What is training...what does that word encompass?
It's been my observation that the vast majority of ultra runners spend a disproportionate amount of time among the major components of training.
How much time do you spend planning the details and nuances of your physical exercise? I bet it is much more than you spend on exercises that develop your mental clarity, happiness, and fortitude. What about your deliberate exploration of race nutrition...learning what gives you gastrointestinal distress and how to mitigate it, etc.?
One of the most common reasons for a DNF in an ultra is gastrointestinal distress. And, we often say that ultras are more mental than physical.
In a recent SOUP episode, I challenged the Ultra Clan to develop a diagram that identifies and prioritizes 'training'. I received MANY responses and it took a while to consolidate a final product that represents the spirit of the consensus. But, I've done just that and present it for your comments. It is a living document that I will strive to improve, so please let me know your thoughts. An image of the diagram is at the bottom of this post, scroll down. You can download either a pdf or a Word version as well.
I had to make some difficult decisions. You will likely find that this diagram doesn't exactly fit your view or needs. Let the Ultra Clan know how yours will differ in the comments while respecting that we each have our reasons for being in this sport and, therefore, have different priorities and expectations.
The third column is for you to populate. I gave two slots for each secondary driver but you may have one, two, three...or many. This is where you define your tests of change; what will you do specifically to move the needle on the respective secondary driver? Because each primary driver is thought to be a critical facet of well-balanced training, ask yourself whether you are giving each of the categories sufficient attention. Then do the same for the secondary drivers.
Ultimately, it is my hope that this diagram (or one that you fashion for yourself with this as a starting template) will assist you in constructing an actionable framework to ensure that you are comprehensive and properly balanced in your training program as you pursue becoming your ultra best!