Hello and welcome back to RedWineRunner! Over the last couple of weeks my blog has been moving hosts and now is securely at its new home. Visually things look the same for now but I am busy teaching myself WordPress so that I can overhaul the look of the site and make it a little more unique. What’s new is that redwinerunner.com now also points to here which means I’m a little easier to find, particularly for international visitors. I’ve updated my race schedule for the year as well, so why not take a look and see if we’ll be running any of the same races in the months to come?
As of today, the 31st of January, there are now 86 days left until I set foot upon the start line of the Hoka Highland Fling Ultra on the 27th of April! The 53 mile race will be my second ultra and my longest race yet, and my big goal race for Spring 2013. On the way I will take my second attempt at the D33 ultramarathon in March and also the Paris Marathon at the start of April. Also featuring in training are the Forfar Multi-terrain Half Marathon this Sunday and a revisit to RunGarioch for their Half Marathon at the end of March.
I’m now a full month into my training plan and am gradually getting accustomed to the challenges of ultra training once more. This means surrendering your weekends to long runs and recovery, and fueling yourself carefully and consistently to make sure you’re working at your best. Oh, and sleep. Lots, and lots of sleep.
During the last month I have been focusing on getting three quality runs in at lunchtime during the week (partial success), strength training (success) and two long runs at the weekend (huge success!). I’ve been running an 8.5 mile route twice during the week and a 6 mile route for an ‘easy’ day. Most weeks this has been fine, but there have been one or two days in the last fortnight where the weather has just been too extreme to step out the door during the working day. I don’t mind running in a sideways sleet blizzard, as long as I don’t need to be presenting in an important meeting looking smart an hour later.
Strength training has continues to be Fitness Yoga classes on Mondays, with the addition of a plyometrics class beforehand. This has continued to aid my core strength and keep my leg muscles strong but loose. I have also been doing increasing amounts of press-ups each day – now we’re on the 31st of January it means I need to do 31 press-ups today – I plan on keeping this up as long as humanely possible as the effect it’s having on my arm and back strength and definition is incredible!
Three out of four Saturday long runs so far have been with a group from my club. We go out at 07:30am on a Saturday morning and I have covered 17, 22 and 20 miles on Saturdays in the last three weeks. The weather has given us certain challenges, but it’s been most enjoyable to be out running early in the morning with friends regardless of terrain or conditions underfoot.
17 miles with Kate, Naomi and Gina:
22 miles with a group of eight Stonehaven snow bunnies:
…and the ice bath which followed…
20 miles from Aberdeen – Banchory – Crathes with Vicky, Kate, Ian, John and Ritchie:
This run was the most challenging I’ve ever done I think. Running through the thick snow was like running through loose sand, but slippier. There were long sections where the path was completely iced over so our steps had to be gentle, and every step had to be considered carefully. My hip flexors really tightened up and I suffered with sore ankles the following day.
Each Saturday run has been followed up with 10 – 14 miles the next day. The first 4-5 have been tough but my legs loosen off soon enough. Ice baths and compression clothing on Saturday afternoons have been helping I think. On one occasion I ran to Portlethen with Kate and Gina and then Kynon graciously picked me up and we went to refuel at Yo! Sushi and I broke my personal record for most plates eaten:
I am still wearing road shoes, but have recently bought a pair of Inov-8 Flyroc 310 shoes which I am looking forward to trying this weekend. I’ve never worn trail shoes before so I will be interested to see how my feet respond to the different types of support.
The most challenging thing about this training so far has been dealing with the tiredness. My body has gone into shock after 3 weeks off over Christmas and I’ve just been completely ruined by Saturday night and needing to take plenty of naps and early nights. Thankfully my social life hasn’t exactly been hectic lately so I’ve been able to lay low, but that won’t last long with the onset of the 6 Nations! Long runs will be taking place in Edinburgh when we go down for the Scotland matches at Murrayfield, and I hope I’m in better shape than I have been so I can spend the afternoon on my feet yelling on the boys in blue.
During the first couple of weeks of this training cycle I felt extremely intimidated by the long back-to-backs to come – 20 and 18 miles, 24 and 20… From that point in time they seemed almost impossible to get my head around. I’ve reined in my fears however, and am just taking each week as it comes and tackling one run at a time. After all, it’s really no more complicated than starting at the start, and stopping when you’re done…right?!