6 weeks, 6 consecutive training days, a change to usual running apparel and a new source for motivation
This week should have logically been less strenuous than the previous few weeks. I wouldn’t have excessive weather conditions to deal with and also had less work and social commitments than the previous fortnight. Whilst it would be an exaggeration to say this was one of the tougher weeks of preparing for this race. It certainly was tougher than anticipated.
I took Sunday off then did my usual 5.4 mile loop for the first 3 days. These were at a good pace and I tried wearing sunglasses for the first time this year. My evening run on Wednesday was marred by some attention of about 12 teenage girls waving and overzealously saying hi on their way home from school as I ran past. Despite this, I reluctantly still intend on wearing them during my training. The weather on Thursday didn’t allow for this as it was very overcast and the sunglasses I have, make everything gloomy enough without additional help.
My 2 laps of 5.4 miles that day were quite settled. I exchanged waves with fellow runners and managed to maintain the same pace for both laps. There is definitely something easier about doing the first lap when you know you have another one to come after. I think it is something to do with raised expectations. Certainly from the longer training runs I have done since moving up from marathon distance, I have found the earlier part of them easier than I did the same distance as part of my marathon training.
I did 10.8 miles on the treadmill on Friday and struggled with this more than any other run this week. I felt sluggish for about 9 of them and had a general lack of enthusiasm. My aunt had given me 2 carb gels and a sachet of 4:1 protein drink mix, presumably meant to last me for 2-3 training runs. These just about got me through the duration of this run and I did the last 20 minutes without any of the gels/drink left.
I finished the week with a 7.5 mile run near my house. Unfortunately the start of this continued similarly to Friday and it felt like I still had the handbrake on! Judging by the pace I finished at, it never really went all the way back down but I was pleased with my perseverance to get the mileage I needed for the week.
It is now 20 weeks since the last time I ran less than the race distance over the course of a week. Presuming I can maintain this up to race week, I’ll be pleased to have maintained this consistency over 6 months. There is a Facebook group for the race (link at top of this blog), which recently put up that finishers get 2 “UTMB” points.
After some research I found this is shorthand for Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc. These are 5 races organised by The North Face that pass through Italy, Switzerland and France. The main one is 166km and most runners take over 20 hours to complete this. If everything goes to plan next month and I can complete a similar race of 70-80km next year, this would give me enough points to qualify for the 101km “little sister” race in 2017 that still passes through all 3 countries. Admittedly it is still early days but I’ve always believed there is a far greater danger in not having a goal than having an ambitious one and falling short.