Monday 14th to Sunday 20th September 2015

Training for: CTS Dorset Ultra (53k)

Runs: 9, Total Distance: 69km, Total Time: 5:49

Week 3 of 13 - CTS Dorset Ultra.

Week 3 of 13 – CTS Dorset Ultra.

Week 3 is done – 10 weeks to go! Structured and focused training seems to be working wonders for my fitness, strength and to some extent my speed. Training using heart rate is definitely increasing my endurance in a lower gear and my pace seems to be rising in the lower gears too which is exactly what I had been hoping for. We will see if there has been a marked improvement in about 2 weeks as I have a MAF test scheduled for October 1st.

The past week of running was for the most part a good one. On Tuesday my run got me further out than I had expected and into one of my favourite bits of trail in my local area, it felt great to get back up into those particular woods and singletrack in hazy rain. The rain, however, was a sign of something what was to come on Wednesday and I think a sign that Autumn is about to arrive! Wednesday is the day I set aside for speedwork and usually that involves trail intervals on an 800m loop near my house. This week, however, I went exploring as I had heard tell of a marked, flat 400m grass track not far from my house.

The rain hammered down with no let up and within two minutes of being outside I was thoroughly soaked through but smiling all the same as I ran the 2km to the grass track with my spikes wrapped in plastic and in the mesh pouch of my Salomon S-Lab pack. I arrived, got changed into my spikes, wrapped my Hoka and pack  in plastic and then ran out onto the playing fields to find the marked track. After running around for five minutes it became apparent that the track had faded to nothing and was now covered in markings from various football and rugby pitches, if indeed it had ever been there before!

So, soaked to the bone, feeling rather cold and a little dejected I wondered what I might do for a speed session. I was in no mood at this point for attempting the 8x800m I had originally planned so instead I ran a Tabata sprint session of 10x20s with 10s recovery – I would never have thought before doing this workout that it would prove to be so, so brutal! A Tabata really pushes the respiratory system and puts fire in the legs. After a short cool down and a change back into Hoka I ran a best effort/tempo 3.3km effort back home. A hot shower was certainly welcome because as soon as I stopped running I realised how cold and soaked I was – I was so wet I thought I might have to wring out the water from my very bones! I think I will now finally make a purchase I’ve put off for nearly two years – a fully waterproof running jacket. I’ve never really felt the need for one before because if it rained hard enough I would just run faster or take a shorter route but now I’m using heart rate and distance focused training I’ll be out in the rain and cold a lot longer as winter presses in on us.

My runs on Thursday and Friday were more akin to therapy and time to think. I certainly needed both to make sense of a whole heap of stuff that’s  been weighing me down for a month or more. Earlier in the week I was running pretty mechanically, as in I didn’t ‘need’ the run so much, I was just getting in the miles for my training. I don’t really have much of an idea what I was working through on Thursday’s run but when I was finished the sense that I was being pulled towards a course of action was palpable – the dream I had that night solidified that fact and both informed my action of Friday. Friday’s run was spent floating into the future in my mind and hoping for some sort of resolution to the mysteries of life and love. The run was my slowest of the week as per the plan and I think the pace really helps with visualisation as you can totally focus on what’s in the mind and not so much on heart rate, pace, elevation and all the other stuff I sometimes find myself fixating on during training runs! All I can say is that the running may not have brought around the resolution but it certainly helped to lighten the load.

Hanging out with my Dad before and after my Saturday long run.

Hanging out with my Dad before and after my Saturday long run.

On Saturday I got in my car with my Dad and drove out to the English countryside in search of new ground to run! I happened upon a place called Deadman’s Hill about an hour drive from my place and thought it sounded perfect and from satellite imagery it looked perfect – a big wooded area surrounded by open fields. It was a real treat and turned out to be some of the best singletrack and jeep road that I have ever had the privilege of running. I didn’t do a standard HR progression run as I think I was quite excited by my surrounding so I ended up running in my tempo range very early on and then taking a decision to run all of the uphills hard and the downhills fast. I was having so much fun and enjoying the surroundings so much that I had very little time to think about life, love, heart rate or anything at all other than keeping up the pace! It was such a great feeling to let out so much pent up energy and emotion on the trail and, on the drive back, I had a clear mind heading into the rest of my weekend.

My thought process on the run on Thursday led to me taking action on Friday and Friday’s action led to a meeting of hearts and minds on Saturday evening. Things are a little less heavy on the heart and mind after Saturday evening but, alas, there is still much thought and soul searching to be done on that front…समय बताएगा

I rounded off the week with what I would consider to be a perfectly executed run when it comes to the consistency of my heart rate! I finished the 11.1km with an average of 150bpm and, after checking the data the graphs show that my rate after the first klick pretty much moved no more than 3bpm above 150 for the entire route bar one brief moment on a hill climb when it hit 158bpm until I checked it with a short power hike. I returned home to find I was 1 klick short of a 70km week which was slightly disappointing but not enough to push me back out to run a circuit of my block! The week ahead should be cool as I will get to run my Tuesday and Wednesday runs in the morning before work as I am starting 2 hours later than usual on both days – I’ve decided too that I will run the 8x800m that never was on Wednesday morning.

The week ahead has a maxmimum distance limit of 81.xkm and a minimum of 75 with Saturday’s long run being between 20 and 22km in yet another new location.

That’s it for this week dear reader. I hope the trails, roads and treadmills treat you well until the next instalment of 26.2 & Beyond.

Peace & Blessings

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