The Daft 5k Challenge – Week 2

Core consistency. Perhaps.

Core consistency. Perhaps.

Update two? I’m as surprised as you are!

Jamie: This week has been strange for me, with life getting in the way of my training once again. I thought that was finished with 2020. Either way, I mostly only managed quality sessions this week, so my training plan looked more like Alex’s than my proposed high volume method.

My running included an easy 10k, a decent speed session on a treadmill and a tempo run. The speed session saw reps of x2 1ks, x2 800metres and x2 400 metres with an easy warm up and warm down. As an aside, mentally it’s much nicer to have a descending distance to target. 400 metre sprints seem almost easy after the 1kms! I did increase the speed as I went down this particular ladder though. You can be very specific about the speeds you target in your training plans if you have a target time, but I played this very much by feel. Sometimes it’s nice not to look at data! The tempo run was a decent session outside, wrapped into a 10k run. I’ve been doing a lot of treadmill running recently and it’s nice to get out and about. Our local trail running routes have been trashed a little by the weather, so isn’t easy going, but fun nonetheless.

I also had two sessions on the bike (Zwift): one recovery ride and then a hill session up a virtual Box Hill. Not sure I want to try it in reality, with Zwift reducing the difficulty relative to real life by 50%. I’m sure I’ll get better.

I feel like my core and stretch workouts were more accomplished. I tried some specific kettle bell exercises, which will hopefully contribute to a more healthy core if I’m continue with them. Specifically: sumo squats, deadlifts, some side leans and some snatches. Taken in isolation, that sentence reads a little weird? The drills I mentioned last week also felt helpful. They weren’t particularly lengthy, but I think consistency will be key.

The next week is key and will be my last chance to get some speed in the legs and then an extreme taper of 2-3 days rest. Oh joy.

Alex: I must say I’ve been finding it a bit hard to motivate myself this week. Not so much with the training – I’m actually always up for doing my planned sessions. No, my issue has been mostly with just getting up in time. Sign of the times probably.

Anyway, my 3 running sessions went well – in so far as I did them and felt relatively smug about having done so afterwards. I do still feel exceedingly slow – especially in the tempo sessions. All 3 of my training sessions are very approachable, but still leave me with a soupçon of dread when approaching the final couple of intervals – which I think is about the right level of tuning.

For the indoor bike sessions this week I went with a couple of different sessions – owing to forgetting to charge the Apple Watch (not actually used outside of these Fitness + sessions). For my first session I went with a Les Mills RPM session. Back when we were allowed in physical proximity of others when exercising I did a couple of these sessions a week. They are heavily choreographed and favour lots of short, sharp bursts of activity. In a gym environment this worked well as you kind of feed off the other riders in the session. At home RPM is still a good workout – but I don’t hit the same level of exertion for some reason. I think perhaps the focus becomes more on being ‘in time’ with the music, rather than the pseudo-competitive workout against your compatriots alongside you.

For the second session I tried a wholly new app to me – WithU. I was surprised to find that there was no video. What would I look at for 40+ minutes?! I almost flaked out and ran back to the comfort of the Les Mills app – however, I thought some change would be good for me. The workout was a lot more of a ‘standard’ indoor cycle session – some interval speed-work mixed with some drawn-out hill climbs. Once I got past the fact that I had no visual stimulus I got into the workout pretty easily. The instructions were clear – if requiring a bit more attention that normal – as you can’t just look to see if you’re supposed to be in a ‘standing’ or ‘seated’ position. I don’t think I had a high level of exertion on that workout – but I think adjusting to the audio-only instruction and get in the zone would be easier after a couple of more times.

One thing in the Apple Fitness+ camps favour is the heart-rate linkup that does give you an easy focus to try and keep up in the rankings. Being compared to others does seem to get past the ‘so what is this about?’ to ‘ok, I’m gonna go 100%!’.

