Sunday, 31 October 2010

Week in review

This was my first week of high intensity/low mileage training based on the Furman plan aimed at keeping injury at bay whilst maintaining fitness.
Monday - 1 hour cycle at the gym. This was at a high intensity and I averaged about 85% max heart rate. Quite a tough session and I wore my knee support to help. 10 minutes core exercises in the evening.
Tuesday- my knee was sore at the back (a new one for me!) and I think it was due to wearing the support whilst cycling! Ran 5x3min repeats at 90% heart rate (average 6:45 pace). Did 6miles total.
Wednesday - rest. Knee and legs feel like they have been worked hard so happy to let them recover. 10 minutes core exercises in the evening.
Thursday - 10K tempo run - 44:45 with an average heart rate of 85%. Felt really good with no knee twinges at all.
Friday - 1 hour cycle at the gym. 10 minutes core exercises in the evening.
Saturday- Brilliant 11.5 mile trail run around Cheyne Hill and Fetteresso forest. Slightly mis-timed as we ended up running off road in the dark with one headtorch between four!
Sunday- Rest

Overall pretty happy with this. I'm feeling my fitness is creeping up and my knee isn't giving me too much bother.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The last few months

Octobers big race was the Loch Ness Marathon. This has to be my favourite marathon due to the scenery, low numbers, course profile (HILLS!) and social event. Myself and Mike Raffan went up with my pal Al (aka "mamemeister"). I knew Al from a few retro videogames forums where he had asked about the sensibility of running 26 miles after watching the London marathon on the TV in April. He did not take much persuasion to enter Loch Ness which gave him just 4-5 months to go from zero to marathon runner. I had a lot of fun being a virtual coach :-) The trip to Loch Ness was excellent - lots of beer, laughs and an enjoyable event. Here is what I wrote at the time:

"To go from nothing to marathon fitness in 4 months is nothing short of amazing. It has been great fun for me to give advice to Al since April and be a "virtual coach". It was also a pleasure running alongside him yesterday on the big day as he is such a great bloke - friendly, decent and down to earth. We had a right old laugh this weekend. 
Although he got a cracking time for a first attempt (4:16) I was personally impressed with the fact he had a really strong race. He ran fast but always within his limits. At no point in the last few gruelling miles did it fall apart and you could tell from the determination on his face that he was not going to let the distance beat him. He really did himself proud. 
And we did a sprint finish over the line :)"
Mike, Al and myself.

Mike also got a huge PB at Loch Ness of 3:26. Fantastic stuff.

Since then I have been considering my options for next year and how I finish this one. I am drawn to trail runs, especially the longer events, however the waters were muddied by getting an entrance to the London Marathon next year. I have decided to pay for it but defer running it until 2012 thereby allowing me to chase my goal of 5 Scottish Ultras in 2011.
I have also decided to use this period of training to cut back on mileage (without compromising fitness) and properly heal my knee niggles. In fact I abandoned a 26 mile run on the West Highland Way with mates last weekend for a more sensible shorter local run. My foot psoriasis is healing a lot after getting some new cream from a specialist. Training for the rest of the year looks a bit like this:

M 1 hour cycle with core exercises
T Intervals  or hill session (around 6 miles)
W 1 hour cycle with core exercises (or Rest)
T 6-8 mile Tempo run 
F 1 hour cycle with core exercises
S 10-13 miles trail running
S Rest

Then I'll be looking to increase my long runs in the New Year to prepare for the Dee33 in March.

Also trying to lose a good bit of weight. This is ongoing and looking promising.

Speyside Way Ultramarathon

Eek - I have not updated this blog for quite a while! One of my goals for 2010 was to run a series of ultramarathons. However, once I got injured the goal simply became "run ONE ultramarathon". I managed to complete Speyside in August - a 36.5 mile race on road and trail in the North West of Scotland. This is what I wrote shortly after the event:

"The Speyside Way Ultra was a beautiful race which was brilliantly organised. I'd recommend it heartily to anyone wanting to run an ultra.
I had a shocker though. Up to 27 miles I felt peachy and loved it. Then every footstep was pure murder and it was a brutal slog to the finish. I've tried to analyse why it went so wrong for me and here are the reasons I've deduced:
- Fat: I am too heavy and need to loose at least half a stone. This takes far too much of a toll on my legs and knees.
- Training: my training wasn't good enough. I only did 11 weeks specific ultra training with no back to back runs (2x27 milers as my long runs). Due to injury this year this was on the back of very little base training. I think this was my major problem. Also a 27 miler 2 weeks before the ultra was perhaps a bit much - it should have been 3 weeks before. Everyone is different but I needed more training.
- Food : I had solid food the whole way with only 2 gels. I found that after 3 hours solid food was a no-no. In future I need sarnies until 3 and then gels/block shocks for after. Also going to switch to Nuun rather than taking electrolyte tablets as they were too much of a faff.
- Schoolboy Error: going off too quick and overestimating fitness (DUH!)
- Negativity: when things went wrong in the last 10 miles I found it very hard to recover mentally. I found it tough dealing with the fact the race was 36.5 rather than 35 miles. I was cursing everything at the end of the race and vowed never to step foot over 26.2 miles again.
Lessons for me to learn there"

What a LARD ass!

Looking back (with rose tinted glasses) I think I was far too harsh about the race and I can safely say that I'll be back again next year.