Tag Archives: ultra training

Month 1 of Training: Rest is Best.

I felt good coming into January, off the back of a solid Marcothon, albeit a little weary. I didn’t realise when I went out for 5 miles on the 2nd January that it was the week I was supposed to be starting my training plan- luckily I had done the miles on the plan anyway so was up and running on the road to my goal race for 2017.

Running has been flowing nicely after the Marcothon, there’s been a lot more desire to get out there- with being fitter-and my comfortable pace and endurance are improving. My target has been 5 runs a week, with one hill session, and sometimes some speed work or a parkrun thrown in, but I’m more concerned about hillier runs than trying to run faster right now. I’m really pleased with my progress on my hilly runs, I’m feeling stronger week by week, and looking forward to getting out on some hilly trail runs over the coming months.

Most of my runs are at a very easy comfortable pace, which can fluctuate from day to day, dependent on how many runs into the week I am, my health, or if I trained legs at the gym the day before! The long runs have been increasing (up to 12 miles now), and I’ve been doing back to back long runs at the weekend. I find training on tired legs really beneficial for ultras, though it’s tough on that second day mentally and physically. Last week was my highest mileage week in a very long time, and it should have been followed by a bigger one this week but alas stomach flu has gripped me, I haven’t been this ill since I had something similar in university 6 years ago, so it’s really knocked me out.

I have cut my gym sessions down to three a week-push, pull, legs-though some weeks I’ve only made it twice. I’m certainly missing training so hard in the gym, but it’s just not wise or viable when I’m doing so much running. I have only gone to one yoga session this month, which I’m a bit disappointed with, but the dates just haven’t worked out this month and I keep forgetting to book in and it fills up as soon as the dates are available a week in advance. I’ve also been shoddy with foam rolling and stretching too, which is likely to come back to haunt me so I should probably address this!

The main issue I’m having to deal with this training cycle is my health, I know that I’m going to lose sessions along the way due to my period pain and related symptoms each month, and also that sessions before my period are likely to feel dreadful, so I just need to focus on hitting the sessions I can when I can, and not get too worried about it. The stomach virus at the end of this month has laid me out for an entire week, and seen me become one with my sofa. I’ve barely eaten all week, and where previously I may have dragged myself out for a run towards the end of the illness, here I just feel it’s better to get back to full health before returning to training. I’ve been embracing rest, and glad I built a spare week for this kind of eventuality into my plan, also hoping it doesn’t go on for much longer as I miss food! There would have been times previously where I would have really panicked about missing sessions, and entire weeks of training like this, but I feel much more chilled out about it this time around, need to look after the body for the long haul after all.

It’s not going to be easy to get out running again whenever that may be, I feel weak, like I’ve lost strength and have been knocked off my routine somewhat, I will just need to ease back into it gently and not stress too much if I don’t hit the ground running so to speak.

Training Month One

Week 1: 26m
Week 2: 26m
Week 3: 37m
Week 4: Glued to the sofa watching the tennis (stomach flu).

 

Building the base

I haven’t updated here in ages, I wasn’t sure whether to let the blog go, as I am currently in the process of setting up a site for my nutritional therapy business and planning on a much more nutrition focused blog over there. I haven’t felt like writing here for a while, I think perhaps I’ll keep this blog and just focus on my training (when there is any), without any pressure to blog to a schedule or hammer out a certain amount of content per week.

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I haven’t run a race since the SDW50 last April, which feels kind of insane to me. I’ve been through a few years of  signing up for and running a lot of races, so last year was definitely on the sparse side. I have a few dates in the diary for some ‘training’ races in Feb/March so I’m looking forward to being part of that race environment again. I do miss the feeling of race day, and even pre-race day excitement, and I’m going to be properly nervous come end of Feb when it’s time for my first race in around 10 months.

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I worked pretty hard through December on my running. I completed my third Advent Running challenge and fourth Marcothon, and achieved my goal of starting Jan with a solid base of training behind me. I started December running wise at somewhat of a low ebb, I had spent the previous 8 months falling in love with strength training again and running just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I think the love waned and as my cardiovascular fitness also took a nosedive, it became really difficult for me to want to get out and run. It was hard, so I wasn’t enjoying it, and I wasn’t willing to put the work in at the time to improve the situation. I felt like a beginner again, and it’s easy when you are regularly running higher mileage and longer runs to forget exactly how hard it can be to get out the door sometimes.

December streaking has been amazing for me for rediscovering my running love and improving my fitness. I ended December having run more miles than the previous 3 months combined, I felt fitness and running strength come back and day by day running became easier, breathing became easier, and just putting my trainers on and getting out the door became easier, I had found my running mojo again, I just had to put some work in to locate it.

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January has seen me following a training plan (currently on week 3) for the first time since April, it’s nice to add some loose structure to my running and it does force you to get out there whatever the weather may be. I still have motivation highs and lows, but I know that every session I put in, I’m getting stronger, I’m building the foundations for the next few months and I’m going to be increasing likely to want to get out there next time. It’s all about keeping on with routine and keeping the momentum going.