Hopefully this is actually proving useful training, as I’m actually not doing any of the core training I said I would… maybe next week. Perhaps.

The Daft 5k Challenge – Week 1 Update

Good news! Not injured yet.

Good news! Not injured yet.

This is the first update for our Daft 5k January Challenge – you may want to go back and read our intro first!

Jamie: My high volume & high risk strategy appears to be going well, although I’ve missed one training session (long bike) and the distance is a little short. But on the upside, I’ve hit 40km of running in the first week and fit in three quality sessions: tempo, speed and a bike HIIT. These sessions are essential this month. Normal training blocks are 10-12 weeks, so three weeks of training and a week of tapering isn’t likely going to be enough to beat my PBs without pushing it a bit on the speed front.

First learn: know what core work and appropriate stretching is before writing it in your training plan. Sounds like a great idea and advised by many, but I wasn’t exactly sure what composed a good stretch workout. A few youtube videos later gave me a few ideas, but definitely something to work on. Second: I’ll be looking to incorporate some drills a couple of times a week before my easy runs. Good for stretching and warming up apparently. I almost feel like I know what I’m doing?

A lot of my running this week has been on Zwift, which definitely isn’t because of the weather and perhaps waking up a bit late. It’s made pounding the treadmill running a bit more interesting and we even popped on for a brief moment to “assist” Eddie Izzard on her way to completing her ninth marathon in nine days. Fair play to her! It was mildly amusing to see her Zwift avatar with a big huddle of other runners following along. The odd cyclist stopped by for a gawp as well. With another 22 marathons to go in January, it really puts our 5k shenanigans in perspective. Perhaps we need to be more daft??

Alex: Intervals. So many intervals.

I stuck somewhat to my plan – doing a tempo run and 2 interval sessions. It struck me whilst running one of the tempos that, at these paces, they’re actually just an interval training session in disguise. So, essentially I’m just doing 3 interval sessions a week – who knows, perhaps that’ll work?

After an initial tempo run on Monday I was looking forward to a bit more of a varied workout before my straight-up 6x2min interval session on Wednesday. Loading up the first 45min indoor cycle workout on Apple Fitness+ I was welcomed with ‘Hi Team, today we’re going to be doing 20 intervals’. Oh well… suck it up and focus on getting through them I suppose!

For Thursday’s bike session I purposefully selected a hill session. Again this turned out to be an interval session (just on a higher resistance). Ok, so 5 interval sessions a week must be the secret to success, eh?

Friday was my first frosty run in a while! The 3×1-2-3 intervals weren’t too bad – mostly avoiding slipping was the main concern. One deviation from my thoroughly researched workout plan was the progressive… something… distance? (the training where you just run basically). Rather than adding on an additional 5k to each run session I have just been rounding the session up to 10k – because that’s probably enough, eh?

As per my summer exploits I’m taking the weekends off. Woohoo!

The Daft 5k January Challenge

Surely 2021 will be better than 2020? Let’s check with a daft challenge.

I’ve been talking about improving my 5k time for a while; years even. How long has Parkrun been a thing? God I’m getting old. With all the happenings in 2020, our race-focused training plans (i.e. we just run races!) had been ruled out and left us a bit of a loss. Thankfully we’ve had some virtual races to focus on, but these were all distance-related. With a new and hopefully better year upon us, I feel the need for some speed!    

So here is the challenge: we run a 5km time trial on the 1st January which will give us a target to beat. We then have one month to improve on this time as much as possible, using whatever methods, substances (ahem…legal) or training plans we can get our hands on. The next time trial will be on the 31st January. Alex: en garde!!!   

Opening Gambit

Alex: 

Having spent most of the holiday period sat watching Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman doing ludicrous challenges across the world in various directions it’s only fitting that I perhaps accept this seemingly more sensible challenge put forward by Jamie.  

