Tag Archives: Running Injury

North Downs Way 100: Just over 2 weeks to go


Arghhhhhhh!!

Suffice to say I am nervous, this is quite simply going to be the toughest run of my life and is completely unknown territory. That said with the 7 P’s in mind (Proper Planning & Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance) I have been preparing my race plan, more on that a but further down.

Training:

Ankle still isn’t right and I have accepted that it won’t be 100% before the Ultra, so strapping it up with tape and being careful will be the order of the day. I have managed to get a long run in (well longish) a couple of weeks ago, running 30 miles on and around the North Downs. With the heat  we are getting at the moment I set off nice and early leaving the house around 5am, already by 9 it had become uncomfortably warm. Given I would need to carry a lot of water I had a hydration bladder in my UD Scott Jurek pack as well as the 2 600ml bottles, even with that I set my house as a checkpoint and ran a 16 mile out and back east bound on the downs, re-filled my fluids and headed out again for a 9 mile out and back west bound on the downs, then back again, re-filled and a further 5 miles.

From Runkeeper, shows my total time and elevation
From Runkeeper, shows my total time and elevation
Good run guide stats
Taken from GRG and shows the pace excluding stops, quite pleased with this overall. Also shows the shoes run in, New Balance Minimus Amp (My first run in them)

Another positive of this run was the  fact that this was the first run in my new New Balance Minimus Amp (MT1010) trainers and they performed admirably, no sore points at all. To run this distance in a new shoe and come out unscathed is a big plus and these are the trainers I will be tackling the 100 in.

The day after was a rest day and then it was back on the bike to and from work with a run at lunch on the Monday. Despite not doing a huge amount of running my recovery times seem to be coming right down and I can only assume its the cycling which is helping with this. Normal cycle commute for the rest of the week with another lunchtime run on the Friday and a 6.6 mile run on Sunday 21st.

The Pacing Plan
This is my planned paces for the different sections of the race
This is my planned paces for the different sections of the race

I am approaching this one differently than the 50 last year, where as that I was looking for an average pace across the whole distance, with the 100 I have broken each aid station down into a stage and pace each as needed.

You can see that from the start to Aid 1 I am aiming for 13:14/mi average then Aid 1 to Aid 2 a 14:06/mi and so on. With my Garmin at each checkpoint I will stop, save and reset for the next stage breaking it all down while keeping overall track of time on my normal watch. This way it keeps the event more mentally bearable, thinking of the next checkpoint and when there just thinking “only 10 miles to the next one” and so on.

Also I have a minimum pace, what is needed to keep within the 30 hour cut off. This is to help if things don’t go to plan and ensure I won’t be left wondering what to do if plan A goes out the window.

Nutrition

I haven’t finalised this aspect yet although I have most of my gels, electrolytes. I will be using the checkpoints for food as well as replenishing fluids and having bottles instead of a bladder (as in the 50) will make things easier.

Equipement

Got my shoes, got the clothing sorted, backpack and bottles all done. I have all the items for the minimum mandatory kit barring the Harveys East Map of the NDW (getting in a few days) and battery’s for my Headtorches.

In terms of planning, kit and nutrition I am pretty confident I have (and will) get it right, the unknown is if my body holds up and if I am mentally tough enough to push through the hurt and keep plodding forth.

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Training this week: 24/06/2013 – 30/06/2013


Update 01/07/2013: It’s actually 40 days away not 20, I was reading the wrong countdown! 40 days still isn’t long though but a lot better than 20. Post now corrected.

40 days
40 days!!

That’s how long until the North Downs Way 100!!!

This week has actually resembled something akin to actual training, my first proper week since being injured. Obviously with the TMW on the previous Saturday it wasn’t going to be a massive week for mileage, I am having to build myself back up.

Monday was a rest day as I had taken the extra day off work so spent it with the family. Tuesday it was back at work so a 11.5 mile cycle in the morning and a 12 mile cycle in the evening. My legs were still pretty sore from the marathon but the cycling actually helped to loosen everything up.

Wednesday the usual cycle but I have now started to run on my lunch break. I don’t have the time to do anything too long but can just about squeeze in 3-4 miles. This was the first run without any strapping on and although still sore my ankle held ok, it was road running so the risk is lowered. This was a fairly pacey run for me with 3.43 miles in 26:02.

Thursday again cycling and a lunchtime run, same route but I managed to get the time down to 25:32 which potentially is a new PB for a 5km run, which given the lack of any real speedwork (or training for that matter!) I was very pleased with.