I’m still trying to maintain some strength work, and trying to get to the gym for 3 sessions a week (has dropped to two lately though), as well as following Kinetic Revolutions 30 day program which I just completed and will be repeating for some pre-hab.

2017 so far: The mileage is increasing, the hill-work is increasing, the endurance is increasing and most importantly the running love is increasing. Time to continue building the base.

 

February Round Up

Well I haven’t managed a single post since my January recap oops! Life got busy with a big Nutrition exam this week and I’ve been racking up the miles, leaving no energy or motivation to blog.

Running

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On the whole February was a great month, however the last 1/3 of the month was blighted by a blister (on top of another blister) which I stupidly continued to run on despite it being incredibly swollen, and intensely painful- if it had been pain anywhere else I would have rested, but I kept thinking it was ‘only’ a blister. In the end I wasn’t able to walk on it, and had to drain it 4 times, sorry grim. I finally had to go to a walk in GP in Newcastle as I was in so much pain and got put on antibiotics for a week, and told not to run for a few weeks- not ideal. As well as being in pain from the blister, the antibiotics have wiped me out and ruined my gut health too, despite my taking probiotics- boo.

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Onto brighter things though, Feb saw me do 2 parkruns: one at Hilly Fields as part of a long run, and a bit of parkrun tourism at Newcastle parkrun which was a bloody lovely course- unfortunately this run was the final straw for the blister. There was a lot of long runs: a 22 miler, an alternative London marathon- my course was way better too!- and a double day which totted up to 28 miles, as well as longer back to back runs on days before or after these. There was also plenty of hills, and lots of river running. Feb has seen a few 50+ mile weeks, so the miles really are racking up. I’m super frustrated about the blister as I’d managed somehow to keep myself injury free for this entire training period, to be taken out by a blister seems a bit lame!

Gym
I don’t have much to say here, other than I’ve not been going very much at all. I can probably count the times I’ve been in 2016 on two hands, it’s sadly that few. Some weeks I haven’t managed to get there at all, others it’s been once a week which is better than nothing I guess. I feel like I really need to make sure I get there at least twice a week, as strength training has been my injury prevention. Unfortunately there hasn’t been enough hours in a day this month, and the gym was the thing that got dropped. I think I’ve come to realise that it’s physically impossible to do everything, I’m really missing proper strength training though, and looking forward to getting back into it again after the ultra.

Food
I felt a bit off track at the beginning of the month, just lacking a lot of variety and nutrient density day to day, but I managed to turn that around, and I’ve felt like I’ve been really listening to my body and nourishing it well with the increased miles. My appetite can be a bit all over the place with running, so I just try to go with the flow, and if I’m hungry then I’ll eat- despite the fact I may have already had two breakfasts that morning! I’ve started to do some of my longer runs without having breakfast, which is something I’ve never done before, but I just can’t face waking up two hours before a run to eat something, it just takes up too much time in the day when I could be out running. I grab some dates/raisins as I’m leaving, then I snack through the long run- nakd bars, chia gels, other snack bars, cashews. It’s actually worked out quite well, I don’t feel horrible after the run and I have much less GI problems on the run too. I think my body is becoming less and less reliant on needing fuel before and during the run, which has been an adaptation as I seemed to need a lot more when I first started out.

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Feb Goals
I did horribly on these, my sleep has been atrocious, there were weeks when I wasn’t getting much more than 5 hours a night, again as I couldn’t fit everything in this was sacrificed- not a good thing to sacrifice either, as it’s vital recovery time I missed out on. I haven’t really been doing much yoga, although I try and fit in some short JasYoga videos every few days even if it’s only 5 minutes. Meditation has been great- I’ve taken it up again for Lent, and I think there has only been 1-2 days I have missed- I’m only doing 5-10 mins mostly before bed, and I would like to move this to earlier in the day. Green Smoothies have made a return, I’ve been having quite a lot of smoothies this month and happy to have them back in my routine. Savoury snacking has not really happened, I’ve decided I have a massive snack bar addiction, and I just.cant.stop.

March Goals
Meditate in the mornings
Heal this sodding blister
Gym twice a week
Blog once a week

What’s next?

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It’s been two weeks since Berlin and I’ve now had time to reflect on the race, and I guess my running year as a whole. In some ways it doesn’t feel like I’ve just gone through another marathon training period due to my enforced lack of training. This is nice in a way as I’m not fed up with running at this point, but in another way I actually really missed doing those long training runs!

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Berlin was not a race I really had on the agenda for this year, with the main focus the Ultra and Manchester marathon earlier in the year. Had I not got into the ballot, I don’t think I would have been rushing up to sign up for another autumn marathon. I am now realising that 3 marathons and an ultra within a 6 month period is pretty tough on the body, and mine has broken down several times throughout this year which reflects that.