Aiming to get the first time in the books as early as possible I hit the road straight after getting up on New Year’s Day – a spritely 11:14am.  I believe that pushing my boundaries in this fashion will eventually allow me to take part in some of the events that require participants to start at 3am.  

With temperatures hovering around freezing, and having had a lacklustre workout schedule since clocking a time of 22:51 at the end of June, I took off without much hope of achieving anything near that. A proper warmup would probably have been a good idea, however my primarily aim was just getting back home to the warm by 12:00. 

In the spirit of the challenge, I set out to do my best, running at a fairly chirpy pace for someone who was, moments before, curled up in a more horizontal position. About 600m in I realised that this was a stupid challenge and running is a thoroughly daft past-time, however held my resolve to continue to log an appropriate starting time. 

About halfway I realised my pacing was dropping to above 5min/km and the likelihood of getting below 25mins was slipping out of reach. The uncomfortable sensation of cold air in my lungs and legs that hadn’t been asked to move this quickly for 6 months was starting to grate on my resolve. Looking to still give my best I pushed and managed to make back some time – feeling thoroughly sick at the end of a 100m ‘sprint’ to the finish. My last-ditch attempt to make up some time paid off and I clocked in an opening time of 25:03.  

Jamie: 

After Alex’s sterling performance, the pressure was on. To add to my joy, it started raining sleet just as I popped my head out the door. I employed a different strategy to Alex, adding in a warm-up, but this was with the sneaky intention of starting on top of a hill (sorry Alex!). This paid off initially and I clocked a speedy 4:37 first km, but things went downhill swiftly (or slowly?) from here. Three of the remaining kms were slower than the previous one by 15-20 seconds as I did the dictionary definition of going out too quickly. My last km was 5:32… I eventually managed to gasp to a 25:13 5km time with first honours going to Alex. Curses!! 

That aside, there are definitely things to improve on. I feel like a warm-up is a must: one shouldn’t go at race pace for a 5km from a cold start. However, the first km was obviously too quick and I suffered as a result. Starting at 5-minute pace would have given me a bit more in the tank at the end and would have made for a more pleasant experience.        

The Master Plan

Alex: 

I probably should have looked into this before running the first run, but I guess it doesn’t matter. Anyway, in the spirit of laziness I am simply googling “workouts to improve 5k time” and the suggested link is from Runner’s World – “Run a Faster 5K With These 5 Fun Interval Workouts” posted in September. This seems promising in that (1) Runners World is a pretty decent publication  (2) the word ‘Fun’ is in the title and (3) There are only 5 of them and I have a poor attention span. Seems like a winner on the first search term hit – huzzah! 

I did also have a look at the Garmin Connect ‘Coach’ plans – but these all expected 2-3months of time to work their magic. The one I tried back at the start of lockdown was pretty good – and highlighted some of the great workout features of my Garmin 245, but Jamie’s challenge does not allow for such an extended period of training. 

Right, so the RW article gives us 3 types of workout to work with: intervals, tempo and progressive endurance. 

Intervals 

 The article recommends transitioning through a few interval workouts (1-minute, 2-minute and 1-2-3). As I’m short on time I’ll skip any 1-minute intervals and just dive straight to the 2-minute ones as… well… I have no real basis for this but longer must be better – eh? I’ll also do a 1-2-3 session once a week as well. 

Tempo 

Chuck one of these in a week midweek – boom. I guess I’d aim to hit a red-zone tempo of around 4:45-5:15. 

Progressive Endurance 

Rather than doing any progressive endurance training – I’ll tack on a 5k at the end of each training session at an easy pace. 

Overall 

So, this looks like 3xRuns a week – all of them have been certified as ‘Fun’ by Runners’ World, which is good enough for me! (although, to be fair I have modified them slightly, so any lack of ‘fun-ness’ will be my own doing I suppose).

I’ll aim to supplement this training with some core work and maybe some bike training – for a total of 5-6 workouts a week. This should mean that I have a rest day or two each week– hurray! 

