Wednesday, 31 August 2011

crash training (day 5)

7.05am ... stretching

8.30am ... about 12.5 miles steady

1.40pm ... cycling

2.40pm ... strength work (upper body & legs)

6.25pm ... stretching

7.10pm ... 6 miles tempo.  Glad to say I completed that on schedule in 41:30

Also glad to report that my overall running pace doesn't appear to have dropped at all during the course of the week.  This morning's steady run was no slower than expected (actually it was a minute quicker).

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

crash training (day 4)

7.05am ... stretching

8.25am ... just over 17 miles (incorporating 10 x 30s fast with 60s recovery)

2.50pm ... strength work (core and legs)

6.05pm ... stretching

7.25pm ... about 10k mainly off road with Otley AC.  Hilly, and a bit quick at times, but it was good to run with a group for a change.

Monday, 29 August 2011

crash training (day 3)

8.05am ... stretching

8.45am ... long run - 25 miles - last one before the Commonwealth Championships.  Felt good even though the weather was still windy (and cold this morning).

3.45pm ... strength work (upper body)

8.05pm ... stretching

Having For Goodness Shakes drinks to aid recovery between sessions is definitely helping (and so is the compression clothing I seem to be wearing almost continually at the moment !!!)

Sunday, 28 August 2011

crash training (day 2)

8.30am ... stretching

10.05am ... just over 27 miles - fartlek.  Another good run but it was very hard work with strong winds, hills and showers.

3.35pm ... strength work (core)

6.35pm ... stretching

7.05pm ... cycling

Feeling good and not unduly tired yet.  Looking forward to tomorrow and hopefully better weather [it is August !!!]

Saturday, 27 August 2011

crash training (day 1)

7.35am ... just over 25 miles including a 5k race in Lister Park, Bradford.  I completed the race in 19:48 and finished 5th out of 82.  Pleased with that as it was an improvement of over a minute in three months.

2.05pm ... stretching

6.00pm ... just over four miles at a reasonable pace (7:30 per mile)

7.20pm ... stretching

A good day which included a very good 25 miles.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

another good week

On Monday I went for another long run in the afternoon.  Fartlek style again but this time the fast sections were 7:40 in length with 3:55 recovery.  In total I ran 26 miles in about 3h 25

No running (or any other training) on Tuesday but I spent the day relaxing and buying kit, food, drink, etc needed for next month's Commonwealth Championships.

Wednesday morning was a straight forward long run of 28.6 miles using a section of the Leeds Liverpool Canal between Shipley and Kirkstall.  Completed in about 4 hours.

This morning was a 7 mile tempo run along the route of the Otley 10.  Completed in 48:54 - a bit slower per mile than recent tempo runs but I'm happy with that because morning runs do tend to be slightly slower than afternoon runs and I did run 28.6 miles less than 24 hours earlier.

Also cycled yesterday and today and did some strength work and stretching every day.  No running tomorrow - resting before a week of crash training.  In general I won't be able to post much but I will try to provide daily details of exactly what I've been doing.  It all begins with a 5k race on Saturday morning - and does now include a 3k race on Thursday because the scouts meeting has been postponed.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

possible changes

Just a brief post to explain that there are a couple of POSSIBLE changes to my racing plans for the remainder of the year.

On Thursday 1 September I was hoping to take part in my club's annual 3000m track race which, this year, is on the new track in Keighley.  However ... yesterday an important meeting was called by the local Group Scout Leader to take place on the same evening.  Perhaps I can get out of it but being the chairman maybe not ...

In December I was looking to take part in the Barcelona 24 hour race but this is looking increasingly unlikely.  Keir is due to start university in 2012 and at the moment is in the process of applying for courses, visiting universities, going for interviews, etc.  One such visit, to Rome, coincides with the Barcelona race and requires him and me to be there for a couple of days.  I am trying to get it rearranged but I don't hold out much hope.

I'll keep you all informed though.

Friday, 19 August 2011

good news all round

After a day free from running yesterday (lots of strength work and cycling though) I got back outside this afternoon for a tempo run of eight miles.  A fraction shorter than my last tempo run but with the Commonwealth Championships only five weeks away now I've got to start being a bit careful.  Most of the hard work has already been done.

