This is the next chapter in my progression within running.
I have been fairly active since my late teens and also done a bit of fell running over the last couple of years. Therefore it may seem ironic that I class this as my first year of running.
This is because I have never just focussed on running before. Whereas since before I took part in the Highland Fling this year I have literally been immersed in it. I have John Kynaston to thank for this. His was the first blog I’d ever read and was done so in preparation for that run.
Despite various injuries I have been reading around the subject at every opportunity I’ve had. In fact, to be honest, my distance learning honours degree really suffered as a result. Hopefully the good work I put in up to April will see me through this year though.
About 15 weeks ago I got into running again, albeit tentatively. This time with programme at the ready I also armed myself with a training log. Both were self made.
The goal? A winter attempt at the West Highland Way.
It wasn’t meant to pan out this way but the programme isn’t set in stone. I have changed it regularly and will probably continue to do so. Flexibility i.e. the ability to change things around is key, so too is my adopted ethos of prioritising certain sessions e.g. the LSD and SM runs.
To recap on where I was within this progression and the things I found out, please refer to my previous blog on this topic.
In short; at the end base training phase my pace averaged;
· LSD = 8:20min/miles
· UT = 7:10min/miles
· SM = 7:10min/miles (with a 17lb pack on). I hadn’t done any SM training runs without a pack on.
Since then I have upped the weekly mileage and the intensity. I have done this by simply adding 2No. 75% (of maximum heart rate) effort runs of around 7 miles each and added another couple of easy/recovery 4 milers done at around a 67/8% effort.
I have also increased the length of my LSD and now binned wearing a pack on my SM run.
My weekly mileage is now up to 75. I’d like to be able to do more but I feel this is about as much as I can do in 2011 without stepping into the realms of overtraining. The good thing about this is that the quality and quantity of this year’s mileage will simply allow me to do slightly more next year, the year after and so on.
So where am I now?
· LSD = 8 min/miles
· Recovery = 7:45 min/miles
· Tempo (75%) = 7:30 min/miles
· UT (85%) = 6:50 min/miles
· SM = 6:30min/miles
I am reasonably happy with how things are going but keep wondering what my pace would be like if I wasn’t fatigued i.e. how would I get on with some peaking, recovery and tapering. The progression is also notably slowing!
At first glance the pace of my recovery runs look odd because these are done at the same intensity as my LSD. However, the lack of hills on my recovery runs would account for the quicker pace.
Also, if I’m brutally honest I’m unhappy with my SM pace even though it is done on a route with two long uphills. Not that they’re of any significant ascent. I suppose this is where owning a Garmin would come in handy! However, it’s not as if I’m doing any structured speedwork. There’s time for that. The thing is I know I am capable of running close to 5:30min/miles for this sort of distance as I’ve done it in the past – albeit when I wasn’t training for an ultra.
Oh, the beetroot juice; on one hand I think it works and on the other I just don’t know. This is probably one of those things that is going to take a lot longer than a few weeks to get to the bottom of. I’ve had problems with my intestine of late which has thrown a spanner in this mini experiment.
The good news is that for the only SM run which I took it for I recorded the time above – on this run I was able to maintain an intolerable intensity the whole way. However, I have no way of knowing if it was my brain that helped me achieve this or the beetroot juice. I’m not so sure about the assistance its producers seem to claim regarding the LSD effort run. Again, time will tell.
So where too for this experiment now? Well I’ve just finished my recce of the West Highland Way (report to follow) so I now have a rough idea of what to expect. My attempt will be on 9th December so I have roughly 7 and a half weeks to go.
I plan to crank out some more weeks of high mileage – after a couple of days of recovery. I’ll then recover/cross train for a week and then set into three weeks of speed/specific training (with a reduction in mileage). Then it’ll be a week of recovery and a week of taper before the attempt.