La Corredora (an ultrarunner, thats not a translation) asked a some questions on her blog about training that I think many people struggle with as well.
As I went to type my response in the comment section, I realized I had too much to say so I just put it here for easier reading. She asked many questions about mileage, intensity, and core training. Here is my response:
You want to focus on three things in this order:
1. Consistency- Don't run 50 miles one week, then 20 the next. Keep it steady. Train consistent, race consistent. Stay healthy, but keep in mind number 2.
2. Volume- You want to run as many miles as you can without being inconsistent. I think volume is key. If you could run 100 miles without getting injured or sick, then do that. If you can only run 45 miles, then do 45 miles consistently. For me, 75-80 miles is the most I can do in singles while working 45-50 hours per week without getting sick or injured. At 80 miles, I am walking a proverbial tightrope. If I lose focus on rest and recovery, then i will likely get injured or sick. I think you should feel a little weak and tired during the high mileage weeks but not completely worn down or sick. Know the difference between aches/pains and injury.
3. Intensity- After you find a comfortable, yet challenging weekly training volume, add in some speed/hill workouts.
Doubles- The best runners in the world run twice a day and it keeps you from getting super tired when trying to ramp up the mileage. If you are that dedicated, then do doubles (i know its hard with work).
The long run- The long run is the single most important workout of the week. You must do this. My suggestiong is alternate a long run one week and a really long run the next (like 2.5 hours one week, the 90 min the next, and repeat or gradually increase).
Workouts- Workouts don't have to be killer but should be challenging. I think a combo of hill repeats and tempos are best for you based on what you are trying to accomplish. Fartleks never hurt either.
Weights/Abs- Do abs everyday. Yes, Everyday. The core is a unique muscle, you can work it out everyday just like you can run everyday. I suggest 15 min after every run changing it up every day (planks, med ball, cruches...etc). Do weights twice per week lifting light reps 3x12-15 with little recovery in between. You live in a relative flat area so some leg work wouldn't hurt to help you absorb the abuse from running up and down big, scary, traily, rocky hills. Also, since you run fewer miles than most ultra runners, doing weight training can help you increase your overall training volume without so much running impact.
For La Corredora: My Suggestion is this
-Run 6 days per week and rest or cross train the 7th
-Run one long run per week
-Run one workout per week (Alternate hill repeats and mile repeats/fartlek)
-If you feel up to it: Run two workouts per week, 1 tempo and 1 interval workout like hills or fartlek
-15 min core work after every run
Example weekly training program:
Mon: 45 min and weights
Tue: EZ 45 min and 8x100m stride
Wed: Workout- Hill repeats or mile repeats/fartlek (a simple workout I like to do is 6x6 min hard w/ 1 min ez.)
Thu: 30 min and weights
Fri: 60 min
Sat: Long Run 1.5-2+ hrs
Sun: off or xtrain
Ok that was long but it should be helpful. Let me know if you have any questions