Anyway today's run was again on the route of the Otley 10 because of the useful mile markers around the course and, despite the breezy conditions, I finished in a pleasing 56:10

As per my training earlier this week I feel doubly pleased about this because it felt quite easy really ... I had plenty in reserve.

Finally, congratulations to US ultra distance runner Dan Rose and his wife Lizzy on the announcement of an addition to their family next winter.  I know he's sensibly decided to take a sabbatical from racing for the next couple of years (?) but I guess he'll be back when he feels he can spare the time from parental duties.  All the best Dan, I hope our paths cross again.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

I feel good this evening

On Monday afternoon I went for a long run - fartlek style.  A hilly 25 mile route with the usual fast bursts at 10k pace.  Total time 3h 06.  Excellent.

This morning, ie with less than 14 hours recovery, I went for another long run.  Hilly again but without the fartlek [come on ... there are limits ...] the 27.5 miles took 3h 53 and it seemed easy.  Even running up Hollins Hill after 22 miles was not difficult at all.  Overall I'm surprised how strong I felt during the final third of the run ... right to the finish too.

A simple 12.5 miler tomorrow.

Feeling very confident at the moment.

I hope Chris Finill and Stephen Pope are too because tomorrow they begin their epic journey running across America.  I wish them all the best.  You can keep up to date with their progress on their website and blog at

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Not Much To Report

OK I know I haven't posted for a while but training and family stuff has been a bit of a priority this week.

After a relatively easy week (see previous post) I went straight back to normal training with 9 miles steady on Saturday, 12 x 100m on Sunday, 24 miles fartlek on Tuesday, 26+ miles on Wednesday, 9 miles on Thursday and 18 hill reps on Friday.  Not forgetting the strength work, cycling and stretching of course.

Tuesday afternoon's fartlek was basically from Otley to Silsden and back via Ilkley and Addingham.  Far from flat and after a suitable warm up it was basically 12 x 7:10 at 10k pace with 3:50 recovery.  The total time was a very pleasing 3h 15.

Wednesday morning's long run was a two lapped route taking in Ilkley and Askwith - again not flat .  A good 26 miles though.  The heavy rain made it somewhat less than enjoyable and I somehow managed to arrive home with a badly scratched right arm.

The hill reps up and down Newall Carr Bank seemed very easy, no doubt due to my increasing fitness.  Pleased with that.

Training for the next two weeks will be very similar but with a couple of tempo runs included (8 miles and 7 miles).  And also an increase in the number of hill reps and 100m reps (20 of each).

After that it's the crash training week mentioned previously.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

the end of an easy week

Yesterday was the final day in an easy week's training.  Every four weeks I do about a third less training than usual.  This provides a welcome break for me both physically and mentally.

This week's training was:

day 1:  16 hill reps using Newall Carr Bank to the north of Otley.  Plus cycling, stretching and strength work
day 2:  nothing
day 3:  33 miles plus cycling and stretching
day 4:  cycling, stretching and strength work
day 5:  nothing
day 6:  speedwork (8 x 100m) plus stretching and strength work
day 7:  9 miles tempo run plus stretching and strength work

The speedwork on day 6 was my first such session in the lead up to next month's race.  Over the next few weeks I'll increase the number of repetitions from 8 to 20 or more.

The tempo run was particularly pleasing for me as the 9 mile route was basically the course of the Otley 10 (which is notably hilly - and breezy yesterday too).  Over the past few months I've gradually increased the distance of this training session and in the last three weeks I've been able to complete 9 hilly miles well under 7 minutes per mile ...

22 July ... 1h 02:34
28 July ... 1h 01:57
5 August ... 1h 00:34

This has been the final easy week, after three more weeks of normal training there'll be a week of crash training.  Basically this involves doubling everything for one week only.  That's hard but it's strategically placed  immediately before a three week taper leading up to the big race.

More news about crash training later but you can read about my previous periods of crash training by using the labels.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Nutrition planning

Spent the last few days planning my nutrition for the race in Llandudno.  I'm sure I've explained before how I go about doing this but for newer followers I'll go through it again ...

First of all I consider the hydration aspect.  I've been weighing myself before and after every training run for a number of years now and combined with my training speed and the temperature/humidity I now have a very good idea of how much I will sweat at any given speed, temperature, humidity.  That liquid needs replacing but in a long ultra it's impossible to replace all of it ... the digestive system couldn't cope with that volume over a long time period whilst running.  Trial and error have shown that I can cope with 40%.

