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Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

The week in running (to 10 April '16)

Fourth and final peak week done – survived – and still intact. Just about. The tiredness is definitely building a bit, but with cut back and taper time in sight, it’s mentally much easier to have a final push. 

It was the last of the BAC marathon sessions on Wednesday night – a mere 80 minutes of efforts to go at! The weather (well, wind) is always a pretty key factor for our out and back efforts on the Bournemouth prom, so it was pretty unfortunate that we had a 25mph westerly to run straight into for 50% of the time. Character building for sure, but also very rewarding when it comes to getting it done, and perhaps even more beneficial. Resistance running?! My legs were still a little weary from Taunton, but all things considered I was pleased to be running, on average, at what would be my marathon pace. Well if I ever actually got round to doing one properly.

My other key runs were then at the weekend, loading up as usual, with a 31miler around the north Dorset hills on Saturday morning and then 13miles at a brisk ish pace on Sunday morning.

The north Dorset countryside was as lovely as usual, if a little muddy in places. After rain overnight there was a beautiful sun rise, and nice warm sunshine for the first half. Then I got nailed in a hail storm, but with the westerly wind then behind me, and a warm car on the horizon, it wasn't so bad.

Sunday was a mega fatigue moment, but all about trying to force the legs back into life with some brisker road running after a fairly big run on the trails.

As always, my focus has just been on staying healthy, getting something close to the right amount of sleep, and not working too much. Life, hey. Next weekend’s London Marathon should provide a welcome distraction during my taper, watching all my BAC club mates smash it out on the streets of the big smoke. It's been fun training alongside them for much of the year, but then we peel off in different directions at this point. 

The spring is a great time of year for running for so many different reasons, but the London-vibe always ups the interest amongst the public even more, so it’s going to be a great few weeks.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

The week in running (to 03 April '16)

As usual the week started with a lingering sense of fatigue after a big weekend, but ended on a real high with a strong run at the Taunton Marathon on Sunday – more on that later. Even after 12 years training for and running ultras, I’m still amazed by the body’s ability to recover - to feel exhausted one day, and surprisingly sprightly the next. Even if it doesn’t always happen, clutching on to that thought is often enough to get yourself out the door, which isn't a bad thing. Due to work commitments I do have to ‘cram’ a little at the weekends, and the earlier part of the week tends to be more about recovery than anything else, with the week mentally kicking off properly on Wednesday.

At the start of the week I was struggling to get my head round the idea of another big marathon session on Wednesday night, let along a marathon race effort on Sunday. Eeeekk. The first effort on Wednesday wasn’t anything special, but I got stronger as the session went on, and felt the best I have done for quite some time towards the end. Nice. Maybe all this training malarkey is starting to pay off. We did a total of 71 minutes of efforts in decreasing durations from 24 minutes, and rather enjoyed it, particularly with the better light after the clocks change, and not too much wind – certainly a novelty for the Wednesday night gang….

I decided to slot in a parkrun ‘sandwich’ session on Saturday morning, running down to Blandford parkrun from home, a hard 5km park run effort, and then a run home again (15miles total). 17:33 wasn’t too bad given it’s not the quickest of courses and my legs felt heavy.

The big finale for the week was then the Taunton Marathon on Sunday which I was targeting as a long tempo effort as part of my build up to the Fling. My aim was to run 6.30m/m pace to hit about 2hrs 50mins, but ended up averaging 6.19m/m pace to finish in 2hrs 46mins, 30 seconds behind BAC team mate Toby Chapman. We ran side by side for 25miles before he showed his youth and pushed on at the end to take a deserved win in his home town – a really strong performance which bodes well for a quicker PB attempt at the London Marathon in a couple of weeks time.

Most importantly, it felt like a controlled effort, and I wasn’t completely destroyed at the end, so it did feel like a positive milestone in my training. So one last marathon training session on Wednesday and a long run at the weekend to complete, probably as part of a 100ish mile week like the last few, then I’ll start to think about gradually winding down towards race day. On we march.