As my training for the rather ominous sounding Ultra Marathon is ramping up I thought it was about time I provide an update. In fact I’m due a blog update full stop!
July alone saw me total up 263km in training, culminating last weekend when I banked my longest run yet – 50km (31miles)!
Yes it was tough, very tough. But to mimic what I’m aiming to do in the Ultra itself I didn’t run it all non-stop. I ran the first 25-30km and then alternated 5km runs with 5 minute walks. This allowed a small amount of recovery for my legs, kept my HR within a reasonable zone, and gave me a chance to eat. One thing I’ve learnt is that, whilst I’m not good at eating while running (is anyone?), I do need to take on board fuel – Malt Loaf and Jaffa Cakes reign supreme!
Before and after my 50km, I’m sure you can work out which is which!
If you follow me on Strava you will see that my runs of late have tended to get slower and longer. An Ultra Marathon is all about endurance and building that up is my aim.
Bar a calf strain a few weeks ago that gave me a week or so off with just some light cycling as my only exercise, training has broadly been going very well.
By and large I’ve stuck to my schedule, it doesn’t look like it from the amount of crosses and corrections to my wall chart but these distances were deliberately rounded up when I planned it so that if I wasn’t able to make a run it wouldn’t impact too much.
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Mapometer has become one of my best friends in planning almost every route that I do, the elevation feature is particularly handy in avoiding hills on my longer runs!
A lot of people have a skewed view of how much training for an Ultra can take over your life. Yes it does involve a lot of time, but with some careful planning it hasn’t impacted my family or social life too much. Short interval or hill sessions are very beneficial, and I’m fortunate enough to work near some scenic routes and off road trails that have allowed many a lunchtime run from the office to add some variety to my schedule.
Discovering local hills and off road routes
I even worked in some “doubles” by running to work in the morning and then running home again! Surprisingly only slightly longer than my usual commute time door to door.
Of course my longer runs do mean I can be out for hours at a time, but leaving early can mean I’m often back my lunchtime, or if we are going out somewhere I can leave a couple of hours early and run there to meet people. It’s all about planning!
I’m under no illusion that this challenge is going to be extremely difficult physically, but the mental side of it is what I am still struggling with. That 50km activity was a huge effort, yet that distance would only just about put me halfway on the actual day. HALFWAY!
Getting my head around doing that all again is something I am not yet sure about!
Granted on the day there will be more support, regular drinks stations, and hopefully even some company from other runners that are aiming for a similar pace to mine. I’m hoping all these little extras add up and pull me through!
The weather of late has been getting very warm. Planning water stops and spots to refill my bottles has become a key factor in determining routes after I got caught out in a long run up in Lincoln. The temperature was even warmer than forecast and with barely any shade over the whole route I virtually collapsed at the end with severe dehydration and on the verge of heatstroke. That is something you really want to avoid!
Goofing around with my head torch – a mandatory item for the Ultra
I’ll detail all my kit, food, drink and bag drop contents in another post nearer the race.
My current training total over the past 18 weeks now stands at over 750km, and with not that many more to go the butterflies are starting to appear when I think about race day.
Of course at the core of this, and making it hugely worthwhile, is the ability to raise money for a very deserving charity, Millie’s Trust.
You can read the full story and my reasons for choosing Millie’s Trust here and any donations that you are able to spare would be incredibly gratefully received on my Just Giving page.
All being well this weekend will see my training hit its peak and I’ll hopefully complete my longest run of 65km. Wish me luck!