Hope all well. Northern Traverse starts Monday at 10 (so will be some dots to track). Traveling up tomorrow, 7hr train, bus, and probably taxi combo to st bees. At least staying in start hotel so don't have to be up to early on morning of race. Feeling ready for it as much as could be I guess. Training been as good as time allows. Quite good condition (maybe been faster, but my endurance should be good). Some new gear bought, tested, packed. Plenty of stuff I had was fine. Seems loads of gear for my two drop bags, end bag, racepack - but nothing on what many have packed or carrying. Going to be great!!!
I've been running marathons and ultra's for over ten years and my recent thinking is that I'm not sure of the value of big weekly mileages for ultra's if each session doesn't address a specific training need. Say, ask yourself what real value running 5m x 5 days a week adds other than to bulk up the mileage. I also recall an old marathon training plan saying the LSR shouldn't be more than x% of total mileage, I'm not sure its sensible to apply this to the non-elite ultra runner with a 9-5 and other commitments.
I've looked more and more over the years to try and have a purpose for each training session throughout the week, no junk miles run at a non-challenging pace or distance (or this is my aspiration), all the while fitting it around my life. Barring the weeks I do an LSR longer than 20m I probably usually hit 30-50 mpw. An example of a normal week for me:
Sun - LSR - Usually off-road and at a pace that is comfortably challenging if I'm doing up to 15m. Usually done pre-breakfast as part of a drive to become more efficient at running on fat stores. Practicing or experimenting with hydration/nutrition for upcoming events on run or without any nutrition during for some of these. Mon - After work, 4m, at a semi-challenging pace (legs might be a bit tired from day before). Wed - Long warm-up run to local track, track session with club, long cool down run back. This can add up to more than 10m and with the hard work in the middle is my key strengthening run of the week. I believe more efficient at speed will translate to the long and slow too. Thu - Short WU, Step reps, Short CD - Might be as little as 1-1.5m. But run on tired legs this is good for me. Fri - Medium-Long run to work - before breakfast, carrying my work gear, breakfast and lunch in pack. Usually with some off-road in there as my target events are usually trail.
From above you might notice a lack of real long LSR that would be needed for an ultra? Well I know some people have time to maybe do an LSR exceeding 20m on various occasions in a month, but I don't want to be sacrificing family time at weekend too often. So per above I do my weekly LSR quite fast usually, then once per month if I'm training for a 50+ miler I'll take a Monday off work and do a proper LSR with a whole day to play with. I believe this works well for me and this year I have topped up my 'pretty average' weekly mileages with 30, 40, 50, 60 and back-to-back 30 and 40 milers. Ok so I had two days off for the last runs - but this is specific to the event I'm doing which is a multi-dayer, so the second run on tired legs seemed a good conditioner and progress check.
So in summary my thoughts are think quality, not quantity and tailor that to your own time constraints. Some quantity is needed, but running 20-30 LSR every week, and 40m+ MPW isn't strictly necessary if your not fighting it out with the elites.
Not too stiff today for part two of my back-to-back LRs (kind of a running on tired legs practice thing). Not so many hills today but plan was 40m. Soon loosened up and not significantly slower or more pained than yesterday. No weather drama either, still cold but with sun out and two layers I was comfortable (even caught some sun), just had to pull the jacket zip up on into wind sections.
All went pretty well and only drama was a stupid moment when after filling my bottle up in Beverley (local market town, will be on to tomorrow as tour de Yorkshire cycle race grande departe) I threw empty bottle away and what I thought was lid, then checked other hand for my soft flask loud/nozzle to put on and found I had thrown that away rather than lid! cue embarrassing few minutes with me peeking into bin from all angles and my hand in there fishing around whilst dozens of people walked past on a busy shopping street , probably thought I was the oddest dressed tramp ever. Thankfully I could see it from one angle and it wasn't at bottom of the nearly empty (and pretty clean) bin, so I got it fished out.
Ran most of the last near featureless flat farmland miles and hit the old railway path to home. Distance was looking a bit short so found a half mile detour and came in at just over the 40m I wanted. Less climb today and so slightly faster pace despite not fresh legs, 7.51.
A good two days and looking forward to a few easy days and a birthday meal out tomorrow. Tested two sets of shoes for Northern Traverse, equipped bag pretty well (never had to open back zipped compartment, got all essentials in the back mesh). Tested mountain fuel and tailwind out (quite nice but I don't think has the miraculous qualities some find in it - maybe my existing fuel strategy was pretty good). Thought about planning for Northen Traverse bag drops, all good
To add to my recent pattern of picking the day with bad weather for my monthly longer run weather I can add another challenging day for yesterday's hilly run in the high - comparitevly speaking - Wolds. Hail to start then sleet, snow throughout periods of the day. As the precipitatigon increased at about half way the waterproofs came out and hands were already very cold in my thin wool gloves. Struggled to get my windproof warmer gloves on, thankfully I'd stashed them in mesh with waterproof jacket so at least didn't have to root around in bag for (I did have some warmer still waterproof gloves in pack, never yet had to use those). Got warmed up again and precipitation ceased awhile only to regroup and hit me during last hour. colder quicker this time and windproof gloves were sodden. I decided to take my cut short option rather than dig out more warm gear, especially as it would allow me time to get a bath before nursery pickup. 31.6m and about 5000'+ (plan had been about 34m).
T Rex - Yep I can avoid villages pretty well on my country routes, but on longer ones a few with shops are useful (having said that only one small town with shops on my route between leaving Hull and finish). The Wolds Way itself has said town as an optional visit and does have very long stretches with no shops before and after. But I guess most people do that over a few days walking. Re, distance and time its horses for courses as I'm sure our big 'lumps' barely register against the small ones in your area even when its muddy and wet
I usually use a selection of sealable bags, to dry-proof sections of my kit and food, but forgot to bring one for my jacket in case I took it off and it rained
jim - I didn't actually put coke in the bottle, just drank it as a treat as walked out of town. Only in endurance events would drinking 330ml of coke in one go be regarded as a treat really haha. I've got good at handling the gas, but if my tummy was a bit dicky I might avoid.
I did see Isaac as got back to the station to be picked up my mom and boy at 8pm (he stayed up a bit late as he was a bit high on his visit to the station).
Taken me awhile to get this one out of the legs, I think the difference was the hills and I obviously need to feature more in the next two months.