So I signed up for an ultra. It’ll be fun, like a tour with some food and a chat. It’s months away, ages of time to train for it. It’s next month, 4 weeks and 4 days to be more exact. Where did the time go? When was I going to train? Have I even trained enough. As a runner you always battle with mind and body. Most of the time you don’t feel you have trained enough or with as much intensity as you’d like. The truth is that you’ve done as much as you’d expect but not as much as planned. January and February have been great in opposite ways for me. Lots of miles, mud and hills. One section of the ultra recced and 20 miles in a single day. Can’t really say a single run as minor breaks for a Parkrun in between. Each week I’ve looked to increase small elements. First it was dropping the bike for one day and then no bike. Friday also remaining as rest day and adding miles where possible. I hope I’ve given legs lots of practice on running tired. It’s been a strange time as I have only been looking at miles or elevation. No race has been for my pace. The day after my first 20 miles I completed the beast run. A gorgeous 10k route organised by a local club. I wasn’t expecting much as legs were feeling the day before and nearly 1300ft of climbing is never easy, but managed a decent 6th and a time of 47:13. I’ve gained confidence from putting those 2 runs back to back, I can see I’m stronger than before this journey started and maybe faster. Training has continued with minor tweaks. 800’s are now 900’s and k’s 1100’s. Recoveries the same and the push is hard but rewarding. Often Thursday is my 6th day in a row so it’s tough to get them done but always pleasing that I could that late into the running week.
After a break of 8 days with no running for a trip to New York, March is the business time ready for the ultra. Eased myself back in to training 6×1200 😳 with no sense and ended with dehydration and cramp. Not the best start, but knew in my head I would be ok. I just needed to rehydrate. Pleasing to keep them around 4:20 after the break and cramp. I did a test run after a day’s rest and 7 miles went ok. Charity football match the following day woke up all the dormant muscles from footie and left me struggling through Monday’s session and long warm up/cool down. Tuesday was double day, 6 miles in and then 6 miles home. Probably the toughest two runs ive done for a long time, groin was not happy and I wanted chicken. Another rest day today all ready for my planned tough sequence. I’ve tried to listen to as many people as possible about there tips and training for an ultra and the mention of a heavy 3 day sequence is repeated by most. So this week is mine. Last max heavy week before races commence and easing down starts. Friday 10 mile run home, Saturday 20 including Parkrun, Sunday 15. Monday training as normal. Tuesday double day 1 2×6, Wednesday double day 2 2×6 and finally Thursday training. Friday as always will be a rest day. This should either fill me with fatigue and confidence or fatigue and dread. Either way, miles will be in legs and I will be as ready as I can be. I know this month will be tough, but it’s needed if I’m going to put in an effort I can be proud of. I plan to race the 2 weekends prior to the ultra but at a set pace. San Dom 20, two weeks prior will be my 3rd time at that distance and my first race that far, sub 2:40 the target. I’ve no idea if that’s in there, but only one to find out. Cardiff world Half the following week and I may have a crack at 1:31:42 again, but will have to see how fresh I feel as its 6 days before the ultra. It may just be an expensive training run. When it all seems a bit daunting you need to increase the excitement, so 3 pairs of new trainers and some new jackets and I’m bursting to get out there. This is one exciting but scary month of discovery.