Tag Archives: North Downs Way

Training Update

So those who read my last post will know that training hasn’t bein going that well and I am quite significantly off my running plan. I could list the runs that I have done (it wouldn’t be long) but I think it is easier to give a visual comparison of where I was at last year and where I am at now.

I have generated a report from Good Run Guide showing the June and July 2012 (NDW50 was August) and February and March this year (NDW50 is in May), so the same comparative timeframe in relation to the race.

Period 1 is June-July 2012. Period 2 is Feb-March
Period 1 is June-July 2012. Period 2 is Feb-March (ignore the pie chart for Period 1, I didn’t edit the type of runs back then)

It’s quite stark seeing the difference in distance and number of runs and the reality has hit home, mentally I am not in the same place that I was last time. Prior to the previous run, although the weather was a hell of a lot better, I was also more mentally focused that I am right now.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, although the runs have been shorter and less frequent, I haven’t just been sitting around doing nothing. Looking at my cycling from the same time frame as Period 2 this is the mileage so my legs are getting some work, although I appreciate it’s not quite the same.

I only starting logging on GRG mid Feb
I only starting logging on GRG mid Feb

I am not going to dwell on the lack of runs though, I need to get my head back in the game. I ran today following the disaster yesterday and it felt really, really good. I was running at a good pace, felt exhilarated as I travelled over the trails and felt some of the magic again.

While I was running I was thinking (as most people probably do) and have decided that the NDW50 will be an experiment to answer a question, “can you run an ultra with extensive cross training?”. I don’t expect to beat my 11:19 of last year, but I want to finish and finish within the cut off.

An attitude shift, that’s what I need, half the battle is in the head so get that in the right place and I am in with a fighting chance.


The voice

I do have an update that I will post on the last few weeks “training” and a couple of gear reviews, but I have just come in from an 8 mile run (it was meant to be at least 18) and wanted to post my thoughts

I suppose the key reason for posting is that it wasn’t great fun runnin today and as the title suggests the negative voice was doing it’s best to bring me down, and it won. I didn’t have any energy to keep going and as you will see when I upload the data I was slow, with far too much walking.

With the NDW50 only a few weeks away and the longest run I have done so far 13 miles (albeit with another 10 earlier in the day) I am getting distinctly nervous, I do not feel anywhere near as prepared as I was last year.

Lessons Learnt
-Hoka Mafate cannot cope in mud
-Running in Hoka’s I lose the soul of running
-I am bored of the mud on the NDW
-The SJ pack needs more load in it to get a better fit
-Drymax socks are amazing
-GU gels are really thick

The key one here is the Hoka’s, I so want to love them but so far I am struggling, they just don’t feel right and a death traps in muddy conditions. I am doubting myself and whether I will use them on the 50 as despite the Drymax socks working a treat, I still get the feeling that my feet just don’t get on with them (I’ll go into more detail in a full review)

So all in all, a pretty crappy run. I need to get to get my motivation back and get it back sharpish!

Training this week: 25/02/2013 – 03/03/2013

So my count down on the blog says that the NDW50 is only 2 months away, slightly inaccurate but still it’s just around the corner! This was the first week of the training plan to build me back up to running fitness and although it didn’t go completely to plan overall I am pleased

Cycling wise, I commuted as planned 4 days of the week and covered the planned 92 miles for the week. The weather was relatively ok although every morning I was met with a strong head wind which would just make things that little bit tougher. The route I am now taking to work has a but more hill than before and rather than being 10 miles is around 11.5, the route home is pretty much up hill all the way back.

The hill profile of my commute home, total of around 620ft
The hill profile of my commute home, total of around 620ft

Running for the week consisted of a 2 mile run at (for me) a fast(ish) pace along a pretty flat route on the roads and just under 13 miles on the Sunday.

The run was along the North Downs Way and the trail had improved with the drier weather, but there were still sections of quite sticky mud and I ended up turning back along the section that runs just before you hit Oxted Downs. Where the ground is clay, it was like an ice rink with slippery wet clay meaning I was tip toeing along and I just decided that I would rather turn back and extend my run the other way or risk walking the whole of that part of the trail. As it was this decision was a good one as about 2 miles from home I got a call from my wife saying that one of my boys had caught that bug that his brother had been suffering with earlier that week, so I opted to cut the run short.

The stats from my run along the North Downs
The stats from my run along the North Downs

Although I had to cut things short I was pleased with my run, this was one of the first long runs where I had felt comfortable and felt as though I had the energy to keep going longer if I had wanted.

With a bit more confidence in my running and my Achilles seemingly sorted, I am looking forward to more long runs.

My training summary for this week
My training summary for this week

Training this week: 18/02/2013 – 24/02/2013

Didn’t get as much running done as planned this week, however I did manage to cycle 4 out of 5 days so covered around 90 miles over the week.

Running wise it was a 9.90 mile run over the Downs on a very cold day, with an icy wind that resulted in my fingers losing all sensation despite wearing gloves. I had planned on doing around 20 miles but a late start (and the cold if I am honest) resulted in me cutting things short.

On this run I also decided to try out the GoPro head strap that I purchased recently, to see what how the different perspective changes things. I have put together a short film taking various clips from my run and uploaded it to YouTube.

Also, Part 2 of the North Downs Way: Gravelly Hill to Botley Hill is also up.

Training wise, it dawned on me today that the NDW50 is only 12 weeks away and actual training has been pretty much non existent. I need to step things up now to be in with a chance of actually being fit enough to run it.

I have been looking online for a planning website where I can upload all my runs, plan future runs and training as well as nutrition. I happened across Training Peaks which does all of the above as well as including an Android App, however the free account you can only log historical activities and have to pay a premium ($19.95 per month) for all the planning features. At this stage I am not prepared to pay that much per month so will be using a website which I am already a member of, Good Run Guide.

Here you can still add training plans for all activities, not just running, but at the sacrifice of nutrition and an Android App (although they do have a web app which at first glance does the job).  I have added the activities that I would like to do on the planner and will be sticking to this, below is the next 4 weeks (The cycle to work may get replaced with a run here and there but that will be more of an ad hoc thing).

This is my plan for the next 4 weeks
This is my plan for the next 4 weeks

North Downs Way: Gravelly Hill to Botley Hill Part 1

As I mentioned in my Training Update this is something that I have wanted to do for a while, these videos shows the North Downs Way from Gravelly Hill to Botley Hill, two checkpoints for the Centurion Running North Downs Way 50 and 100

My idea was to try and help runners who won’t have the opportunity to run the route prior to the events by pointing out some of the key junctions along the way.

North Downs Way: Gravelly Hill to Botley Hill Part 1

This is not originally how I wanted to present this as I have had to cut all of the sped up sections inbetween to keep the file size down and I still need to edit and upload Part 2 but will get this on ASAP

My full plan is to film as much of the North Downs Way as possible and upload it to YouTube, so if viewers have any comments or feedback as how best to improve future videos let me know.

Filmed using a chest mounted GoPro HD Hero.

The map used, Harvey North Downs Way (West). Great map, all of the route in nice sections and waterproof.