The highlight of last week had to be a long day out with Mr Giles on the Brecon Beacons on Good Friday. It's been a while since we've done a hill blitz - we used to make regular trips to the Shropshire Hills and Snowdonia as former fellow midland-ers. We picked the date fairly randomly a good couple of months ago, and for once the weather gods were more than kind, providing a beautifully clear and sunny spring day – the best of the year so far.
We ran one of the ‘Might Contain Nuts’ race routes (just to give us a bit of structure on a well planned route) heading out from Talybont-on-Usk over Tor r Foel, Graig Fan Ddu, Bwlch Duwynt, Fan Frynych, Corn Du, Pen y Fan, Cribyn, Fan y Big, Craig Cwareli and Craig y Fan before returning to Talybont. On paper there were some rather tortuous loops involving a full descent off the hill, before heading back up again – but on the ground it made more sense and was all rather pleasant. The visibility was excellent throughout providing lovely views and the opportunity to get to know an area that I’ve spent relatively little time exploring, despite being the closest set of decent hills to where I live. I came away vowing to make regular trips over the summer when I’m specifically preparing for some mountain races.
|A token snow patch.|
|Getting propped up on the last summit.|
|Gilsey descending towards Talybont Reservoir|
We weren’t out to break any records, just get some good hills into the legs which the 3,000m of ascent/ descent over 40 miles ably did. It’s a tricky balance mixing marathon speedwork with hill strength, both seeming to pull in opposite directions, but hopefully it will have the desired effect when it comes to overall race fitness for the end of April.
Earlier in the week I had a solid marathon session on Wednesday night, finding a bit of speed despite lingering tiredness from the New Forest 50km race effort on Saturday. The session was 25min, 5 x 4min, 25min – as vicious as it sounds! It was all good apart from the last 10mins when my legs were, errr, battered.
And the week was nicely capped off with a 23mile run with Gem on Sunday morning as part of her marathon training. I was on pacing duty, aiming for 7.45m/m pace on average, but we ended up with 7.29m/m which she was more than pleased with. It wasn’t the flattest of routes, and we were nailed by a monster driving hail storm towards the end, so not bad all things considered. I probably wouldn’t have run quite so far on my own, and she wouldn’t have run quite so briskly on her own, so mutually beneficial. Nice.
So another 100mile week in the bag, and another decent step forwards with fitness working towards the Fling. More of the same please.