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.