Thames Trot 50 Training

too soon?

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07/01/2013 at 18:01

It was frozen solid last year, and it was perfect, I'm hoping for that again.

30 miles on Saturday and 24 today, so it looks like I'm just about going to scrape it.

08/01/2013 at 08:55

"just about going to scrape it"! - where does that leave me???!!! My longest run since NDW50 was Beachy Head marathon at the end of October; I'll get in one 30 (Winter Tanners) before TT50... Oh well, I've done a 50 before so I should be able to do one again, so long as I manage to get some decent training in this month and I keep slow and steady. Then I'll have 10 weeks to recover and prepare more thoroughly for SDW50.

08/01/2013 at 11:11

The ground last year was dry so the freezing weather just made it harder. This year, the levels of ground water are such that it would take severe freezing weather before the course hardens. Even if there is ice, my prediction is that this will just be a thin top layer under which will be thick mud (so even slippier). Heavy snowfall would change conditions (not necessarily for the better).

08/01/2013 at 17:47

Debra, I'm sure you'll be fine, the only reason I said I should scrape it is that I've had to cram all my training into the last 3 weeks, which is why I've done those long runs in a short space of time - the car crash really affected my fitness and left me with some injuries, so I wasn't sure I'd run again, let alone make this event. I did it last year with one 30 miler under my belt and I was fine. The 'scrape it' thing referred to the accident, not the long runs. The winter tanners should see you fine. 

08/01/2013 at 17:53

I'm a bit worried about the time limit on this run, it doesn't leave much room for a bad mile or 2

08/01/2013 at 22:51

Hadn't noticed there was a time limit. Hm. Normally I wouldn't worry about it - after all, I came in under 10 hours for NDW50. Oh well, just going to have to hope that the next 2-3 weeks of training gets me back to something like proper leg fitness. And if not, I'll have my first DNF experience...

Edited: 08/01/2013 at 22:51
09/01/2013 at 07:01

Sadly I'm deferring. I did a 20 miler yesterday which felt dreadful, I ended up walking the last 5 miles and my achilles is sore. I don't know why, maybe I've not got over my 50k just before Christmas, but clearly I'm not there for a 50 miler yet. I'm a bit gutted but positive about it, I'll aim for a proper 50k race next and gradually work up the distances and will get there wrt 50 miler, but I think I need more time. Glad to hear the preparations generally are going well. Best wishes to all, NID. 

09/01/2013 at 07:12
Sorry to hear that NID. I've got various tiny niggles but I'm going to keep ignoring them and keep my fingers crossed!
Last long run this weekend will involve running from Oxford to Woodcote (near Reading) - about 23 miles since I'll avoid the main road - and then a 10k trail race. It might kill me (it'll certainly be one of my slowest 10k times), but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
09/01/2013 at 09:03

NID: sympathies.

Tiago: thanks - and I'd not thought about your car crash in the context of "scrape it"!I'm also cramming in the training after the forced reduction for late November/December.

I did some calculations last night which reduced the sudden panic: even if I drop to 10 min/mile, and allow 5 mins per aid station, that should bring me in under nine hours. Heck, shuffling along at 12 min/mile should bring me in under the time limit, and I'm not expecting to be that slow for the whole distance...

09/01/2013 at 10:26
I've never run a long flat off road so no idea what speed will be comfortable! 10 min/mile sounds quite fast to keep up for 50 although I know 9min/mile would be fine for 26!!!
09/01/2013 at 14:12

What with reduced running due to injury in December, I've not managed to recce ANY of this course. If I can get a short recce in the weekend before the race (so, maybe 15 miles) is there a stretch worth doing? The bit where it goes up the hill after Streatley, then on until it rejoins the river after the bit after Checkpoint 4? Would there be a sensible point along there to ask my husband to pick me up in the car, if I'd got him to drop me off at Streatley?

10/01/2013 at 12:27

NID: Sorry to hear that, but good luck for the 50k you choose, and hope goes well from here.

Glad the training is on the up for most though.  I've been a bit ropey last few days, and with driving around Europe the volume has gone down.  I'm doing 16m B2Bs today/tomorrow, and hopefully 30/15 next week.  Having to take time off work cos weekends are no go. 

Last year veterans: Any tips re kit to carry?  Other than obvious; waterproof, head torch, water and some gels etc. I can't face carrying extra trainers, I don't think, but would value benefit of all experience! Is there a formal kit list?  I can't see one on the website, and not had any emails from them recently.

Thanks!

10/01/2013 at 12:37

Last year I took a pack with 3ltr of water about half full, filled it up at most check points and never ran out. Had loads of gels and some food at the start, ate the food early and was fine on bars and gels for the rest. They put on some awesome fruitcake at the checkpoints so its worth snaffling that up as you go through. Also found swapping to road shoes that my crew carried was a massive lift, this was at the 28 mile cp.

10/01/2013 at 13:27

Larny: if it's cold, make sure you're dressed appropriately. London Ultra 50K last year, temperature was about 5 C at highest (but sunny and clear with little wind). I wore Montane windproof trousers over my Skins, and kept them on the whole way and was comfortable*. My windproof jacket and my hat I took off after several miles and was fine in a long-sleeved T-shirt and gloves. Food-wise, on NDW50 I really appreciated the chace for savory food - cheese sandwiches etc. at the checkpoints, and I'm thinking about taking something like that with me for this (and for Winter Tanners).

ANYONE got any idea whether the towpath is still flooded? I was thinking about running from Streatley (CP3) to the end on Sunday as a recce/long run, but obviously not if it's flooded - or if snow stops the trains!

