Ultra training: week 2

Drizzly, grey 10 miler. I need more sunshine and pretty views in my life!

And it’s into week 2! This one was a bit less scenic than week 1, and my legs are starting to feel the miles. I also really need to set specific paces for different runs, rather than muddling through at 09:XX regardless of the distance, but I’m such a newbie when it comes to tempo and speed sessions and different ‘effort’ levels. Trial and error is a legit strategy, right?… (Any help greatly appreciated from the veterans out there!)

Tuesday: I was stuck at work all week so I didn’t get the chance to run anywhere scenic. Instead, I hopped on the treadmill for an ‘easy’ 3 miler. Unfortunately I get quite competitive, so ended up in a bit of a race against the guy on the treadmill next to me! On the plus side, it led to some pretty impressive negative splits: 9:39 (the sort of pace I was supposed to stick to), 8:28 (erm…) and 8:15 😀 Well, the ‘easy’ part of ‘easy 3 miler’ definitely went out the window, and my legs were like jelly when I stepped off the machine. Sigh.
3 miles, 8:47 average

Wednesday: Technically I didn’t ‘train’ on Wednesday, but I did go paintballing which felt like a proper workout! Running around with a paintball gun, lunging and crouching and generally throwing ourselves around – it was ace, and I really felt it the next day. Especially the bruises…

Thursday: I had a 1.5 mile speed session on the plan, and ended up doing the bleep test for a bit of a change. I was aiming for level 9 but I set off too fast, and made it to level 8.6 before I had to stop. It was still a PB by a couple of shuttles, but I definitely need to work on my pacing. It’s so hard not to rush though!

Saturday: This week, I ticked off my 29th parkrun! (That 50 tshirt maaay just be mine this year…) It was bright and sunny but thanks to all the rain we’ve had, the ground was EXTREMELY muddy. Luckily I wore my trail shoes, so I didn’t faceplant on the way round (though there was some definite slipping and sliding).
3.1 miles, 9:02 average

Sunday: This was the first double-digit run I’ve done in nearly a year, and I felt it! The weather and route didn’t help – grey wet and windy, with an out-and-back along a main road that meant a headwind the whole way back. Plus my calves were super tight and I had to keep stopping to stretch them out in the second half. Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this run. But I got it done, and managed to average sub 9:30/mile which is a pretty big deal for me! Let’s hope next weekend is better. Sunshine and nice views please!?
10 miles, 9:23 average

The miles are starting to build, and I’ve finally replaced my nackered old trail shoes. The support had definitely gone in my old ones which made for some very uncomfortable runs recently! I think I’m going to need to add some leg exercises into my gym sessions, especially for the glutes and calves. Running off road is way harder work and I can tell my stabiliser muscles aren’t quite up to the job for big distances yet. It’s sort of into the unknown from here, as I’ll be increasing my mid-week miles and spending longer out on the trails for my weekend runs – fingers crossed my body cooperates!

2020: Year of the ultra marathon!?

Exmoor Perambulation 2019 – the mountains hills are worth it for the views!

After a crazy busy 2019, which was a bit of a write-off as far as marathons and other running events were concerned (thanks to changing my career, and moving to a new flat, amongst other things…), I’ve got big and exciting plans for 2020. At the top of my list is the Exmoor Perambulation. Now I’ve done this event a few times in the past – the full 31-mile, self-navigated, self-supported hike across Exmoor – but last year, the event organisers introduced a new ultra run option. And a crazy, impossible idea worked its way into my brain.

Could I run 31 miles across Exmoor? Self supported? For my first ever ultra?

Anyone who knows me will tell you I’m not a trail runner. All of my races have been on the road, except for the Denbies half marathon – but given that they offered wine at every aid stop, fancy dress was mandatory and it took me over 3 hours, I don’t really count it as a ‘proper’ trail race. (It was bloomin’ awesome, though!)

But to be fair, I know the Perambulation route and I love the event. There were a handful of finishers for last year’s inaugural run option (and the overall winner was a woman – REPRESENT), and as the runners passed us hikers a few miles in, I couldn’t help but want to be where they were instead. And since last June, that little niggle – that ‘what if?…’ just won’t go away. So I entered! And now I’m committed. And I’m putting together an ultra marathon training plan, with lots and LOTS of hills. And crossing my fingers.

Oh boy.

Any experienced ultra runners out there? I’m going to need all the help I can get for this one!