Saturday was a long run across the North Downs, I was aiming for anything between 15 – 20 miles and ended up with 16.78 miles. I stopped to take pictures and enjoy the views so it wasn’t a quick one, also I still can’t dash down the technical trails so I am having to just plod along.

Good news is that I felt ok throughout the run and had plenty of energy at the end, so I am getting there but the question is can I get there in 20 days.

We shall see….

Below are some photos from Saturday:

North Downs Way near Woldingham School
North Downs Way near Woldingham School
I love the rolling fields
I love the rolling fields

View from NDW 3

Panoramic shot of the views from the North Downs Way
Panoramic shot of the views from the North Downs Way
Another Panoramic Shot, this is from the Oxted Downs
Another Panoramic Shot, this is from the Oxted Downs
Heading towards the Oxted Downs along a narrow uneven path
Heading towards the Oxted Downs along a narrow uneven path
Happy to be out running again
Happy to be out running again
A view from Gravelly Hill Viewpoint
A view from Gravelly Hill Viewpoint
The rabbit just stopped and let me grab a photo
The rabbit just stopped and let me grab a photo (although he is quite hidden)

 

Race Review: Trail Marathon Wales 2013


This was a race which wasn’t a race, I was going into this one having not run more than 4 miles in the last six weeks due to spraining my ankle at the beginning of May.

Set in Coed Y Brenin Forest Park it is one of the most spectacular runs I have done, hence why this is my second year participating.

A Google Earth Image giving an idea of the terrain
A Google Earth Image giving an idea of the terrain
The route from above with the hill profile
The route from above with the hill profile
Another take on the hill profile along with my pacing
Another take on the hill profile along with my pacing

Last year when I took part it was my first official marathon and I wanted to do my best, setting (a then) PB for a marathon distance race. Although I didn’t blaze along last year I did push myself as best I could, missing much of the views due to my head being down and me focusing on the next step and I knew that this year would be different.

This year was about getting round the course, using the opportunity to get back running, testing some kit and mentally checking if the NDW100 is still on the cards.

Waking up on the Saturday morning (we had stayed locally at the same place as last year, Heulwen Guest House which is a fantastic place to stay by the way) the forecast was for rain, not just drizzle but full on heavy rain.  This didn’t bother me a great deal as I was basically equipped for an Ultra so had everything I could need for any weather conditions.

Kit ready for the morning
Kit ready for the morning

The reason I had so much stuff was because not being able to run at any great pace I took the decision to treat the marathon as a training run, enjoying the views and experience as much as possible. With this in my head, it made the fact that I would struggle on the uneven terrain easier to deal with.

At the start line I was full of anticipation, Gareth had just left as he wasn’t due to start the half for another 30 minutes or so. With a gunshot the run started.

The runners gather for the start
The runners gather for the start

The first couple of miles is a gradual uphill so there is no real time to warm up and ease your legs into it, I have to say I felt this. My legs were tight and my ankle was letting me know it still wasn’t fully healed, happily though things level out (as much as they can) from 2-4 miles until the first big climb.

At mile 4 there is a climb, starting at about 800ft elevation and peaking a couple of miles later at 1,160ft. As this was the first proper walking hill (for me anyway) this was a good test of how cycling has helped, as ascending I felt strong and passed other people who were feeling the gradient. This changed as soon as we hit the descent and I realised the real impact of my injury, I couldn’t run steep downhills at all.

And now we go downhill
And now we go downhill

Mile 6 to about mile 7 you lose the height gained and quickly have another climb just before  mile 8. Climbing back up to about 1,120ft from mile 8 to 10 it’s all downhill, ending up at 480ft elevation and straight into another climb to get back all that hight over the next 4 miles, peaking at around 1,345ft.

Heading on up into the trees
Heading on up into the trees

The trend continued, feeling strong on the hills and gaining places back only to lose them on the downhills, particularly the technical trails. I would give way to people coming down and let them pass as I knew that I would just hold them up and I didn’t want to ruin anyones race.

Can't argue with the views, my Camera doesn't do it justice
Can’t argue with the views, my Camera doesn’t do it justice

I have to say that from about mile 14 onwards I was starting to get very tired and the thought did pop into my head saying “You should have dropped to the half” but I was here now so had to plod on (didn’t want to prove Gareth right anyway!)

