Long version: I bailed at mile 75. At mile 70 the aid station volunteers commented how much I was joking around with them where most people barely speak, then I headed out and had a sharp pain above my knee. I tried running faster, slower, lengthening my stride, walking, and it got worse. I could walk, as long as it wasn't downhill - downhill was possible if I walked sideways and held my breath. I assume it was inflammation in my tendon/ligament due to lack of quad strength. I had been going to the gym for the last month and a half of my training, but certainly not hitting it hard enough - clearly. Before then it was single leg squats/lunges at home. From all the downhill I managed to get a blister under my big toe and the next one along, they lifted the nails, then in a unplanned fashion I kicked enough rocks to tear both nails off about 90% of the way. This was at mile 50 though and by mile 70 any discomfort was hours behind me. Actually tearing the nails off was a relief to the blisters, but that's the only thing that may have altered my stride for a period of time. When I had to stop I had actually gotten past the 'this sucks I want to die' part, at least that interation, it sucked not finishing.
Short Version: Training for a 100, I thought there'd be a lot of threads about whether we're supposed to do heavy weights or lots of light reps, but I couldn't find any. What's the consensus?
My brain tells me to immediately get back out there, but I remind myself that I clearly have a long way to go.
BUT, I'd cycle down from heavy to light as your 'A' race approaches.
I'd also advise pedicures, I get one every 4-6 weeks when I'm in full training mode.
Pam Smith, winner of the 2013 WS100 did lots of reps FWIW.
Uh oh... now what?
For what little it is worth... I used five-pound weights for both arm workouts and leg workouts. I had five or six things, just stuff I decided were weaknesses and the weight exercises were strictly for them--
--weights on toes, sitting on something so my legs were free, toe lifts, toe circles, toe rotates
--weights on ankles, leg lifts
--arm curls? pretend bar lifts
--arms straight down, keep arms straight, lift until arms are straight out to the side
four or five mornings a week, 50 reps of each
kind of long and involved to detail here
What someone else said--get a file and take care of the nails. Might check your shoe sizing too. I seldom lose a nail due to running.
Speed work is still essential to running, just as much in ultras as in any other running.
So is your question the best way to strengthen an area of weakness. There are many ways to attack weaknesses. Sometimes it might be a no weight isolation movement. Maybe standing on a bench with one leg and slowly lowering yourself down to a one leg squat ... this exercise is about the down and not the up.
As far a light versus heavy. I like a variety ~ 25% of the times heavy, 25% of the times light and 50% of the times in the middle.
I am fuller bodied than Dopplebock
good advice, thanks everyone. I guess it does make the most sense to do both heavy and light and certainly not to half ass it like I guess I had.
As for the foot thing, you couldn't (previously) tell by my feet that I'm a runner, the blistering and nails lifting up was purely from the downhill running, not from my giant nails hitting the front of the shoes!
weight training is great but putting in the correct number of miles for your body is really the best preparation. That's not to say that your knee flareup was for sure caused by too few or too many miles, but it might have been.
Losing toenails on downhills is not inevitable could be shoes too small(smashing into the front) or too big (moving around too much)
How much downhills do you do in training?