Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Specific Preparation

With the countdown now at 10 days, I can almost smell the race already. The nerves are starting to show but as long as I can still sleep soundly, it's not that bad.

The training is done as far as endurance is concerned, but there are still a few specific things I want to address. The benefits might mainly be psychological now, but never underestimate the value of that, especially when it comes to ultra where a lot of things are decided in the head, not the legs.

On Monday I did my strangest workout of the training cycle yet. As mentioned before,I am planning on doing 5 minutes walking twice an hour, which over 24 hours would add up to no less than 4 hours of walking. In all likelihood I will end up doing even more walking than that. I haven't done much walking in my training (though I got a lot of it done on Mount Brandon), until now. Walking every 25 minutes would not add up to much so I did a schedule of 5 minutes running, 5 minutes walking instead. After feeling rather awkward at first, I soon got into the rhythm and found it strangely hypnotic. I ran/walked a loop at Glounagillagh of about three quarters of a mile and was so absorbed by it that I almost forgot to turn homewards in time. The walking pace increased from 16 to 14 minutes a mile, though I wouldn't bet on keeping that up in Bangor. I surprised myself by actually liking the walking sections. It's definitely an encouraging sign.

Many marathon plans tend to have one last workout about 10 days before the race, and I generally did the same for ultras, including this time. Apart from the pacing marathons, my key workouts have been those off-road runs on the Kerry Way and I added one more double-crossing of Windy Gap. I found it so much easier than I used to, it really is unreal. It really shows that road running alone does not build much leg strength, but I was also surprised by how quickly I managed to adapt. Anyway, the only tough part of today's run was to get out of bed at 5:30, the rest came easy, and I don't think I will ever tire of the views you get from up there, even if I can't fully enjoy them when I'm running.

I had another, rather unexpected, endurance workout in the evening - sitting through a primary school's set of school plays. I don't mean to denigrate the performances and certainly not the effort, which were all great, but if you ever sat through something like that constantly trying to deal with a 4-year old who is bored and cranky and excited and hungry and lonely and giddy and ... in quick succession, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyway, there will be a few more outings aimed at specific things for Bangor, but on the whole, that's it. As far as a complete novice can tell, I'm ready.

25 Jun
6.1 miles, 1:02:58, 10:19 pace, HR 112
   5 mins run / 5 mins walk
26 Jun
12.2 miles, 1:47:30, 8:49 pace, HR 152
   Kerry Way


  1. Looks like you're set to go. That's interesting about the leg strength on hills and quick improvement. I'm bringing back in some runs on undulating courses myself just for that reason.

    One late tip from a mate who just ran a 12 hour race is to be prepared for the temperature changes over the course of the event (with sufficient clothing) as the temp for his race dropped to freezing overnight and his legs seized up with cramps from the cold - had to walk the last 3 hours.

  2. You are certainly ready for this. I do lots of walking as part of my ultra training. It helps a great lot.

  3. Fair play Thomas, I've done the maths here and am expecting you to get between 91 and 94 miles, best of luck!

  4. i went down to the bookies and threw a tenner on 110 miles ;-)
    i think thomas would be disappointed with anything less than 100 miles - (not that he would admit it;-))


  5. Big undertaking, major mental battles in store, sounds like your ready as you'll ever be. best of luck.