Ultra Training

4 days – Civil Service 10k XC Champs (Birmingham)
14 days – Brecon Beacons 45M Ultra Run


Blue Lagoon - the local swimming pool in Comino


Just a couple of weeks away now from the Brecon Beacons 45mile Ultra, and three months from the Double Iron Lanzarote. It’s all about increasing the distances and durations of the longer sessions while bringing down the intensities. It’s been tough – very tempting at times to increase my efforts to high aerobic when it’s supposed to be about time on feet. I’m constantly checking the HRM to make sure I don’t jump out of the training zones I set myself. On top of this I’ve been struggling a little towards the end of my longer runs. Last week (44) I did two 22mile runs. The first 15miles were fine, but the last ~7miles were a mental test. The fuelling aspect is something I need to refine, as I’m either taking too little or not enough. I also favour filling the stomach rather than topping it up by x cals on x mins. I’m not a machine, I like to train and race by feel….but sometimes you have to do things by the book.

Anyway, had a great holiday on the island of Comino with Yve from mid October. There was a little post-training crash but I didn’t mind as we had a great, relaxing time. There were some awesome storms like I’ve never seen before for the first few days, but we had some perfect weather later in the week. From a training perspective I just did a few island runs (30mins to circum-navigate the whole island) including some done at dusk and dawn which was great, as well as some sea swims with Yve.  I had an orange air-tight life-adventure bag that was perfect for storing our beach gear, attached to my waist via a bungie chord with hooks.  There is a blue lagoon and some smaller islands to swim too, our favourite being Cominoto. Lots of fun. I came back feeling refreshed and ready to press on with some Ultra training.



In Week 44 I was keen to build up the swimming and running, with Week 45 (this week) involving a couple of long bike rides with a recce of the Brecon Ultra course sandwiched between. Here is how the training has panned-out since returning from holiday:

24/10 Sun – 12mile run pm
Mon – 2mile run, 2.5km swim, 0:25 gym pm
– 7mile run eve
Tue – 2mile run, 3km swim, 0:30 gym pm
– 1hr15 turbo eve
Wed – 23mile run (7:30/mile pace) pm
Thu – 3mile run, 3km swim am
– 26mile bike/1.5m run-off (6:45/m) eve
Fri – 2.5mile run, 1.5km swim am
– 4mile run eve
Sat – 22mile run (7:45/m), inc 5km race (5:30/m) am
– 0:10 core eve
31/10 Sun – 4mile run am
– 2mile run, 3.5km swim, 1:35 gym (inc 1:15 xbike) pm
Mon – Rest – set-up new training bike
Tue – 142mile bike
Wed – 11mile run. Recce of Brecon Beacons Ultra. The race consists of a 2 x 22mile loop. I did the last 11miles of the loop. 5miles involved running over stones/crags and took a lot out of the ankles and feet. I averaged 8:45/M inc a few stops to check the map and refuel. The top3 from last year averaged 9:00 and 10:00/M. There is no point in me going slower than 9:00/M for the first lap as it’ll make no difference to my effort levels and may even affect technique. But I will make a decision at the start of the second loop whether or not I think I can go on and make a race out of it without damaging my training programme for the following weeks. It will be a tough decision to make if I’m in a good race position but it’s a tough course that will take a lot out of me, and there is precious little time before February.
Thu – 118mile bike

Nutrition: I have been re-evaluating my diet over the holiday period and after reading Born to Run and doing a little research on my return, I have experimented with a bean and seed diet (more-of rather than consisting-of I should add), and the chia seed. I have found the chia/eskiate drink refreshing, but it’s very hard to say if it’s had an impact as there are a lot of variables in my training – I like to guinea pig myself occasionally. The nutritional qualities are astounding, especially the content of omega 3 and 6.

Other news is I have a fourth bike. It’s a Planet-X that will be used for long-distance outdoor training purposes (many thanks Rich if you’re reading this). The old trek is a bit heavy and dangerous for outdoor riding now, so it will spend its retirement years on the turbo as a glorified exercise bike. This will be important in the coming months when the weather gets nasty. I’ll need to get some movies lined up for the longer sessions.

As well as nutrition, I’ve been thinking a lot about the types of shoes I train with. I’ve never been happy with the Asics DS Trainer or any supportive shoes and having run in just racers/flats for the previous two weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that my achilles tendonitis is actually happier with less cushioning. I’ve placed heel cups in my asics hyperspeed2 and will use these and my inov-8 roclites for all future runs and see what happens. The two recent long runs were with the hyperspeeds, and after a cold shallow 15min bath, compression, anti-inflamms and eskiate I woke up the next day with fresh legs. Speaking of cold baths, I’m actually developing a liking for them and I’m now on 3-4/week. As long as the water just covers the legs, and I have the ipod on with a warm drink, then I’m happy. You can also generate more coldness to the legs by moving them in the bath.

Civil Service cross-country champs next week (10 Nov) in Birmingham. Another good team outing ad I hope to get a strong performance in even if I’m a little tired leading into it. The taper to Brecon starts straight after.

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