*Greater Manchester Marathon, 5C with rain and gale-force windchill, I should have worn my waterproof jacket.If it's like that, I'll be in Montane waterproof jacket and waterproof overtrousers - I'm not playing around with hypothermia again, thank you very much.

Edited: 10/01/2013 at 13:27
12/01/2013 at 16:47

Thanks - yes, had some interesting weather in Beachy Head in October.  The skins alone were ok, but variations of fleecy windstopper, headgear etc useful.  Will look into windproof trousers - never fancied running in them, but probably mean need to spend more for better ones!!

On that line, just ordered an active Goretex jacket, as so lightweight.  My ME windstopper is v waterresistant, but not waterproof.  My waterproof jacket is over 15 years old now!!

12/01/2013 at 17:40
I've just splashed out on my first running backpack and headtorch. I should have tried both before, but I've tended to just run longish loops from home and stuck to lit areas when it's dark. However, I'm going to need both for the TT and my 23 mile run to Woodcote tomorrow (followed by a 10k backpack free) will give me some practice.
For the TT I'm taking some spare kit (including a Ron Hill lightweight waterproof jacket which was a really good buy), food and phone, plasters, headtorch etc. I won't try to carry shoes but I'm hoping for a bit of support en route and may be able to get one or two shoe changes in. If the course is still very wet I think this will be a godsend!
12/01/2013 at 17:49

Yep, got race instructions by email yesterday and realise I need to find a way to carry a mobile phone, and maybe a headtorch too. Although as I'm expecting to finish in the light, I wonder whether it's mandatory for me? Better safe than sorry I suppose. Gonna nip over to our local Sports Direct and see if I can pick up a bum bag or somesuch.

Long run back up to 41km for me today. Didn't have much enthusiasm for it in the grey cold and just plodded round. Right achilles has been a bit creaky all week, it has my sympathies (and attention). I crossed over the Thames at Iffley at one point and the towpath there is free of water (if a little muddy!). Today's Country to Capital must've been a bit of a mudfest

12/01/2013 at 18:49
Confirmed as an official 4:30 pacer for Mumbai Marathon next Sunday so looking forward to that and the warm weather. Will be my longest training run pre TT so still nervous about lasting the distance with the niggles I've had and still have but looking forward to giving it my best shot.

Have a Deuter race backpack and head torch which will be novel too. Fingers crossed for a daylight finish though. I intend to start with trail shoes but to carry flats as I don't have a ground crew - does that sound sensible? Other than that it will be compression shorts, tights, base layer, top and water/wind proof jacket with gloves and skull cap. Will carry some savoury snacks too plus some spare socks.

Good luck all
13/01/2013 at 19:20

Thames Path trail - an update on the condition of the Thames Path from Streatley to Henley-on-Thames following my recce run today. This can be summed up in three words: slippery sticky mud.

Further details: Nowhere along this section of the route is the Thames currently flooding, and it was certainly passable. However, all the non-road sections were very muddy, except for a couple of sections of recently re-gravelled path. Some areas were quite wet - e.g. some field stretches in the Pangbourne area, the fields shortly before Sonning, and going past the rugby pitches which I think belong to Shiplake College (since the colleges is just after the pitches).

At present, the mud is in a state which makes running difficult - slippery in the extreme in many areas - and sticky enough to cling to your running shoes, adding half a pound of weight to each. I’d say it’s not unsafe (so long as people are sensible on the paths which are directly on the riverbank, e.g. coming out of Streatley), but that runners’ speeds are likely to be reduced so finish times likely to be later (I’ll certainly be going for a “run where possible, walk when running is virtually impossible due to mud being too slippery” strategy if its still like this on 2nd February).

I'll be wearing trail shoes throughout - yes there are a few miles of road, and the tarmac path into Henley, but the muddy sections in between are extremely slippery and I for one wouldn't like to try to tackle them in road shoes.

I did have the list of checkpoints with me, but I totally failed to see where Checkpoint 4 would be, so I really hope it will be easily visible on the day!

Navigation notes:

1) In Whitchurch, the path goes off the road down a drive towards a private house. then you get to a church and the path veers left past the church (just when there's a big sign saying the house sis private). If you look carefully, there are little Thames Path signs on the stone wall at the gateway to the church.

2) Coming into the village of Lower Shiplake, where the Thames Path crosses diagonally over a field then goes up a short bit of lane before reaching a minor road, there appears to be a sign missing at the junction with the minor road: there's a sign for the Thames Path pointing back down the lane to the field, but there is NOT a corresponding sign indicating the necessary right turn onto the minor road into the village. This is a problem because there is a smaller road directly opposite, and it would be easy to go straight on down there and get lost in a housing estate (I was lucky and met a couple of locals, who directed me).

It was very cold and the slippery conditions underfoot kept my pace right down. I was very glad of the Montane windproof trousers over my running tights.

 

13/01/2013 at 19:31
Thanks so much for the update Debra - pretty much as I imagined. I'm planning to recce the Oxford to Abingdon run close to the race so I can provide you all with an update on conditions for the first part of the course (some of which could well be waterlogged whilst not actually flooded).
My pre-10k-race 23 miler today went really well. Backpack and headtorch both comfortable to run in and the latter was a lifesaver along one stretch of unlit country road. I added a short bit after the race to make it 30 miles in total and could have run further (though not another 20!). And all that on top of 13.5 moles yesterday, 15.5 on Thursday and 9 on Wednesday. So all in all I'm feeling a lot more confident about the distance (ignoring the probable strength-sapping conditions).
Now to taper and get some sleep ...
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