This is pretty steep, both the marathon runners and half marathon runners had to tackle this beast
This is pretty steep, both the marathon runners and half marathon runners had to tackle this beast

I eventually crossed the line in 05:53:05 which is 30 minutes slower than last year (albeit the route is different) but I have to say overall I enjoyed it a lot more, partially because it meant more to actually finish but also I just enjoyed myself. Yes it was hard and more training prior to the run would have made it a bit more comfortable towards the end but I stopped to take photos when I wanted, took in the views and chatted to other runners and overall just absorbed the experience a whole lot more.

Just stopping to take a photo and absorb the beauty of the surroundings
Just stopping to take a photo and absorb the beauty of the surroundings
Another shot of the surroundings
Another shot of the surroundings
Should I sign up for this race?

If you are reading this and asking this question then I can whole heartedly say “yes you should”, be it the half or the full marathon you need to have done this at least once, the views alone make it worth it.

The organisation is very good, aid stations well stocked, marshalls encouraging and to top it off the goody bag is really good as well (Salomon Trail Access socks, T-Shirt, Magazine, Energy Bar, plus a water bottle at the end and an awesome finishers coaster).

The welcome sight of the aid station, gels, water, isotonic drink and jelly babies are the order of the day
The welcome sight of the aid station, gels, water, Isotonic drink and jelly babies are the order of the day

Matt Ward and his team have put on another fantastic event which I can only see getting better and better, the dates for 2014 are already out and we have already emailed Heulwen Guest House to book our accomodation, that’s how much I love this event!

Me plodding along. Photo taken by sportspicturescymru
Me plodding along. Photo taken by sportspicturescymru
Links

www.trailmarathonwales.com

www.sportpicturescymru.co.uk

www.forestry.gov.uk/coedybrenin

www.heulwen.co.uk

garethdaviespt.com/2013/06/24/trail-marathon-wales-2013

2 days to go….Trail Marathon Wales


With 2 days to go, I am hopeful. My ankle has been steadily improving and although it is probably a bit silly to run a marathon I need to do it, I need to know that I can still run a reasonable distance if I am going to keep with the planned 100 in August.

We are heading up tomorrow morning so packing has started tonight and the picture below may look like a bit overkill (I hope I don’t end up needing a compass!) but the plan for this marathon is to run it Ultra Equipped, in fact the only thing I don’t have with me is the headtorch, back up light and maps.

Getting my kit ready for the Trail Marathon Wales
Getting my kit ready for the Trail Marathon Wales

The place we are staying has WiFi if I remember correctly so hopefully I will be able to upload some pictures that night. The forecast is for heavy rain so my new Montane jacket is going to get a thorough test.

Training Update: 27/05/2013 – 02/06/2013


Well I am still not running, my ankle although improved doesn’t feel up to the task of running yet. I am hoping that another week and I will be able to go out for a short run, I don’t want to risk anything with the TMW so close so if I have to leave it right to the last-minute then so be it.

The weeks training
The weeks training

Fortunately I am still cycling and as the running has reduced I have ramped up the intensity a bit. Monday being a bank holiday I decided to go out a short 9.92 mile ride (this was a recovery ride from the 2 sessions I had over the weekend, a 14 mile and 8 mile). Tuesday I wasn’t actually going to ride but a friend at work convinced me to join in on a TT in the local area.

This was my first competitive road cycle and I was a little apprehensive as I know I am not the quickest rider out there. It was organised by BEC cycling club (http://www.beccyclingclub.co.uk/) and had a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. After everyone arrived at the meeting point we headed to the start and I had the pleasure of being released second. The start of the route was an uphill which immediately sapped the strength in my legs, my thoughts at that point being “If I am hurting now………”. Fortunately the gradient became more forgiving and a downhill followed. Pushing myself as best I could I maintained a fairly good pace (for me) and the I continued along the course pushing on the uphill and trying to maximise the downhills.

Despite my efforts I did get overtaken by three riders who set off after me, but came in at a reasonable 37:05 (which wasn’t last place)

The stats from the BEC TT along with teh route map
The stats from the BEC TT along with the route map

The rest of the week consisted of my commutes to and from work and another training ride at a quicker pace on the Saturday.

Despite all the cycling, I still don’t think it is something I would take up seriously, I love running too much. Cycling you can’t let your mind wander, just letting yourself get in the zone and I miss that, that’s the aspect of running I love the most. But it is serving its purpose, I am keeping my fitness up and hopefully will be able to complete the marathon in 20 days time.