Course profile

Course profile
What lies in wait on 2nd July - The 110k course profile

Saturday, 24 October 2015

How far? Don't know ....

In my previous experience of running, I've always followed a similar template: Get to know a few routes of certain distances and run them regularly, trying to beat my time. I think this is nothing unusual and probably what most people do.

That's all changed now though. The general consensus seems to be that training for a long distance event like this mainly revolves around getting used to being on your feet for a long time. In the case of the race it'll need to be an awfully long time, but I'm trying to not think about that yet ...

This has resulted in me building my training programme around going out for a certain amount of time, not a particular route of a certain distance. I didn't think anything of this when I was planning it out, but it's now throwing up some interesting problems.

Firstly, as the time I need to be out for gradually increases it's becoming tricky to decide where to go. I don't really know how fast I'm running, so unless I just run out and back again on the same route it's difficult to judge finishing at the right time. I certainly want to avoid as much as I can having to run round in ever decreasing circles from my finish point to make up any time if I get back too soon. It'll get easier as I get more familiar with my pace and my local routes but at the moment I'm left feeling a bit lost as to where to go when I need to head out.

Today gave me another thing to think about too. I headed out up the Garburn Road, a popular track that goes from the Troutbeck valley over to the Kentmere valley (and is, handily, an early part of the 110km route). That was fine, until I reached the top with 15 minutes to spare until I was due to turn round. Didn't fancy heading down to Kentmere to have to come straight back up, so carried on up onto the fells towards 'The Yoke'.

It was drizzly when I set off, but by now was raining harder and the wind had got up, all of which I really noticed when I did turn round to come back down. Just wearing shorts and shirt meant I soon started to get quite cold (in fact it was absolutely perishing ...), so ended up sprinting to keep myself warm. This got me back down too quickly, but I was quite tired by then so couldn't face an extra few minutes up and down the road to make up the time.

So I think I need some planning on where to go. Heading out and deciding on the fly seems like it has the capacity to get me into a bit of trouble. With the weather on the change as well I think I also need to start taking some extra gear with me. Probably some food too. And a drink ....?

In fact it feels like today was a bit of a marker point. The honeymoon period of the first few easy weeks is over and I'm feeling the whole thing start to expand out and get a lot more complex. Or is it? In the end all I've really got to do is keep getting out there and putting the hours in.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Doubts and excuses

Two weeks in now ad it's starting to dawn on me that it's going to be a long haul. The other day I worked out that from when I started training to the race (or 'event' as I was recently advised to think of it as) was 39 weeks. That means I've already only got 37 weeks left! On the flipside, it means I've got 37 weeks of running almost every day, through the winter and increasingly longer distances.

It's these sort of thoughts that are already playing on my mind and I can see how it would be easy to start lagging back or even give up. Last Thursday I'd been working outdoors all day with a group of conservation volunteers and felt a little tired on the drive home. I've read plenty of advice on other blogs/websites that says you need to be careful and not overdo things, if you feel tired don't go out. I was starting to convince myself that I felt tired, so maybe I didn't need to go out ....

Thing is, I wasn't physically worn out by a really hard day. It had just been busy, but nothing out of the ordinary. I talked myself round and went for my scheduled run, feeling a lot better for it afterwards. But it was a close thing. The same thing happened the next day, when the evening after work was quite overcast, chilly and drizzly and making myself head out was again difficult.

Saturday presented problems too. It's the day of my longer run, which has now gone up to 1.5 hours and being indoors on a day off gives lots of excuses to delay and postpone. Again, when I finally went out it was fine and I had a now familiar feeling of relief that I'd passed another day and not let myself down.

So now it's Sunday and I'm having a day off, very nice. But it's a little concerning that two weeks in I'm already having minor battles with myself like this and it's only going to get harder with longer distances and much worse weather. I need to keep reminding myself why I'm doing this and remember that in the end I do enjoy running once I've started. I think what I'm really starting to realise is that maybe it's not the actual race (event?) that's going to be the challenge here, it's getting to the start line ......

Sunday, 11 October 2015

The first steps ....

'Are you feeling fit yet?' - That was the interesting question Janet asked me yesterday when I returned from my (almost) daily run. The answer is 'not yet', but I'm glad to be starting.

I'm one week into my 9 month mission to run the Lakeland Trails 'Ultimate Trails 110km challenge', which will take part on July 2nd in 2016. I've not done anything like this before so am both excited and worried at the same time, but am determined to see it through as well. I have some good reasons for doing it, which will help and which I'll get into as this blog progresses. At the moment though, there's a lot to think about and learn, one of which is how blogs work as I've not done one of these before either .....

It's all about the running

So let's keep it simple for the moment and note how the first week of running has gone. The first thing I've learnt would be that if you're going to do something like this, get a plan. I have done a little road running in the past and even ran a half marathon once, but always went out training on an ad-hoc basis. This generally results in not going out at all quite a lot, which you can sort of get away with for a shorter event but I really don't think is going to do if you want to run 68 miles. So, one week ago I sat down and worked out what I'd do every day between now and the actual race. It's all up for negotiation and alteration, but I'm already finding having a structure is getting me out there.

Secondly, I'd recommend not getting too excited and overdoing it .... After the planning I headed out for my first training run on a trail near me. A little way along I met another runner coming in from a side path. He'd done similar events, so I ran alongside chatting to him and thinking to myself 'This is ok, I'm keeping up well, aren't I great ...'. I ended up going further and faster than planned and then paid for it the next day when my legs almost seized up, it was painful to go up and down the stairs and I had to duck out of my planned run for the day. Not a great confidence booster!

Anyway, a week in and I'm feeling better. Similar distance yesterday and the legs are ok today. I'm on the way!