Like a plan…..kind of….ish

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Now that all the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year are behind us, I have given some thought to the training for my much anticipated return to the world of ultra’s (anticipated by exactly who I can’t answer). So pull up a seat, make a coffee, make ya self comfy, and prick your ears back (figuratively speaking…..cos I’m not actually talking am I…….try keeping ya eyes peeled instead then)

The plan…..kinda…..ish actually isn’t a plan really. At the present I have a good idea of what kind of running I intend to do, but when and how that running will actually occur, I don’t really know. So I will explain what I do know:

I didn’t run any great individual distances last year at all. The farthest I ran on any one single run was just over half marathon distance. Instead I made the decision to increase the elevation gain of my runs. And I enjoyed doing so. I had planned to run a particular route that is just over marathon distance and has an overall elevation of over 5,200 ft. Several of my Fac Off buddies had expressed an interest in joining me, and I was viewing this as a fun day out, no pressure, not a race……just a nice day out.  As on many other occasions, the Big L stepped in with other ideas, and I never actually managed to do this run.

So my plan….kinda….ish involves increasing my milage, time on feet, whilst continuing to have elevation gain as the bedrock. I will chuck in the fun day out run as part of that training. In the words of Bugs Bunny…….”That’s all folks”.

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Round up

As per my previous post I am unsure how my training for Ham & Lyme will look, what it will entail, or even when it begins. Haphazard, sporadic, and lacking in continuity, will more than likely be accurate descriptions.

In the meantime I have decided to publish a monthly round up of the runs I have done, starting with the Dec 2016. Now the very high majority of my running is done off road. So with that in mind unless a run is annotated as * Road*…….. then it is off road. No frills, no long winded and never ending babble. Just the bare bones:

December 2016

Sun 4th – 1: 07:32 mins. 6.8 miles. 9:54/mi. 969 ft elevation

Tue 6th – 1:27:10 mins. 8.9 miles. 9:46/mi. 1845 ft elevation

Thu 8th – 1:09:35 mins. 7.1 miles. 9:47/mi. 1486 ft elevation

Mon 12th – 50:21 mins. 5.3 miles. 9:26/mi. 344 ft elevation.

Wed 14th – 53:51 mins. 6.3 miles. 8:32/mi. 647 ft elevation.

Fri 16th – 59:24 mins. 5.9 miles. 10:02/mi. 1064 ft elevation

Sat 17th – 1:17:11 mins. 8.1 miles. 9:31/mi. 1276 ft elevation

Tue 20th  – 1: 34:54 mins. 9.3 mi. 10:06/mi. 965 ft elevation

Sat 24th – 48:57 mins. 4.9 miles. 9:50/mi. 877 ft elevation

Tue 27th – 52:11 mins. 4.2 miles. 12:22/mi. 1601 ft elevation

Fri 30th – 54:14 mins. 4.4 miles. 12:15/mi. 1608 ft elevation

Sat 30th – 47:07 mins. 3.9 miles. 11:54/mi. 886 ft elevation

Monthly totals

Time – 12 hours 26: 27mins

Distance – 75.1 miles

Average Pace -09.56/mi

Elevation -13,568 ft 

Chocolate Bar

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I have been missing from this blog for sometime now and feel I owe an explanation

Just like a certain famous chocolate bar advises us all to do…..I am taking a break. A break from ultra running. For this year only. I will still run more conventional distances and I WILL return to ultra’s again next year. I have by no means lost my mojo for an extended period or fallen out of love with running. I just have a very real need to concentrate my time and efforts on other vitally important aspects of my life

I have a very busy year planned coupled with a very stressful lifestyle. I am not complaining about this and wouldn’t change my lifestyle for the world. It would not  be  appropriate for me to expand this with more detail beyond having reached a decision to concentrate my time in other areas of my life (and lets be honest here – training for ultra events and taking part in them requires a whole lot of time).

So my priority for 2016 is not to spend copious and endless hours roaming around the countryside as I take on my next big challenge (either in preparation or in participation) . By default then  Chapter 3 has been deferred until next year.

It has not been a flippant or easy to decision to come to, but none the less, I feel it is the right choice to have reached

 

A two fold absence

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I haven’t really written much this month. I sometimes wonder to myself “who actually reads this anyway?”. This is often quickly followed by “Does that matter?” and then “You enjoy writing it. So just bloody get on with it then!!”

I also haven’t ran much since Target run #2 either so here is a quick summary to bring me and my legion of adoring readers up to date:

17 Aug – a short sharp 39 min Fartlek session

22 Aug -Target run #3, which was supposed to be a 10 hour run, didn’t happen.  Life stepped in (yet again) to foil my plans and I never even got my trainers out of the cupboard!!!!!

23 Aug – a 31 min Tempo run (doesn’t even come close to making amends for side stepping Target run #3 in it’s entirety)

27 Aug – A 2hr 5 min Hill session at my favourite hill. 6 reps and 3,708 ft of elevation. I enjoyed this one 🙂

Today is the last day of Aug and there is no plan to stick my running clobber on and go for a run of any description, be that short or long, fast or slow. So that is that for the not so sunny month of August.

My next and final long run is due on Sat 5 Sept. This is Target run #4 – 12 hours at Long Run in The Meadow. Another event organised by Dave Urwin from Albion Running so is bound be original, perhaps a tad eccentric, and lots of fun 🙂

After that, and with only 2 weeks at that point until Chapter 2, it will be time to taper. TAPER!! That is pretty much what the month of August has already been.

