Monday 7th to Sunday 13th September 2015

Training for: CTS Dorset Ultra (53k)

Runs: 9, Total Distance: 58.4km, Total Time: 4:51

Week 2 of 13 - CTS Dorset Ultra.

Week 2 of 13 – CTS Dorset Ultra.

I learned something about myself this week (Week 2/13 of my training plan). Namely, I can handle more miles in training per week than I had anticipated in my training plan.

The target for week 1 was 40.7km over 6 days and I ran 47.7km including warm-ups, cool downs and hill workouts. This week’s target was 44.1km and as you can see above I have covered 58.4km! I did worry at the end of week 1 whether or not an increase like that would be sustainable but after nearly 5 years of regular, almost daily running I think I need not fear too much. I was aiming to peak at a maximum of 59.6km at week 8 through to week 12 with week 10 covering 65.6km as I am running a trail marathon. The reality is now that my training plan has gone from exact ‘science’ regarding the calculation of miles to more of a guideline. Next week we shall see how that goes because the target of the original plan stands at 49.6km which would obviously be a reduction – I think the likelihood is that I’ll heading towards the 70km mark if I’m feeling as strong and as a fit as I do now.

This week I also decided to try and keep an accurate food diary. Not counting calories or anything like that, just logging what I eat and at what time – it turned out to be really useful because by the end of the week I had found a pattern of snacking which I noticed around Wednesday evening. After this I put my meals back by half an hour and made a conscious effort to avoid ‘easy’ snack foods that are readily available at work like biscuits and chocolate. In their stead I now take fresh fruit and I have a fruit smoothie (water, 1x banana, handful frozen pineapple) on standby for the mid-morning.

I was a little worried about taking to comfort eating and this seems to have negated the worry before it became a reality. I have found that since giving up smoking cigarettes when I get stressed, upset or worried by something I tend to eat a lot more crap than I normally would! In reality it doesn’t usually effect me too much at all in terms of looks or running performance – I run so much that the amount of extra sugar/fatty crap is negligible but it’s hard to stop eating crap when you turn to it for no other reason than comfort. The food diary has also helped me to keep on track with my meat-free push – every time I’ve had the option to have meat with a meal or in a sandwich I have checked myself and gone for the healthier [and more ethical] option.

As for my running this week, it has been pretty awesome. I have hit my heart rate targets during aerobic efforts and I have given everything I could in my speed and hill workouts this week. Wednesday I decided to try 3x2km for the first time and it kicked my butt! It may be the hardest workout I’ve ever done but I enjoyed pushing myself and being tested, by the end of the second interval I was begging for 15 seconds more recovery time but the watch just kept on ticking and I had to just keep on keeping on! I have found that this weekend’s running, from Friday to today to be particularly useful both in terms of giving me the time and space to sort out thoughts and feelings and also in giving me confidence that my training is going well. I’m sitting here feeling strength in my legs, I don’t feel drained of energy from running too much or too hard and I’m already beginning to consider what my Wednesday speed workout is going to look like!

I really  needed my weekend of running. It’s been another long and busy week at work and in my mind and I was craving the time and space to sort through the tangled ball of twine that my thought and feelings have become! Friday’s shuffle gave me the time I needed to begin crossing t’s and dotting i’s and starting to try to make sense of the jumble. Saturday’s long run was great, I drove somewhere new with my Dad and he enjoyed the peace of a country park whilst I ran a 14.5km hard progression run in the woods – running in unfamiliar territory always helps me to either bring about my best ideas and theories, to work on the more complex ones I have buzzing around or to make sense of situations I find myself in – the only other place this happens is in the shower! Today’s run was a pre-sunrise effort as I’ve often found running through the darkness helps me to gain some peace of mind. I have no idea why but running from or towards the hours of darkness helps me to draw conclusions and to make decisions. In addition to this I proved to myself that I am still dedicated to my running and to my lifestyle and I am still grateful for the ability to run at all.

For me running has so much more meaning to it than just staying fit, staying healthy and training for races. It truly is my office space, my therapy and my chance to explore both myself and the world around me. It is worth so much and I don’t take this fortune for granted.

With that dear reader, I shall sign off for the week.  I hope the trails, roads and treadmills treat you well until next time.

Peace & Blessings

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