Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Final Countdown

36 hours to go. Normally I would write a post where I sum up my training at this stage, but there is little point in that. I ran 126 miles 8 weeks ago and have spent the time since then recovering. My weekly mileage has been roughly 0, 40, 40, 80, 80, 70, 50 and 20. While the 80-mile weeks may seem high, it was all done at a very leisurely pace, which still makes them easy weeks in my eyes.

My last real training run was on Tuesday and I did a scaled down version of the taper workout that Mystery Coach gave me before Vienna. The idea was to run a few miles at race pace and then 3x800 to round it off. I made the mistake of never once checking my pace on the Garmin and ran at least half a minute per mile too fast. 50 mile race pace this was not. The pacing for the 3x800 was out as well, but since the first one was slightly net uphill and the first 2 against the wind, it's hard to make comparisons.

Ah well. Anyway, in 2 days I'll know exactly how stupid it is to run a serious ultra race under these circumstances. I did the same race 2 years ago, under very different circumstances. Back then it had been my A race and I had spent a full year looking forward to and preparing for it. This time, not only has my training been very different, my mindset is as well. At that point two years ago I was already basically unable to sleep (I ran the race after 3 nights of very little sleep), today I'm perfectly relaxed. If that is a good thing or not will be seen.

There is no way to fake your way through 50 miles. If I'm not in shape, it will be mercilessly revealed. Right now I'm still perfectly optimistic. I think I will beat my previous time and I also think I will have an easier race. I think of it as a 10-mile extension to Connemara, and when I ran Connemara 5 months ago it went very well and running 10 extra miles would not have scared me. Maybe the long, slow, drawn-out death-march towards the finish will be avoided if I don't even think about it.

So here I am, ready to run with a mixture of optimism and stupidity. I'm hoping to break 7 hours, but that requires a good day; on a bad day this will be out by a massive amount. I have no idea where all that would leave me place-wise; if all the fast runners who have said they might run it at one stage or another turn up then I won't have to worry about my place in the field under any circumstances, I will be well down. That would suit me just fine because then I can run my own race and won't get sucked into a silly private battle.

Can I really run 50 miles as a fun run? I'm definitely looking forward to it.

28 Aug
10 miles, 1:12:06, 7:13 pace, HR 149
   7 miles @ 7:15, 3x800 (3:02, 2:57, 2:46)
29 Aug
4 miles, 31:15, 7:49 pace, HR 139
30 Aug
0 miles
31 Aug
0 miles


  1. good luck thomas. have fun and enjoy the occasion.

  2. 50 miles is about 45 more than anything I'd define as a 'fun run'! Have a good one.

  3. Good luck - this will be a massive achievement.

  4. From the sound of it your are excited to get started rather than anxious which is just where you want to be the days before an ultra. My experience with marathons and ultra is more relaxed I am the more sleep I get and the more positive excitement about doing the event the better I do. while anxiety and associated loss of sleep running up to an event have always resulted in sub par performances.

    Best of luck Thomas and have fun putting away another great PB!

  5. i think you will do very well 6.55

  6. Going into the race more relaxed may well be a good thing!
    With your base of mileage this year your do fine, enjoy :0]