Jamie: 

My top end 5k PB is 22:15, but this was technically my 5km split during a 10km race. My quickest official 5km time is around 24 minutes at our local Parkrun, so these two figures will be my base and outperforming targets. Easy right? So we have one month to work some magic. I feel relatively confident that I can take a minute off my benchmark time with some focused training, with two potential risks: I overtrain and don’t rest enough; and that I don’t apply the right intensity during my speed work. A fine line to balance and I’ll likely have to rejig my strategy as we progress (or perhaps when I get broken!). 

The principles will be similar to Alex’s plan, but most of my running will be easy. The core of each week will be: 

  • 4 easy runs c6:30km pace of varying distance 
  • 1 tempo run at around 5:20 to 5:30 
  • 1 speed specific workout (swapped out for a hill run session on one week) 
  • 1 longish bike ride 
  • 1 recovery bike session  
  • 1 HIIT bike ride at varying intensity 
  • 1 core strength workout 
  • 1 session focused on stretching     

It’s important to note that I gradually built up to 5-6 runs a week over a few months, so I’m not doing this from a standing start. The last week will be tapered with a couple of easy runs and a final tempo run. 

This seems a lot to pack in, but the only really intense workouts will be the speed/ hill run and the bike HIIT. For the rest I’ll be aiming for a low heart rate. It will be interesting to see if this works at all. Perhaps I’ll get to the end of this training having missed out on more speed work? 

We shall see…

Polar virtue

North Pole adventuring without the polar bears

As per the chat on the podcast, here’s a link to the North Pole challenge. You have until the 15th December to sign-up! Which is…tomorrow… :-S It also has a neat graphic where you can track your progress. Love a bit of marketing.

We went with the Norway route: “Set off from Orca Camp on Nordaustlandet, part of the stunning Norwegian Svalbard archipelago – famous for its Polar Bears and an array of Arctic wildlife. We don the snow shoes and head due North for a short, sharp, hop across the frozen ocean.”

This is around 100km, but we didn’t realise that your mileage for the month is already accounted for if you link your Strava account. Otherwise we would have been a bit more ambitious.

We started June with an Ultra Challenge and I only just scraped the 100km, with a cheeky injury. Let’s see if we can double it in December.

Blazing a trail

Is trail running for you? Yes. It is!

I’ve spent a long time trying to get better at running, hampered by a poor diet and other lifestyle choices that don’t correspond with fitness excellence. My previous strategy has been to indulge in one long run a week, say twenty to forty kilometers depending on my next event, and then some cross-training like HIIT classes, spinning or pool swimming. While I made slow improvements and completed all the events I set my mind to, I wasn’t making the vast jumps in ability that others seemed to make. I was also spending lots of time recovering after the long runs! But that’s fine; we can’t always prioritise these things and managing life can divert you for very good reasons.

This is why I’m writing this post. Earlier in the year, in the nacense of the pandemic, we’d completed a 50k ultra race in addition to a couple of exploratory long runs around London. That put my total distance at around 140km for both January and March, which is the furthest I’d run on a monthly basis for a long time. The omens for the rest of the year were good! But….2020….amiright!?! As lockdown hit, all our plans for races were cancelled (understandably) and we were at a loss. The races and the social part afterwards were always the draw for me. Would I have to start looking at…training more (eww)?

Joking aside, many people have taken the opportunity to reset their training. Why not me? I did a bit of reading, listened to some experts and seized on an idea. To get better at running, I needed to up my mileage. Not a surprising concept! At the same time virtual races started popping up as race organisers pivoted in reaction to the new environment. One of particular interest was created by Ultra Challenge (Boost it for June) and featured a number of different distances to run from 50 to 500km, with the reward of a colorful buff. I went for 100km, but with a target to hit 150km. Rather than going for a few huge runs, I thought I’d spread out the pain over the week and incorporate some speed runs as well; definitely not something I’d done for a few years with my focus on long and slow!

