Tuesday, 22 January 2013

It's all about the West highland Way Race

I started to write a post reviewing last years running, but as I was falling asleep whilst I was writing it, I decided to spare everyone else that particular tedium.
Take 2, 2013 goals would have been a short post as it’s all about the West Highland Way race really.
Take 3, deep soul searching reflections on last year, life, the universe and everything, nope lost the will to live on that one too.
Take 4, New Year’s resolutions! Trying not to do as much travelling and nights away, since my first full week back at work saw 4 nights away and 975 miles of driving that was a full on fail.

So here goes I'm just going to witter on about running in general for a bit. Having said it’s all about the WHW race I've already signed up for quite a few races, namely

Highland Fling
West Highland Way Race
Devil o the Highlands
Loch Ness Marathon

I joined in the Marcothon in December, to keep up my mileage, but in truth by the time I got to day 21 I was just grinding the miles out, not enjoying it at all and certainly feeling there was no quality in any of my runs. We'd booked a family skiing holiday over Xmas and when we arrived in La Plagne on December 22nd to find 2 metres of snow outside and a dead hotel treadmill inside, I was actually quite glad. To those that were on the Marcothon Facebook page, thanks for some great banter and apologies for some of the execrable poems I posted and well done to everyone who both participated in and completed the challenge.

I had a great time skiing, although I'm not sure if the rest of the family shared my enthusiasm I suspect they'd have preferred a "traditional" stay at home Christmas. I returned home exhilarated but exhausted and was hardly able to move for 3 days and was straight back to work on January 2nd so holiday over it was right back into the routine.

Whilst the internet abounds with marathon training plans there is a distinct lack of plans for a 95 mile race so I confess I was at a bit of a loss until I came across George Reid's D33 training plan. I've adopted George's suggestions for back to back weekend runs building to 33 miles and am aiming for 3 midweek runs totalling another 25ish miles. Weeks 1 & 2 I've managed to stick with this, logging 55 miles each week, week 3 will fall slightly short as work intervened, week 4 should be back on track as we've got the WHW training weekend at The Oak Tree at Balmaha on Saturday 26th. I'm really looking forward to this weekend, a whole hotel filled with ultra-runners!

 Whilst I'm pretty chuffed with my mileage, these pale into insignificance with Andy B' 76 mile weekly average, but he is 10 years younger than me and he's training for MDS! I have however followed Andy's lead in forswearing alcohol for the next six months (although I'm allowing myself 2 days off this pledge after the WHW training run and after The Fling), yes I know it's cheating but I have to be realistic!

I've listened to all John Kynaston's WHW podcasts as well as Marathon Talk and Talk Ultra, and if I've drawn one consistent conclusion it's that there is no "Magic Bullet" for Ultra training. It's pretty much all about putting in the training miles consistently and then not cocking it up on the day by either a-  going off too fast or b- failing to feed and hydrate.

So it's not about the shoes, the backpack, the latest fad diet, the latest trendy training session, or the  compression gear it's (mainly) about putting in the miles beforehand.

I'm now going to contradict myself by saying we tried a different training session at last night’s club run, and did 6 short full on hill sprints mid-way through a 13 mile run. I really enjoyed it, despite the fact it was a steep hill (Suspension Brae for the Doonhamers) it was a proper all-out effort and it seemed to use completely different muscles, definitely one I'll do again.

I think that's enough rambling for now, I'll keep you posted on the WHW training weekend; let’s hope the weather is slightly kinder to us than last year’s event.



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