Training for: CTS Dorset Ultra (53k)
Runs: 7 (Hikes: 1), Total Distance: 71.7km, Total Time: 6:22
A bit of a different week to those preceding in this training block as I got straight back into the training groove after going harder than I should have done at Thames Meander Marathon last Saturday!
Considering there was ‘a marathon in the legs’ going into my training session on Tuesday I felt pretty good. I got straight back into the heart rate groove with an 8.6km effort around, and around, and around (etc.) my local 1 mile field loop which is conveniently situated 350m from my front door!
On Wednesday I got out of my comfort zone and decided to run a 10km road time trial straight after work. The route I chose was by no means flat and, being in London, was quite congested with cars, lorries, buses, cyclists and pedestrians so I was pretty pleased to run 43:20! I will more than likely run this same route again on Wednesday after work and will attempt to bring that 43 minute time down. As long as the traffic lights/major road crossings are kind to me along the way I reckon I’ve a good chance of running under 40:00 and I have to say that without regular and affordable access to a track during the dark evenings of winter my Wednesday Workouts are pretty much restricted to road tempo, threshold, fartlek and time trial efforts from this point onwards. Maybe this won’t be such a bad thing – I’m hoping not because it is quite a lot easier to run faster and harder on road than on trail. Earlier in this training cycle I was doing 1km or 2km intervals on an uneven and undulating 800m dirt trail oval and getting up some decent speed…
Much like last week I decided to sit out Thursdays usual aerobic effort and instead had a nap after work, did some foam rolling and yoga and generally relaxed and recuperated. Thankfully there was no guilt involved in missing this workout like there sometimes is when you go off schedule – I was just listening to my body and my body was telling me it needed a rest and some attention!
Friday evening arrived and as I’d had a fairly stressful day at work I decided I would just run on feel and for fun instead of going with my usual active recovery shuffle. The plan was to run out and just see how I felt – if the feeling was good I’d run tempo, if the feeling wasn’t so good I’d go for a shorter distance and at active recovery/shuffle pace! I’m glad to report that the feeling was really good. Good enough that as soon as I got off my 2km road link-up and onto some flat, hard pack double track trail I switched on the headlamp and picked up the pace. I ran out to 7.3km in my tempo heart rate range and then after turning and beginning to run back I upped my pace into the threshold heart range until I reached my front door. It was a really fun run and I was thankful to be out on an empty trail with an empty head and a focus on footfall and breathing! I ran 14.6km in 1:05, in the dark and on trail which I find impressive considering my road 16km PR was set in daylight, in summer and also stands at 1:05. I’m hoping these numbers will translate well into my next Cross Country League race next Sunday.
Saturday came around and my friend Trevor headed down from his abode to run a long effort on the Grand Union Canal. We took into consideration the marathon in my legs and the fact he has run about 4 times since Ironman Wales at the end of September and decided on a 14km out and back route. Much like when we ran Country to Capital step for step together back in January we took it in turns to run out front and maintained an extremely consistent aerobic heart rate effort over the first 14km. We stopped briefly (around 2 minutes) at the turnaround, took a photograph, drank some water and ate a Shot Blok before setting back along the way we came. The plan was to hit an exact even split on the return route which would have been a perfectly consistent run. Unfortunately, the fact Trevor hasn’t run distance for about 8 weeks began to show around the 7km mark and he began to drop behind a little. This posed a dilemma as the sun was just going down and the sky was darkening and neither of us had a headtorch with us. I slowed a little and walked a little to give him a chance to rally and catch up but at the 10km mark on the return route I decided to slow to his pace and jog it in over the final 4km stretch – Trev pulled a strong finish over the last 1km which was a good confidence boost for him. Enough that he has now entered the Grizedale Trail 26 Marathon as his first race of next year and will be using a training plan devised by my good self!
Finally, to round out the weekend of training and as per my usual schedule, Sunday called for a hike out and a run back with Trev. The hike out was a little slower than expected due to extremely sticky and slippery mud and because I was teaching Trev how to use poles as effectively as one can in such conditions! It was very peaceful out on the local trails though and it was nice to slow it down for the end of the week. Nice enough that the run back was at the shuffle/active recovery pace I usually reserve for Friday sessions – I figured as I ran tempo>threshold on Friday I could allow myself to drop out of the aerobic zone for the last run of the week and it was good for Trevor too as he starts to get back into a training groove.
To end today’s post I would just like to give a big shout-out to Joanne Pemberton who finished 2nd Female at CTS Gower Trail Marathon (+1110m, 43.5km) on Saturday 7th November in 5:00:04 and only 3 minutes off the lead. Jo put the work over an 11 week training plan that I devised and then followed it up with a huge effort on race day! An amazing result – Jo, I look forward to running your first ultra with you next year.
That’s it for this week dear reader. I hope the trails, treadmills and roads treat you all well in the week ahead.
Peace & Blessings