It started well and I hit 24km in the first week and 34km in the second week. Come the third week however I started to feel my bones creaking with another 37km down. I limped through one more run to get over the 100km target (I wanted that buff!) and marked myself as too injured to continue. I found this a bit disheartening: I had done less distance with more frequent running, but couldn’t get near the 140km I ran in January and March.

Time for a re-think

I know the guilty party. Myself obviously. I don’t have the greatest running form and I’m not exactly light and dainty. All my longer runs usually occur on trail with a few kms on concrete to get out into the countryside. I tend to run shorter distances on concrete paths through local parks. Upping the distance on this surface had horribly backfired. This also wasn’t the first time I had learned this lesson! Road marathon training a few years back had given the same result: a sore knee and a dodgy hip before I then graduated to trail marathons and ultra-marathons.

I did some research on Garmin Connect and checked out the local heat maps, working out how I could fit in as little road running as possible. Once I’d recovered a bit, I started again with a renewed focus. All my runs would be at a relaxed pace on trails and I would cut out the speed work until I could sustain a higher mileage. July saw 84km as I eased myself back into running, 100km in August and 117km in September. Quite slow increases, but sustainability was my focus.

Success!

Thankfully it seems to have worked. I recently hit my first 40km week since I last ran an ultra-marathon. I also feel fine with no aches or pains, as opposed to how I feel normally after that much running! I put most of that down to running on trails at a relaxed pace. Now I can focus on adding longer/ quicker runs and upping my mileage more. Definitely worth a go if you keep picking up injuries.

Extrinsic Motivation

Reaching month 3 of lockdown meant that it was 4 months since our last event. The volume of training therefore went down quite steeply as the call to be prepared to run any distance at all for what seemed like a longer and longer time seemed to be near silent. Running events we were psyching ourselves up to for months were postponed indefinitely or cancelled.

It’s at times like these when external (extrinsic) motivations can really help. Groups of friends keeping everyone up with their latest 3-figure distance accomplishments – whether that be over weeks or months.

For June we both signed up to cover distances as part of the Ultra Challenge ‘Boost it for June’ virtual event.

For me this meant having to push a decent distance 5x a week – basically a jolly enhancement to my work-week that necessitated waking up earlier. Still not particularly early mind you – just earlier than rolling out of bed a 5-to-9 to log in.

Having this extra bit of motivation helped me actually get up and get some decent miles in over the month – especially as the event allowed you to log your activity through a Strava group, so knowing the results were being published up there meant there was a step that one felt obliged to log the committed distance.

As it starts to look more likely that we won’t be seeing any in-person events this side of autumn in the UK – perhaps a few more more virtual community events could be the answer to keeping us all logging the higher mileages throughout the summer!

(PS – remember to stay hydrated!)

Getting into Running

As I write this, we in the UK have been ‘social distancing’ under lockdown for about 2 months. Right at the start there were plenty of people using their once-a-day outside allowance to attempt to start running, good on them.

Obviously, being the keen ultra-distance machine that I am, I did not lose pace. I kept doing the high level cardio and long weekend runs and staying in tip-top shape. OK, so I didn’t. For the first month or so, I did pretty much nothing.

Regular listeners may have heard us say on one occasion or other ‘running is terrible’. Honestly, I’m not lying – there are times when it is really dreadfully dull and painful.

Why bother?

This is a question I’ve asked myself often – worrying if it’s simply ego trying to make out I’m better that others. But, honestly it is the sense of exploration, achievement with some camaraderie thrown in for good measure.

But you cannot do that without actually practicing some running.

Get going!

First, decide what you are doing this for. Just exercise? Some form of meditative practice? From experience it helps massively to have a reason to get out there – and make sure it’s specific.

What do you need?

