with an optional cross-training day, and other weeks, you’ll be lacing up six days. Other staples of the week: a mandatory rest day, and strength circuits. Most of the runs are at an easy pace so you can build up your cardiovascular base and not court injury. The longer runs go up to 11 miles to get you mentally and physically prepped for the demands of the distance, but a range is given in later weeks to accommodate all levels—and days where your legs haven’t shown up.
About halfway through the program, we introduce workouts where you’ll run in the morning and do a brisk walk in the evening. The idea behind these workouts is to run, rest, then go again—much like you will on Saturday, when you hit a 10k, then turn around and line up for a 5k quickly thereafter.
RAMP IT UP OPTIONS: We realize the major challenge of stacked races like the Loony Challenge is simply to race three times and rack up some crazy mileage in one weekend, but we also wanted to design a program for runners who might want to push the pace a bit.
Every week, there are 1-2 Ramp It Up (RIU workouts) that involve intensity, including hill repeats, intervals, or race pace miles. You can opt to use them, depending on your running history, current fitness and race goals, or opt to follow the other workout offered for that day. (The program has guidelines that help you decide whether you should RIU or not.)
THE PREREQS: The ability to comfortably finish a 4-mile run is preferred; your first long run is 5 miles long. That said, because of the Ramp It Up options, this program is suited to a wide range of runners, from 5Kers looking to more than double their mileage to marathoners dialing back on distance and up in intensity. The common thread is a desire to complete a 10-miler injury free with your body feeling strong and your mouth stretched into a grin.
BIGGEST WEEK OF TRAINING: 30.5-33.5 miles
LONGEST RUN DISTANCES: One 9-to-10 miler; two 10-miler; one 10-to-11 miler. (Ramp It Up options include one 11-to-12 miler.)
CROSS TRAINING + STRENGTH TRAINING INCLUDED? Yes. Most weeks have the option to cross-train one to two times, and most weeks also have two strength circuits, as well as a prehab routine Coach Amanda designed. Two of the strength routines include resistance bands.
WEEKLY OVERVIEW: five to six runs; one to two cross-training days; two strength circuits; one rest day. There are four workouts where you’ll do a run in the morning, a brisk walk in the evening.
NUMBER OF RUNS WEEKLY: Four to six.
FIRST AND PEAK WEEK: (explained fully in the program; RIU stands for Ramp It Up, the more aggressive workout option)
NOTE: When you pick your race date below, put in the date for the 10 Mile.