With a bit of research it's easy nowadays to find out what the mean temperature and humidity is for almost any location in the world (the data for my next race can be found here).  So, with that knowledge, I know how much liquid to take on board.

Secondly, that liquid, if not water, will contain calories, carbohydrates, etc.  I know that I can take on board about 250 calories per hour during a race but most of that needs to be carbohydrates and the rest mainly proteins.  I know that running uses a lot more than 250 calories per hour but the human body finds it difficult to digest food and run at the same time so, for me, about 250 calories per hour is the limit.  I know that other runners struggle with that amount and can only manage less than 200 whereas a lucky few can get away with 300.  Trial and error again.

Thirdly, the food has to be palatable because the most nutritionally perfect food in the world is useless if it tastes rubbish.  We all like different stuff and it's just a case of trying things out in less important races and long training runs.  Be aware though that eating near the end of a 4 or 5 hour training run is not the same as eating after 20 hours of racing.  Somehow things taste different and may be less easy to chew or swallow.  It's down to trial and error again.

Lastly, but possibly more important, are the electrolytes.  Particularly sodium and potassium but also calcium and magnesium.  These are lost through sweat and urine and need to be replaced but, again, too much all at once can cause the body distress.  As with the liquids I aim for 40%.

I learned quite a bit from my last race - ULTRArace 100 - about what works for me (and when) and now I aim to use all the knowledge gained over the past five years or so to put together a sound nutrition plan for 24 hours.

I like to have a plan so that I know in advance what food and drink I'm having and when.  I also know in advance that I'm getting all the correct amounts of liquid, carbohydrates, proteins, electrolytes, etc.  All the crew has to do is hand me the stuff at the correct time ... although sometimes a bit of preparation is needed.  I feel that this means that I don't have to think about what to eat and /or drink so I can just concentrate on running.  I don't carry a copy of the plan with me - I just let the crew follow the written instructions.

My drinks will be an isotonic sports drink and For Goodness Shakes sports recovery drinks.  The food will include jaffa cakes, protein bars, energy gels, Turkish Delight, grapes, dried apricots, breadsticks and baby food.

Of course sometimes things come unstuck, for example in Brive last year the temperature was about 10 C (18 F) lower than usual for the time of year.  That wasn't the main reason for my bad race that day but it did require some quick thinking and this is another area where a good crew can help.

Hope there's something here that you can use in your own racing.  Whenever I'm doing this planning I'm always reminded of a quote from ChristopherMcDougall's book (Born to Run) in which Sunny Blende describes an ultramarathon as  “an eating and drinking contest, with a little exercise and scenery thrown in.”

PS thanks to Matt for posting details of the New Zealand runners at the upcoming Commonwealth Championships - see the comments after my last post.  See you all there.  Of course it'll be fun.

Monday, 1 August 2011

good long run

First thing this morning I left home for a 33 mile run.  The idea was not to push the pace too much but to generally run how I felt.

The route from Otley took in Burley in Wharfedale, Menston, Guiseley, Shipley, Saltaire, Leeds Liverpool Canal, Kirkstall, Headingley and Bramhope.

So basically the first and last thirds were hilly but the middle section was flat.

I felt very good throughout, finishing at lunchtime in 4h 40 with plenty in reserve.  The weather today was excellent but a little warm.  Overall I lost over 3.3 kg in weight (7.4 lbs) ... over 5.7% of my bodywight.  An excellent run showing that I'm in good shape at the moment with eight weeks to go.

A couple of interesting sights en route:  when running between Headingley and Bramhope two or three large lorries passed me carrying a 'wall of death'.  Never having seen one of those motorcycle acts I did wonder where it was going but I haven't been able to find out.

Also, a part of the canal towpath near Kirkstall was closed and there was a heavy police presence which included a diversion using a nearby farmer's field.  Fay later told me that she'd heard that a cyclist had been found unconscious in the water.

A few hours after arriving home I got the bike out for an hour or so and later tonight I have some stretching planned to keep me busy.

A good day's training.

ps ... thanks to all those who got in touch following my previous post.