Well, there are plenty of articles out there around shoe choice, etc. But first off… just go out in some vaguely appropriate clothing and, you know, run. Head out, walk around a bit and start to bring up your pace into a jog and then a run but – and this is key – run only about HALF as far as you think you could and HALF as hard you think you can. If you really aren’t in…optimal…shape, let’s say, you’ll notice this immediately – 10 meters too much? Well done, walk it out a bit more and plan to go out again in a couple of day’s time.

Super excited and want more? Great, have a look at training and aspirational event videos on youtube – perhaps even listen to a few of our episodes where we talk about training and recovery. Don’t go crazy and run 2x a day, don’t just buy a whole load of running gear which you may not even use.

After you’ve got into the swing of things, say a couple of runs a week for a month or two, maybe you’ll notice more where you have some discomfort. Great news, now you get to go shopping!

Guide me, oh master!

Head to a running shop and use the knowledge you have gained from your own running practice to help pick out your shoes, with the help of the shoe guru in the shop (perhaps try a couple of places). Skip all the expensive socks and that – just go to Sports Direct/Decathlon/TK Maxx or whatever for anything that isn’t shoes. At this stage, your shoes should be far and away the most expensive kit, by maybe 5-10x the next expensive piece of kit you have. If you have a £8 pair of shorts, maybe you’re spending up-to £80 on some fancy shoes. (I wouldn’t, because I’m too tight).

Note – you may have heard I run in barefoot shoes, because I’m freaking amazing. Honestly, I prefer barefoot running but think it may not be the best place to start – but if you want to try it out, see if you can find a barefoot coach/mentor around you.

Running Friends

You’ll probably want to do this before you complete the shopping phase – but we all know you won’t because we are living in a material world and I am… certain you’ll want to indulge in some consumer therapy.

Anyway, yes find some friends who like to run, or groups online or at the pub… you don’t have to do anything as crass as actually run with them, but it helps you get a bit more immersed in the hobby and move you more towards your goal. Enthusiasm breeds progress, and podcasts.

Final thoughts

As we move out of lockdown, there are going to be people who started out with good intentions – taking the once-a-day exercise rules who perhaps gave up once it became hard. There are going to be those who stayed in for most of the lockdown and are perhaps now lower in the fitness spectrum than they were going in. Finally, those who want to use the post-lockdown experience as a time to enjoy the freedom.

Whatever the case, find your adventure and work towards it. Sometimes that means you’ll have to run, so lets get going!

Training for the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge

Well. It’s happened. We’re finally following a ‘proper’ training programme. Not sure what’s come over us…

Or perhaps I am sure and this is actually a sensible reaction. We’ve decided to run the Isle of Wight Ultra Challenge, which features a tough 106km route round the coast of the Isle of Wight with 2,000 metres of climbing (paraphrasing the website). In an effort to not completely fail, we thought it might be sensible to actually do some more regimented training.

Interestingly the race does frame expectations of finishing on the website:

  • Runners – 9 to 16 hours
  • Joggers – 16 to 20 hours
  • Walkers – 20 to 36 hours

I hope we fall into the first category, but we’ll see! So how does one find a training programme to follow? There are many books, advice from peers and the Internets, but we’ve gone for the easy route: a 16-week plan from the organisers that they kindly sent to all entrants.

The format of the plan is structured around three-to-five runs a week of varying intensity with two core strength sessions. The runs are split between hill reps, tempo runs, mid-range runs at a comfortable pace, longer runs at an ultra-pace on trails and an easy recovery run the day after. The recovery run then gradually builds as the plan continues until it peaks at week 14 on 30kms. It all seems a bit perverse at this point, but let’s see how it goes.

Just to mix it up at week 2, we’re looking to run a local 50 km trail run. Specifically the Cold Christmas 50k which is a self-navigating race.

WeekWeekly KMs
145
248
353
456
562
620
769
878
983
1020
1187
1290
1397
14100
1520
16RACE WEEK! (108kms)

I personally won’t be able to stick to the specific days and training sessions, but as long as i do the weekly distance, it will probably work. The other interesting thing to point out are the two points where the distance falls to 20km, likely to allow the old legs to recover.

