11 days – Brecon Beacons 45M Ultra Run
5-6 Feb – Double Iron Lanzarote
A reasonable week of training in the bank. Thanks to the two long-distance bike rides on Tues and Thurs I came away with 26 hours training for Week 45 (bike and run only). I would have liked to finish the week off with a 30-32mile run on Sunday using a run/walk strategy, but with just two weeks until the Brecon Beacons Ultra I have to ease back. So I did 21miles at an easy 8:00/m pace. I will do maintenance training for Week 46 (around 12-14hrs), and then I’ll have a short recovery for Week 47, before loosening up for the Ultra.
I have noticed a huge improvement in my leg and ankle strength this year thanks to major changes with (shoe) equipment and minor changes to diet and supplementation. The recovery has been aided by the shallow cold baths off longer run and cycle sessions. In the last two months there has barely been a twinge in my achilles (tendonitis). I can still feel a small amount of soreness when I pinch, but it’s a lot better than it’s been the previous two years. This is despite the fact I’ve increased my running volume. I’ve consistently hit 50miles+/week for the past 6 weeks with a max of 70miles. If I wasn’t cycling or swimming I certainly feel I’d be capable of building to 100miles/week. I will think about doing this for a period of time between the Double Ironman (5-6 Feb) and London Marathon (April).
This week I will also be getting my gear together for the Ultra race. I’m quite fond of my Inov-8 equipment and will be using the roclite shoes and elite backpack for the event. But, I’ll be popping into the Brecon Likeys store at some point to get some decent tech gear for the winter.
Inov-8 Roclite 295 shoes
Inov-8 Elite 25 backpack + 2ltr hydration bladder
Ironman tri shorts (+ optional Bjorn Daehlie leggings)
HH long-s top
BD gillet and hat
Gore paclite jacket, gloves
H&S equipment, vaseline etc
Cyber-lite head torch, compass
2ltr SIS GO electrolyte
Zero electrolyte tables
Energy gel – 1750-2000cals in 4-5 x 150-200ml containers
Fuel belt optional
Coke, energy bar(s) optional
The course is testing. I did 11miles of the 22mile loop in the recce and found five miles worth of stones and rocks to negotiate, half of which at ‘speed’ on a fell section. But it’s a fun course with a bit of everything – forest trails, mountain passes, stream paths, canal towpaths and roads with numerous stiles and gates to negotiate.
This will be my second ever ultra run race (excluding the double ironman). I came third in the Town2Tring 40mile race in Feb 2008. This was along a canal path so wasn’t particularly demanding. But I really suffered muscle fatigue by the finish. I’m a little better prepared this time but I’m still a long way off what is required to complete a race like this at the top end. So my aim will be to keep a decent pace for the first 22miles (1 lap) and then make a decision about whether or not to start the second loop. I’ll be as tentative and efficient as possible on the first loop and try to enjoy it as much as possible, while keeping the leaders in my sights. I’m excited about a lot of unknown factors in this race, and particularly interested to see how the other competitors start out and then contain their efforts over the distance while negotiating the course.