Over the last few days I’ve been getting myself back together again following a nasty little virus. The first few days after the Malvern Hills Ultra were fine. At least they were as expected, with plenty of soreness and stiffness from the race (particularly around the knees). On Tueday (3 days after the race) I tentatively started training again. But during the night I had one of the worst fevers I’ve ever experienced with mild hallucinations, and woke up with a strong headache, barely able to move. I spent the rest of the week indoors, working my way through the usual viral symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea, temperature shifts, dizziness, etc. From Thursday night through to the next Wednesday I sweated it out every night. I even got through 3 sets of clothing one night and would of course wake with a (dehydration) headache. At least I knew my body was sorting itself out. I had a walk on the Sunday and did my first short jog/walk on the Tuesday (10 days after the race).
Looking back it seems there’s a connection with the post race virus’ I’ve picked up over the years. I had a nasty illness following all three Tough Guy (Jan xc and obstacle running race) events as well as the ‘red-eye’ virus I picked up from the Double Iron UK DNF in 2009. They are all tough events that put stress on the body, but the catalyst was that I was both cold and wet in all of them to the point of shivering. The first hr of the Malvern Ultra was cold and wet, and I probably wasn’t as quick as I should have been to get showered and changed afterwards. Anyway, I need to be even more careful during future events if I’m cold and/or wet.
I was back into some form of training from Wed 18 May despite feeling weak and having lost 2.5kg in weight (from before the Ultra), a decent proportion of which was lean muscle mass. In fact, with the Roth and IMUK Ironman-distance races fast approaching this is the biggest worry for me. Endurance is all well and good, but if I don’t have the strength to carry myself forward and the ability to hold a decent power output on the bike over ~5hrs then I’m going to be disappointed this summer.
So – I’ve set myself a new 5-week programme to take myself up to the Worcester Sprint Triathlon on 26 June. It’s high risk, involving 4 tough weeks sandwiching a lighter/recovery week and tapering at the tail end so I can still compare my Worcester Sprint splits with those of 2009 (when I also did the race 3 weeks before Roth). I have decided to put the running on hold for the time being so I can work on my swimming and cycling, which has been non-existent since February because of the trail running. There will also be a lot of gym (weights and core) work to build the muscles back up again (I’m already aching!). I then have an optional 1-2 more tough weeks before a short taper to Roth. I originally wanted a decent time at Roth, but I have to be realistic, so I will now focus on setting myself up in the IM mara for a potential PB (<8:58)
I’ve really noticed this year how difficult it is to mix up a high level of ultra trail running with long-distance triathlon training. I don’t think you can do both and expect to perform well. 2011 was always going to be a transitional year for me to see if I preferred trail running over long-distance triathlon. It could end up being a disappointing year, or maybe I can just about pull it off. In the last two weeks I questioned whether or not I can carry myself through at least 2-3 Ironmans and two hilly trail ultras (100M and 45M) before the end of the year, but then that’s a challenge in itself and it will be fun trying! If it goes wrong then it’ll only add to my experience and knowledge for the future. If it goes right then I’ll be treating myself to a bumper break over xmas!
Sun 26 Jun – Worcester Sprint Triathlon
Sun 10 Jul – Challenge Roth (IM-Distance)
Sun 31 Jul – Ironman UK