I fully expect to injure myself at some point either way. Oh well.

Upping the Daft Ante

Looking back to last year, various points this year, and now, even, I recall stating quite clearly that I would no longer be attempting anything longer than a marathon. Yet I have just finished trying to work out when I need to pack up my bag with the essential kit listed in the pre-race e-mail for the 50-kilometre Ultra Tour of Edinburgh. If this was the be-all and end all then one may conclude that I was just trying to make the best use of the Rat Race Events Season ticket we purchased for 2019 – after all, wasn’t that why we did the 60-mile Ultra Tour of Arran? Actually, I think that was Jamie’s daft idea… But, no, the 50k event coming up this weekend is in-fact not the daftest thing about this week.

The daftest thing I’ve done this week was enter the doubly-long Isle of Wight Challenge. Again.

Having somehow concluded that my withdrawal from the event in 2017 somewhere around the 80-kilometer mark meant there was ‘unfinished business’ I have gone all Rocky 2 on the situation and re-entered the 2019 bout.

Having now read the synopsis of Rocky 2 (as I’ve not seen it in a very long time) I realise that I am actually being Apollo Creed. Creed is the one that feels like the ‘business is unfinished’ and begging for the rematch that – spoiler alert – doesn’t end well for him. Aww nuts.

Anyway – so whilst this race is only 10km more than the event completed earlier this year on Arran it is a 1-day event rather than 2. Perhaps this time I should pay more attention to those 100km training guides I found before… or just stick to spin classes and pull-ups.

Onward to Arran!

Let’s assess what I said I would do:

1. Assuming I can manage 20miles/week on my first week back comfortably I should be fine. If I’m really struggling then there will need to be some re-consideration on my part. 

2. I will probably need to up my distance more rapidly than the guides stipulates three weeks in to ‘catch-up’; but this I’ll have to keep an eye on.  

3. Get some actual yoga sessions in.

4. Get a flu shot.

Me, 13th January 2019

OK – so I didn’t do 20miles/week on my first week back. Perusing the training forum I don’t think I clocked a 20mile week until w/c 4th February – almost a month later.

The following statement probably sums up my training: 

Was supposed to run 20mi on the weekend (like 10mi/day) – but spent Saturday hung over then Sunday I…just didn’t. 

Me, 4th February 2019

Or this one:

My plan for this morning to do a 20miler went out the window as I was supremely hungover and did not get out of bed until 1400… 

Me, 23rd February 2019 

That said, the day after saying this I did do 28miles (although 10 of that was walking…). That made my first 20mile+ week! (I think, I was a bit too lazy to actually check all the numbers).

Now, I did say some re-consideration may be needed on my part. Sensibly, yes – daftly, no. Last week I did manage 20mi/13mi back-to-back. Although none of the races we’ve done so far have been over a marathon distance… actually…I don’t think I’ve done a marathon yet this year…oh dear… 

Erm. 

OK, anyway – looking at the cut-off times for the Ultra Tour of Arran, they are 12hrs/day and right now I feel that I am able to comfortably meet that timing. Although I will not be running the whole thing. Sorry – but I think a heavy amount of walking will be on the menu.  

But, surely on the other 3 points I’ve done better? Based on the above I think we can skip over point #2 and get straight onto yoga! 

Well, whilst I didn’t go to a tonne of yoga classes I did spend lots of time stretching – until early March. At this point I started having some knee problems and calf issues. So, I’ve cut back on stretching, focusing instead on cross training on the bike (lots of spinning) in the last weeks leading up to the event.

Also, I didn’t get a flu shot. 

Ok, so I’m batting 0/4 going into the first ultra-marathon of the year. But, based on my running to date I am confident I will be able to complete it through adequate pacing. Two weeks to go, yay…

Don’t try this at home…