Tag Archives: ultra training

Ultra Training Month 3: Going Long

February was a really solid training month for me, and this thankfully continued into March. My mileage has been hitting near it’s peak for the training plan and the long runs and back to back long runs have been getting longer.
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I started the third month of training with a drop week, where I lowered my mileage from 50+ down to 30ish for the week. I like to do this after every 3 weeks of harder training, as I just find it most effective for recovery and progress, and not burning out.

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The last 3 weeks have all been big mileage weeks. I’ve been getting in a hill session each week, and will continue to increase these and try and do some sessions on steps in the run up to the race. I’ve also tried to run off road as much as possible although I know it’s not really equivalent to running on the NDW.

I had a really good 12 mile run during week 10 of training but unfortunately that week ended badly with me having to drop out of the Thames Meander Marathon after 17m due to severe period pains. Thankfully it didn’t affect my training too much other than the race and a shorter run the day after, and I still managed to hit my mileage goal for the week.

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I had a really good 24m run in week 11 of training, with a parkrun at Mile End during the run. I haven’t done that parkrun before, and it was a lovely route, albeit undulating. That run was a massive confidence booster, I felt really strong, and comfortable throughout, and didn’t feel too bad later on, or the next day when I ran the Salomon Richmond half and was only 18s off my PB.

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I think that week probably took quite a bit out of my body and it has taken a while to recover from it, which explains the fatigue in week 12. I spent most of week 12 in Amsterdam, but managed to get all my training in, I had two lovely 5m runs in the Vondelpark, and a beautiful 15m run along the river Amstel which I am quite amazed I managed to navigate without getting lost. I just followed the river once I found it, it was a lovely route, and so peaceful.

Last Sunday I did my longest run of training yet at 27m, and it couldn’t have felt more different to the 24m the week before. I had flown back really early from Amsterdam that morning, and lacking sleep due to the clock change and time difference, I was pretty tired from the off. I also set off much later than usual, and it was 17 degrees in Cardiff which was unusual. After about 4 miles I was really struggling with heavy legs, and just nothing in the tank physically or mentally- I knew this run was really important in terms of going through these feelings and emotions for race day, so I just pushed on, shuffling with one foot in front of the other. I felt battered by the end, incredibly sore and drained. It was great to get the mileage in, but it was confidence knocking for it to be feel as bad as that. Thankfully it’s another drop week this week, so time to recoup and recover, ready for the last push.

I’ve been struggling for the last week with incredibly bad hayfever which I think played a role in the terrible run too. I get really bad fatigue, headaches and chest tightness during hayfever season, and these symptoms coincided with running out of Reishi mushroom capsules over the last week, which I had been taking for a few weeks- time to restock!

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I need to really nail my nutrition for the next 6-7 weeks, because I basically ate/drank everything that Amsterdam had to offer, and I need to tighten this up, to focus on maximising recovery and getting the most out of my training too.

I’ve continued with my three gym sessions a week, and I’m still training pretty hard in the gym. I did drop my leg session on the week of the marathon, but other than that, I’ve kept going in the gym and will continue until the taper. I did get to a yoga class finally too, and I am hoping to keep going this month, it’s just the thing that gets dropped when I’m struggling to fit everything else in. I’ve continue with my rolling/strength/stretching a couple of times a week, and fingers crossed that is working for now. Hoping the drop week recharges me, and ready to hit some big mileage in the coming weeks.

Week 9: 32m
Week 10: 56m
Week 11: 53m
Week 12: 58m

Training Month 2: Building the Mileage

January ended with me missing a whole week of training due to stomach flu, I spent the week on the sofa, binging on netflix, and recovering. I knew it wouldn’t be easy getting back to running, and it would take me a while to recover, so February was all about getting back on track and upping my mileage and long runs.

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I feel like overall February has been a good month of training, my mileage has been 40-50+ miles each week, there’s been a few sessions, and my first race in almost a year at the Maverick race Sussex (post coming on this). I’ve been trying to get some hill sessions in each week, and hitting the trails in Sussex was really invaluable, as no matter how hard you try, you really can’t train for that in London. The back to back long slow runs have been increasing, currently up to 22 and 15 miles now, and they only continue to increase from here.

I’m really tired going into March, and this nicely coincides with a drop week this week, where I will be lowering my mileage and trying to give my legs a break. I like to do this after every 3 bigger weeks of training, but due to the race this weekend I had to postpone the recovery week by a week, and I think that’s why I feel it’s overdue.

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I feel like a lot of my runs this month have sucked, I’ve felt like I’ve not been able to get my legs going on a lot of runs, they’ve been unusually heavy, and I’ve felt I’ve been unable to turn them over any quicker. The first week back after stomach flu, I was really struggling with fatigue and my energy levels, I think I was just so depleted after that week plus I always struggle with fatigue the week before my period, so it was a bad combo, and I took some time to recover properly, this last week they have started to feel much better though.

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My nutrition has been horrible this month, after my week of eating pretty much nothing while out with stomach flu, I’ve just been absolutely ravenous. It’s like my body was so starved and depleted, it just wanted all of the foods, all of the time. Which was fine for a week or so, but it has continued the whole month- coinciding with PMS and higher mileage weeks, I’ve just been living in a constant state of hunger and grazing. I need to pay more attention to my eating post exercise, and focus on increasing nutrient density, not just what’s quick and easy to grab. Definitely room to work on this for March.

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Unintentional Colour Co-ordination…

I’ve felt really good in the gym, and have continued with 3 sessions a week, I’m trying to tweak when I do my leg session and what I do in that session, to ensure it’s not affecting my running too much, as I think the heavy legged, sluggishness is partly related to training legs hard each week. I didn’t get to yoga at all this month, I just never remember to book it, and it fills up almost immediately when the sessions go online, something to work on for March. I have however been getting back into a strict habit of rolling, stretching and doing specific prevention/rehab exercises as my ITB was bothering me a bit in the middle of the month. I’d say I’m doing 30 minutes of that routine 4-5 evenings a week, and it has made a big difference, and the pain has gone away for now. I’m looking forward to a drop week now, before 2 races this month and some big mileage ahead.

Training Month Two
Week 5: 42m
Week 6: 46m
Week 7: 43m
Week 8: 53m

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