I’ve decided to start back into training a little earlier than planned. I’ve just come off a 2-week cold and feel less restrictive in the chest. I’ve reached a stand-of with my heart rate but I can’t see it dropping to its old level in the short-term, and I’m starting to put on a little weight thanks to my ‘enthusiastic’ diet. The first week of the cold I did next to nothing, but last week I managed 8hrs of training albeit unstructured.
August marks a transition period. The Ironmans have past (although I still I have a couple of triathlons in Sept) and I’m now focusing on ultra trail and fell running. This means I need to work on both leg and core strength and spec muscular endurance to handle ultra and hilly courses. It started just over a week ago with a 20mile walk with my brother along the Thames. I will probably use the Thames Path as the base for my long-distance training over the next 8 weeks by extending the distance and developing a greater run:walk ratio. I will need to increase my weekly running mileage (inc hill sessions) as well as spend a little more time in the gym on weights and core. I’ll be working particularly on building up the quad and calf muscles and strengthening the ankle/achilles.
I’ve also been spending some time re-evaluating my training and racing gear and trying to limit the amount of weight I need to carry. I have to consider not only the weight of the clothing but also its wicking properties as some materials trap sweat/water more than others, adding to the weight. I’ve invested in a new ‘outdoors’ camera (the last one drowned in one of my Lejog rides several years ago) that is will suit me fine: Olympus Tough 810GPS.
CAESARS CAMP 100
On 22/23 October I’ll be taking part in the Caesars Camp 100Mile run, based at the Caesars Camp ground near Farnham and Adershot. Website here
This will be the furthest I have ever run before, and over a stony undulating 10x10mile loop that will take it out of my feet. The race starts at 12pm on Sat 22 Oct, running through into Sunday. I should have my GF and brother there to crew me and hopefully get a pacer (allowed from 50miles) to keep me sane. I’ve already recced the course last week, although had problems with my GPS so didn’t follow the precise 10mile route. My main aim will be to finish the race and get the 3pts I need towards the Ultra Trail Mont Blanc 2011 qualification (you need a total of 5pts from two races in a two year time span), but I’d also like to set a fast time. The race is 4 weeks before the Brecon Ultra so I should have enough time to recover.
BOB GRAHAM ROUND RECCE
Another reason I’m getting back into training now is to get myself fit for a recce of the Bob Graham Round (BGR). Wikipedia explanation:
The Bob Graham Round is a circuit of 42 fells in the English Lake District, including the 3,000-foot (910 m) peaks of Skiddaw, Helvellyn, Scafell and Scafell Pike. The round is named after Bob Graham (1889–1966), a Keswick guest-house owner, who in 1932 set the record for the number of Lakeland fells traversed in 24 hours which he held for twenty eight years until its repeat, with Graham’s encouragement, by Alan Heaton in a quicker time in 1960.
Any contender who traverses the fells of Bob Graham’s round within 24 hours is eligible for membership of the Bob Graham Club. While the club keeps to a low profile policy in the spirit of Bob Graham’s reputation as a quiet, modest individual, its primary role being record keeper of attempts and successful rounds, members encourage and support contenders. Despite Graham’s understatement that the round is achievable by anyone of “average” fitness, it is considered by many as one of the most demanding tests of endurance for an amateur athlete or mountaineer. more here….
It’s obviously a huge challenge to get around the BGR in 24hrs and although I’ve been ok running around the Brecon and Malvern Hills I’ve done nothing on this scale. So for the recce I’ll be splitting the run up over 2-3days, basing myself at Keswick campsite. I have a map of the BGR that splits the route up over five sections with recommended changeover points (an official BGR requires pacers to testify your accurate completion). On Day1 I will start the second section (from Threlkeld) and finish at the end of the third section at Wasdale Head. I originally fancied a wild camp somewhere near Scafell, perhaps Foxes Tarn at 825m. But I couldn’t get my pack weight (which will inc tent, etc) down to a suitable level. On top of that I’m not sure it would be advisable after my recent health issues. So a B&B it will have to be. What a shame! :O)
On Day2 I will start section four I will continue from Wasdale to Honister. I have the benefit of knowing that if I’m really suffering at this point then I can pull-out at Honister Mines Cafe and get a bus back to Keswick. If I continue with section five then I should get home in plenty of time as it’s the ‘easier’ of the sections. I then have the option of a wild camp north of Keswick possibly next to Glenderaterra Beck. I could even start section one or complete it the following morning.
The plan is to make an attempt on the 24hr BGR next year after perhaps another recce. I’ll need pacers for the five sections and I’ve already had some offers (inc a local couple who have already completed the BGR and have many years of fell running experience). The course record currently stands at 13hr53min, set by the fell running Legend Billy Bland in 1982. I believe there have been somewhere around 1300 successful attempts since 1960 (~80 in 2010). I also noticed that Mark Palmer, who beat me by 25mins in the Brecon Ultra last year, completed the BGR in 14hr59min (link) just two months ago. I’ll wait to see what the course is like myself before I set an official target but based on this maybe I can aim a little higher than I thought, perhaps 17hrs. I’ll of course need perfect weather conditions and some decent pacers who are better navigators than I am, particularly when I’m falling asleep!
I will take my camera for the first recce as it’s not often you get to run 30 odd peaks of the Lake District in one go. I just hope to get some decent weather.