Approaching the 2014 season and my first Ultra (Green Man, 1st March) I decided it was time to test my speed over some shorter distance races. I knew my base training was very limited but I felt strong in the gym and knew my strength might help carry me through.
The first test of the year was the 2.3mile Lensbury Bridges Race second week Jan, run over a couple of bridges starting at Westminster. I’ve run this race about a dozen times over the years as it was local to my place of work. It’s a handicap race with the slowest starting first. I started at the back on an old fast time, but managed to hold my own and finished in 12:58, which considering the tough conditions was not far off my form from several years ago.
The second little test was over the local 5km Bushy Parkrun. It was very muddy but once again I felt I performed as good as my previous races on the course. My time was 17:24 but I came 5th out of 1000 finishers, which was a good sign.
As I said my strength in the gym is as good if not better than any previous year. I’d developed and extended my core, balance and plyometric programme and felt, although I’d lost a little spring in my running (achilles tendonitis…and old age!), my form and efficiency is as good as it’s ever been which is important for ultra trail running.
The only aspect of my training that was a little lacking was endurance. I’d been unable to turn over those long (ultra) runs, mainly because of health. I worked on my training mesocycles through Jan and Feb so that on the training trip to Lanzarote with a friend I was able to head straight into a hard week culminating in 15km of sea swimming and 90 miles of running. However, I aggravated the area around my hernia repair while swimming in my wetsuit, which was then exacerbating in the hilly running that followed. I’m currently in the second week following Lanzarote and have had to stop running and any leg resistance work to try and let the damaged area sort itself out. With less than two weeks until the Green Man Ultra I’m a little concerned, but will take each day as it comes and just ope it fixes itself.
If I’m in good health for the Green Man Ultra then my aim will of course be to improve on last years time. Last year I did 6hr35 for the 47 miles. This time around I want to push for <6hr15. As long as there are no navigational errors like last year and I’m fast through the checkpoints then it’s entirely possible. I do like these technical races and don’t mind a bit of mud, but we’ll have to see what the weather brings as at least one river on the course tends to swell during heavy rain.
UPDATE 23 FEB : Unfortunately the area around the old hernia was indeed aggravated and I’ve been told by the GP to do no exercise until the pain goes. That includes a 46mile ultra running race around Bristol(!)
Looking ahead I’ve already started thinking about making my attempt on the (Wainwrights) 190 mile Coast to Coast. I did the 4 day recce last year (see previous Blog) and know a 3-day is very doable with support. But I’d like to go for a sub48 hour time, which I believe only two men have ever done officially – Mike Hartley and Mike Cudahy. I’d need everything to go my way for this – good health and plenty of miles in training, good weather, great crew once again, with possibly some knowledge of the course. I already have a driving crew, potential sponsorship and some pacers depending on the date. Facebook page is HERE
I will make a more firm commitment in the following weeks or months once I know how my body is/will cope with the training required.
Thanks to 9-Bar, this season I will be racing in Salomon clothing for the warmer weather races. I will be supplementing this with my Marmot water-resistance top and inov-8 shoes from Likeys.