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That’s not to say I wouldn’t consider doing the same again, I’ve learnt a lot from all the different races, and up and down training periods, and injuries to deal with. If anything it has taught me to focus more on run specific strength training, as well as my pre/post run routine. It’s something I’ve always just taken for granted, but I realise now-especially with all the longer distance stuff-I can’t really afford to mess about, and keep avoiding these things. I’ve also come to realise that I can’t follow tough training programs like the Fat Burn Revolution, or Insanity alongside marathon training, and I’d say doing so was largely to blame for my injuries too. Trying to cram in too much causes my body to break down, and I end up knackered all of the time as well. I will be looking to try and fit in programs like this during the time I am not training for long distance races to build some strength, and then focus on running and more run specific strength stuff during race training.

The body has recovered OK since Berlin, I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, given I hadn’t run over 13 miles for months, and my training had been all over the place. My ITB has actually been pretty good, it’s the rest of my body and mind that have been struggling post race. Some days I’ve been suffering with ridiculous fatigue, I think it’s a combination of all the stuff we have had going on lately with the move etc, plus pushing my body to somewhere it wasn’t really trained to go! Some days are better than others, but some I can’t even haul myself up the stairs, I guess it’s normal to feel tired post marathon and it does seem to be easing as the days go by.

I don’t know what’s next, I feel like I want to continue the long distance stuff, but be a bit more sensible about it. The injuries this year and time out have made me realise how much I love running and that I need to do everything I can to minimize injury risk and look after my body so I can continue to do it!

There are two races I really want to do next year, but they are both around the same time, so I think I will have to choose between the two. I didn’t get into London, so I am still debating whether I want to do a spring marathon and probably won’t decide until early next year after taking a few months off of proper training.Muddy trail shoes

I am hoping to do a few of the trailscape events including the half in Essex this weekend. After 3 trail races this year I realise it’s absolutely where my heart lies with running, and is something I want to do more of. After that I have the Brighton half in Feb, and I would really like to train properly for that as I haven’t trained for a half since I dipped under 2 hours at Cardiff last year, and would like to have a crack at beating that again.

What events do you have lined up?

Ultra Training Week 18

Less than 2 weeks to go now until Ultra D-day! This week has been a massive confidence boost training wise and I’m now ready to taper and head into the big day feeling fresh!

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Mon: Milton Keynes Marathon + 3 mile Walk
Tues: Upper Body Weights + 1.5 mile Walk
Weds: 4 mile Run + 4 mile Walk
Thurs: Total Body Blast Circuits + 3.6 mile Walk
Fri: 6 mile Run + 3.6 mile Walk
Sat: 3.5 mile Run + We own the Night 10k + 6 mile Walk
Sun: 8 mile Run + Lower Body Weights

Just writing that out, I realised I didn’t actually take a rest day last week, oops! The body has been feeling pretty good, especially after the marathon, I feel like I am recovering really quickly right now, highlighted by the fact that I didn’t even realise I hadn’t taken a rest day.

This week at 54 miles stands at my highest mileage week during the training cycle, I would have liked a few more weeks around that, but the injury put me way behind schedule.

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This week saw me racing twice, and somewhat unexpectedly setting two new PB’s at MK Marathon and We Own the Night. After that I’m in a sort of triumphant, nothing can stop me, happy running zone- I just need to ride that wave all the way to the ultra now. After all the injury problems in Feb/March I’m so glad to be back feeling strong.

Credit to Mary

Credit to Mary

This week was my final week of Phase 1 of the Fat Burn Revolution, I’ve really enjoyed this phase, although after 4 weeks I’m looking forward to some new workouts. I get bored very easily, so like to change things up quite frequently. I’ve noticed a big difference strength wise over the course of the month, and I’m sure that’s helped massively with my running too, I’ll have a more in depth post on it up soon.

Outside of racing, I’ve got in some shake out/recovery jogs, and have just been taking it pretty easy during these runs. The weather has been shocking this week, so I’ve got drenched a few times, as well as felt like I was moving sideways rather than going forwards due to the wind during a few runs. My hay-fever has also been atrocious again, making me feel completely exhausted on some days this week, such a horrible feeling.

The 8 miler I did yesterday was barely 12 hours after the 10 miler on Saturday evening, I felt pretty good and I went fasted on a longer run for the first time, so I was starving when I finished. I think the hardest part about the fasted runs is just getting myself out the door. I’m so used to eating something pre workout it’s a hard habit to break, especially as I don’t eat late at night so usually wake up reasonably hungry. I’m sure it will just take time to get used to.

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I’ve continued with my physio exercises and stretches daily- it’s just become part of my routine now, as has legs up the wall! I’ve also been walking loads this week which has helped with recovery. My new job is just under 2 miles walk from my house so I’ve been walking there and back most days. We also did a lot of walking in Greenwich on Saturday as we were viewing a load of houses. We’ve made an offer for one, so fingers crossed!!

This week my plan has dropped the runs from 5 to 3 which will be a bit of a weird shock to the system. Let the taper begin!