C’est la vie 

Target run #2 – still learning

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I began Target Run #2 at just before 7.25 am. Shear Water was pretty quiet and subdued to begin with, the only other people present being the rows of fisherman sat along the embankment of the lake. It was early on Sunday morning, and only those of us that were dedicated ( mad enough) to our respective sports felt the need to be out of our cozy beds at that time.

The target for the day was to run for 8 hours. My aim of the day was to continue in my quest for a sustainable pace. I set off at a nice leisurely pace as I made my way past the bemused looks from a selection of the fisherman, and around the by now very very familiar route. In fact, as much as I love to run at Shear Water, I was not particularly looking forward to 8 hours of solo laps. Visually speaking there is nothing new for me on “The” route and the thought of 8 hours by myself did not excite me.  However, as an exercise in finding the best pacing strategy, I felt that it was  necessary for this run to be on the same route as the actual event. That coupled with the fact that most of my running buddies were already doing other runs that day  (Salisbury 54321 being one of them – a fantastic event – not jealous!)  – I found myself plodding along on my lonesome. Taking the point one fraction further now – come the day of Chapter 2 then running for 24 hours on the same, already highly familiar route, somehow adds to the challenge for me too.

Anyhow, whilst making my way around the maiden lap of the day, I formulated a plan for the days efforts. I decided that I would only stop at my car every second lap. I had enough food and water on me that meant I wouldn’t really require any pit-stops outside of that time frame. So after the first lap I immediately commenced on to the second.

The sun materialised on the second lap and became a permanent fixture for the rest of the day. It wasn’t very hot at this point……… but that was to change as the day marched on though! I finished the second lap after 2 and a half hours and stopped at my car. Water bottles refilled, a few mouthful’s of spaghetti with chicken & cheese, and I was on my way again after 5 mins.

Lap 3 went well and I was still feeling good as I yet again made my way through the copious amount of jaggy nettles that adorned the trail . It was hot, but I wasn’t feeling depleted by it in any way. I had soaked my buff with water when I stopped and this was helping to keep the back of my neck cool. In fact I was still feeling full of energy and capable of taking the whole world on as I bounded along this lap.

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Lap 4  had the temperature turned up by Him and within several minutes of starting I found myself emptying one of my water bottles over my head and neck as well as pouring some in to my cap. It didn’t really work in my cap though. It’s a moisture wicking cap so it just allowed all the water to pass straight through leaving the inside bone dry. Doh!!! I felt it on this lap…. whatever it is. It started to bite a little bit – I wasn’t struggling by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have to work a bit now.

I finished lap 4 and got back to my car after a total time of about 5 hours and 30 mins. I took 10 mins to fill my water bottles again, soak my buff again, scoff some sandwiches, and sit in the shade offered from the open boot door of my car.

Lap 5 was a bummer. It was really hot now and the sun was relentless in it’s pursuit of attempting to fry me. I developed a slight pain on the inside of my left knee. I took the decision not to take any pain killers based on the principle that I wanted to know if this was just a minor niggle or something more sinister that I should be concerned about. Pain killers would have only masked the pain leaving me none the wiser so I bumbled on regardless. Macho eh (my knee feels fine right now as I sit in the comfort of my front room typing this). I was working a lot harder now just to maintain a comfy pace, the up hill sections took me longer to negotiate, I tripped a couple of times, and I banged the toes on both feet a couple of times too (it annoyed me when I banged my big left toe. My big right toe has an ingrown toe nail. It annoyed and  really hurt when I banged this one). I was also starting to feel a bit nauseous too

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Lap 6 was no better. Surprisingly (not) it was still very hot, I was still working hard for a relatively mediocre pace, my left knee still hurt – especially on the up hills, my quads were also feeling the effort on the up hills too, I was still feeling nauseous, and I took my first and only salt bomb of the day after feeling my calve muscles beginning to cramp up. The salt bomb done the trick though and the cramp disappeared very quickly never to be seen again (that is not until my next long run I’m sure). But I felt good. I was safe in the knowledge that this would be my last lap of the day and that made the lap all the more manageable.

So I made it back to my car after a total of 8 hrs 4 mins, 6 laps, and an elevation gain of 2,898 ft.

I think that had I more laps to do then I may be better served if I take slightly longer pit stops. Nothing astronomical – just perhaps an extra 5 mins or so each stop. 🙂

Like a line from The A Team

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Anyone who has only even loosely been following my training will know that the consistency/frequency of my running could only be described as sporadic at best. There are many legitimate reasons for this, but rather roll out a long list of my personal mishaps and commitments, it is suffice to say I will wrap them all up under the one heading of Life. And Life does have the nastiest habit of jumping out in front of us and scuppering the best laid plans of any of us.

This penchant for Life to get in the way has left me feeling that my long runs are nowhere near where I believe they should be at this point. When I think of how long my long runs should be – then my  “time on feet” is lacking somewhat I feel. To date this year my longest run in mileage was 50k and the longest time  I have spent on a single run is 6 hrs 40 mins. And they were both  way back in early March on the Imber Ultra. Since then I have managed a few runs of between 3 and 4 hours, but when I consider that Chapter 2 is now only a matter of 2 months away, then 3-4 hours now, this close to the event, just doesn’t cut the mustard I’m afraid!

So rather than go daft and attempt to build up my long runs by hugely increasing the hours of them (that won’t work – overtraining and injury can be the only result in that situation) – I have set myself “target” runs. I have calendered 4  specific runs over the next 7 weeks, each with an increase in hours than it’s predecessor. This will allow me to build my “time on feet” up to 12 hours, and affording a 2 week taper period prior to Chapter 2 commencing.

As Col John “Hannibal” Smith would say – “I love it when a plan comes together” 🙂

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