Saturday, November 23, 2013

Ultra Training Week #3 (a creditable draw from the jaws of defeat)

This week has not really been an ultra week.

It turns out that my capacity for alcohol intake is still pretty good, however the recovery on the back end is rubbish. Saturday night was a blast, a really great night out with really excellent mates. I woke on Sunday and felt pretty good, as the morning progressed i felt worse and worse. By Sunday evening i had a bit of a cold and was feeling pretty rubbish. I would feel like this through until Wednesday evening. Basically a 4 day hangover.

The running plan this week was to be 34 miles for the week broken down as...
Rest - 4 miles - 4 miles - 4 miles - Rest - 18 miles - 4 miles. 

Losing the beginning of the week meant that i was chasing my tail. I decided not to go for the long run but to concentrate on building a solid mileage and ensuring that i am in shape for next week. This week has been about no alcohol, eating well and plenty of hydration. I managed 31.3 miles which is only a couple short of target. I finished the week with a nice 10 miler at 7:08 pace. I felt great and it was nice to run without a pack. I really focussed on trying to keep my cadence high (aiming for the magical 180 bpm). There's plenty that's been written on this and is available on YouTube, to corroborate it feels lighter on the feet and you get a good kick-back (is that what it's called?) where you can feel your heel noticeably rising higher towards your backside as you run. It feels fast but also much less stressful on the body. It also makes it virtually impossible to heel strike. Concentrating on the form like this and dispensing with headphones makes running even more of a meditational activity than i normally experience. 

Next week the mileage ramps up a bit with a weekly planned mileage of 42 miles. With a couple of days away with work this will be difficult but i am planning on a 20 mile day at some point.

I use the training schedule as a framework rather than something to be followed to the letter precisely for weeks like this. i love my running but you've got to live too. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Ultra Training - Week #2

I'm currently on a train bound for Bristol. Not for a race or event,
not to crew or spectate but for a lads weekend! It should be great,
we've known each other for the best part of 30 years and when we get
together it's like we are 13 again. Great lads and proper mates.

This has impacted my training in that I am a run down. I should have 6
miles this morning but with a combination of rugby (I watched my son
and definitely did not play myself) and now having to get a train it
just wasn't feasible. There's no problem as this is week 2 in the
training and while it would have been to get out in the cold this
morning it's not the end of the world.

This was was to be another hard week with the schedule being:
Rest - 4miles - 6 miles - 4 miles - rest - 18 miles - 6 miles

As with last week on the shorter runs I have run the distance as a
whole in the morning taking a shorter run home in the evening. My long
run I did split over 2 sessions in the same day running 15 in the
morning and 3.8 home. This puts me up on my mileage for the week (40.1
miles) and is a nice way of keeping ticking over, particularly as I am
taking more rest days than ever before.

Rest days are a new experience for me really. So while I have heard
about the and read about them I've never really used them properly. I
would normally take a Saturday as a rest day so I could focus on some
other things. Now it's different, I rest on days before my long run
and after my back-to-back session. I feel very fresh when I set out
and do not struggle, my recovery from these runs is also excellent and
backing up runs has not been an issue as yet. This is a good start but
it is only that.

Next week is an easy week with a schedule as follows
Rest - 4miles - 4 miles - 4 miles - rest - 18 miles - 4 miles

Despite being easy there's still the long run in there, I'm going to
look to get closer to that in one run this coming week.

I'm loving the structure of the training and that I rarely feel
fatigued or unable to run. I did use amino acids (SciMX Amino Fusion)
on this weeks long run and will continue that as I go forward. The
scientific evidence to support it may be sketchy but I think it works
and it certainly doesn't have a detrimental effect so I will continue.

The same applies to calf guards. I wear them religiously on every run
(I wear Compressport and Skins a400's) it's gotten to the point where
I think I would feel naked without them. The benefits may be unproven
but, as with the amino acids, I think they work and as they are not
detrimental will continue with them. I remember when I first got them
and used to get a lot of stick for looking like a 6th form hockey
player but over time I see more and more people wearing them.

I'm just pulling into Bristol now and have finished my tea (likely to
be my last alcoholic drink for at least the next 12 hours).

Week 3 beckons like a Lycra clad temptress. Bring it on!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ultra Training - Week #1

I started my training programme for the Born to Run ultra this week and have to say it's been an excellent first week. 

There's still a long way to go but this week I have been able to increase my mileage (I ran 43.3 miles), have an extra rest day (that was 2 this week), and not have any aches, pains or niggles. 

Coming into this week I was a little nervous as I have recently had a couple of twinges, first my left hamstring and then my right quad/hip. Rest, stretching and foam rolling resolved both and put me in good enough shape to start the programme, but still I was nervous about starting. Nervous as I was desperate not to break down. 

The programme was, starting on Monday; rest, 4 miles, 6 miles, 4 miles, rest, 16 miles and then 6 miles.

As I run commute I made the effort to run the distance in totality in the morning, choosing the 2.4 mile run home as a recovery session. That was fine for the first three runs. The 16 mile was a little different. I ran 13 miles in the morning and then just short of 4 on the way home. Putting me at over the distance for the day but not in a single run. I'm not sure how significant this is at this stage and I did surprise myself on my run home averaging 7:15 miles having run a 1:41 half marathon that morning. One factor here might be that I took some amino acids.

I have blogged before about trying using SciMX Amino Fusion on long runs. You take 5 pills 45 minutes before and then another 5 immediately afterwards. They assist recovery. I've not used them in a while but really think that they worked here. I certainly had no fatigue in the legs on the run home at all. 

Week #2 looks very similar to week 1 with the difference being that the long run is 18 miles. I have a route in mind that's around 15 or so miles so will probably run that in the morning and then do the just short of 4 miles home. The other change in week 2 is that I will miss the last scheduled run as I am out with some old school mates in Bristol for a big night out.

I love my running but life has to go on.....