I have blogged previously about my ambitions for 2010 which is to take a triathlon sabbatical and compete in running events. I am sure my triathlon days are not over but I want a new challenge and I want it to be an endurance challenge. So I have been considering the Thames Trot which is a 50mile point to point from
Oxfordto Henley on Thames. The race is on February 6th and I have an 18week training plan that looks achievable (removing two disciplines from training frees a lot of potential time) and starts on Monday 5th October.
I have not entered the race yet as, having discussed with my family, I have agreed that I will start the training and will see how it goes in terms of impact over the initial weeks before committing to entering. If the impact is too great I will revise my plans and go for a race later in the year.
As I think about the concept of running an ultra I find myself mentally able to break it down and rationalise it pretty easily. I am looking at it as having to run 5miles an hour for 10 hours. The more I think of it that way the more achievable it seems. If I go full tilt I can run 5miles in just over 31minutes and so that leaves me 29minutes per hour to play with! Even a slow 5miler would be 40minutes still leaving me 20minutes. I understand that my pace will be significantly slower and that being on your feet for that amount of time will be no means be easy but I know it is achievable and more importantly I believe that I can achieve it.
I think this thought process has proven to me that I am, at heart, a runner and not a cyclist or swimmer or triathlete or anything else for that matter. The prospect of running 50 miles seems achievable despite the battering that my body will take through training and then the event itself, yet I can consider that it is something I could do. Conversely the thought of cycling 100miles and more fills me with dread and as I sit here today I do not think I could complete that, yet the impact on my body would be nothing as intense as running.
So to the training – I am already ahead of schedule in terms of the distances I can cover on a weekly basis but I will follow the training plan to the letter rather than skipping forward a few weeks. I want to build the strength/stamina gradually and ease into it. For me this represents the unknown and so a more structured and methodical approach is vital for me to achieve the goal of completion. So despite the first three runs only being 2miles that is exactly what I will be doing!
The first week of training is as follows (note distances are in miles):
I will track my progress on a daily basis against the plan and also introduce some other training. For example on my 'days off' I will do some strength training and core stability work. I will also be working on a thorough stretching regimen. Injury prevention will be as significant as any other aspect of this training particularly as the mileage peaks at around 62miles in week 15.
I am really looking forward to this. The endurance challenge is the main reason I am doing this, how can you push yourself ever further in a world where so many people run half marathons and marathons, complete triathlons and do ever longer distances in any discipline. Today, for example http://twitter.com/epidbillbradley started his cross channel swim! There's always something bigger and better to do. I like the kudos that comes with doing things that people cannot do or think that they cannot do. It makes the challenge ever better, and is almost like membership to an exclusive club. I want to see what I am capable of mentally and physically and I want to be a member of that club!