Monday, 21 March 2011

Dee33 2011 - summary and thoughts

The Event:

First and foremost it must be said what a superb event this is. George Reid has something to be really proud of here - well supported and marshalled, run like clockwork without a hitch, friendly, and it feels like a *fun* event. The route is 16.5 miles along the Deeside Way from Duthie Park (Aberdeen) to Banchory then 16.5 miles back. To begin with, it isn't very scenic (unless you have a thing for looking at council estates) however it soon opens into a decent rural run over track. For 189 runners it never felt too congested which was excellent.
It was great to see some new and old faces. Definitely a friendly bunch and lots of pre-race chat kept the nerves in check. I really can't recommend this highly enough - a great day out!

Summary of my run:

- I ran with a new tshirt AND a new waist pouch. I had never worn these before the race. I'm not sure why I was so stupid but the combination was a good one and it worked out well for me!
- I have been training with Mike for the past month and a half. We had agreed that we would run the first 10 miles at 8:30 min miles and then the rest at 8 min miles. Personally I knew I could hold this pace until at least the 20 mile mark but was not sure how things would pan out after that.
- When the whistle went, it felt like a very fast start. We soon settled into a pace but were a little quicker than the 8:30 min miles as planned. With hindsight I should have slowed at this point and stuck to plan.

- Here are my splits (minutes per mile/heart rate bpm) for the race. There were toilet/water refilling/checkpoint stops at miles 8,17,22,25,26. In total I took 6mins 37secs for these necessary stops which I think I'm quite happy with.

- Basically I ran hard with Mike for the first 27 miles. We came in at the marathon point about 3:36ish. About mile 27 I had stopped for a gel and knew I'd needed to slow down. Mike ran on and I was happy to fall back to try and death march the final 6 miles.
- My death march wasn't as slow as I'd thought. Then at mile 31 Ian Beattie overtook me and I was determined to try to stay on his heels as long as possible. This really helped.
- My last mile wasn't too shabby considering the state I felt I was in.
- By my watch I came in at 4hrs 41mins which is pretty much the time I was after. Really can't complain about that.

Lessons learned:

- Even though it feels tough towards the end, it does not take much to help performace. For me, a little bit of competition seemed to stoke the fire.
- Running with a water bottle at 250ml meant I could run lighter. However, it also meant I had to stop at every water station which was a faff and lost time anyway.
- If you run at marathon pace (or as near as dammint) then you'll probably only be able to run a marathon- DUH!. With hindsight I'd rather have ran slower but stronger the whole distance than a decent marathon with a 6 mile shuffle.
- I felt sick after the 3:30 mark. I think I need a lot more variety in my food rather than just tortilla wraps and gels. Perhaps it was the heat but I need to think of extra food types to eat.
- A walk/run strategy during tough times isn't as slow as I thought and certainly isnt failure.
- In future I want to be less concerned with fast pace/heart rate and more concerned with enjoying myself!

The next race on the agenda will be the Highland Fling on 30th April. It is 53 miles over the first section of the West Highland Way. However, before I enter I want to run longer (both distance and time) just to make sure I can. To that end I think Mike and myself are going to run for a day in the hills sometime during the Easter holidays.

Thanks to those on facebook who I've nicked the piccies from :-)

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

D33 this weekend

It has been a while since I updated this blog. As this weekend is the first big run of the season (Dee33) it is a good time to reflect on the differences between what I planned to train and what I actually did train! Before Christmas I drew up a training plan to take me to the first race whilst minimising injury. It was a fairly sensible approach which I followed in January with the exception of skipping the longer runs. However, my knee was getting bad again and I was starting to doubt my ability to train for ultramarathons.

By Feburary I'd had enough of being sensible. I decided to have a "last hurrah" before throwing in the towel and increased the weekly mileage considerably (from 25 miles per week to 60). I also did a couple of 20 milers as well. Contrary to common sense, my knee slowly started to get better! On 21st Feb I switched to a Hadd training programme. Hadd is a high mileage plan goverened by very specific heart rate training. It has always appealed to me and has a dedicated following over on Fetch. This is my current weekly training (with % max heart rate):

Monday: 1hr @ 72% - recovery run
Tuesday: 1hr 15mins (1hr @ 82%)
Wednesday: 1hr @ 75%
Thursday: 1hr @ 78%
Friday: 1hr15mins (1hr @ 82%)
Saturday: 1hr (or longer) @ 72% - recovery run
Sunday:90-120 mins (or longer) @ 80%

I am now on week 4 of Hadd's plan and already feel a massive increase in fitness. I'd be confident of attempting a personal best at any level of race just now (especially marathon) and this is a good position to be in just before a major race. My only concern is that I have just ran 3x20 milers in preparation and this may be too little in terms of long endurance, however the other side of the coin is that I have been running every single day for a month so am accustomed to "tired legs". We will find out on Saturday. I hope my knee behaves!

Plus I am 14lbs lighter than my previous ultramarathon which should help a little..