OK, so this might be a little late, but lets gloss over that and think about where we are at.
December started in lockdown (due to COVID-19) but quickly saw restrictions lifted, random tier systems in place, and Christmas looming on the horizon.
December from a training perspective mostly looked like speed work. Weekly workout sessions focussing on the 5 minute workout sessions. Krissy Moehl (whose training plan I am following) has the 5 minute workout plan as a key speed session component. Running at 80% ash of maximum ability for 5 minutes with recovery. In December this was mostly 1 minute recoveries, and replication was 5 reps, 6 reps and then 7 reps. The month ended with a recovery week. Now with Christmas in the month and the things that go with it – even with COVID – I knew that I would probably drop a few sessions and so it worked out. Im a frustrated runner when I don’t run, I know I’m also bad at hiding that – I must work on it!! So missing a few sessions tugs at this and annoys me. But it was only a couple and a few sessions don’t destroy a training program that last bet part of a year!
What did December bring. Well it took me just over 200 miles (by a smidge).
So happy with that.
Speed session info:
Session 1 – Pyramid session 1,2,3,4,3,2,1 minute with recoveries. Good session and achieved some good sub 6 min.mile pace on the downward number.
Session 2 – 5 minute reps – 6 reps 6:10 – 6:25 min/mile pace range
Session 3 – 5 minute reps – 7 reps 6:10 – 6:33 min/mile pace range
Overall I also achieved my 3rd fastest 10 Km time and this was a nice surprise.
Not everyone thinks speed sessions are worthwhile when training for Ultras. For me I think speed sessions are about fitness, cardiac ability and recovery. These all work for Ultra training. I’m not looking to be a sprinter or fast runner, im looking to achieve the finest I can be for an endurance run. Challenging my body using pace sessions helps to developmthe strongest, fitest version of. myself that I can be. Then mixing these sessions into a training program that includes hills and endurance workouts builds the body and mind up to be ready to take on endurance events. Yes, I know everyone is individual and for some speed sessions won’t feature in their ultra training, and thats great for them, and I hope it works – I’m sure it does. However, for me these sessions give me a feeling of achievement and I have seen the improvement on things like my general ability to carry longer runs, at higher pace, and my VO2Max (via my Garmin watch) shows things improving too. Now, before anybody makes the obvious comment that there is only so much point to the VO2Max on a Garmin, I know that. But it’s an approximation that is the best many of us will get. I use a chest Heart Rate monitor so I’m doing what is reasonable to get good data.
December also had 2 races inline for me.
Mapledurham 10 – a great 10 mile trail race in hilly muddy trails local to me. A great race, but also a great trails training session.
GutBuster 10 mile – this fell foul of the COVID pandemic. Hoping to get a rescheduled February date but things don’t look great. We will see.
Im beginning to think about my race day planning. Im looking to take a support person to the race. Not decided who, but that’s a part of Q1 planning. I really want a friendly face at some approved crew stops, and know that having somebody ready with pre-planned fuel/kit/support is going to really help me through this race. I know the Robin Hood 100 is hardly the Western States, but as bigger and tougher races hopefully feature on the horizon, getting used to having support is also something I want to build up.
Another area of thought for January. Im read the Jason Koop Ultra training manual and he has made me really think about the importance of Hydration. Being short of food in a race, low on fuel, can be quickly rectified by eating something. A pause, some food and in a few minutes the sugar/carbs start to have an impact. With hydration the recovery is slower. If you hit a point of dehydration you can take on water/electrolytes of course but the recovery is slower and it can quickly derail the event. I’ve not really thought much about this. I drink sports drink (currently Tailwind and Precision Hydration) but I’ve not thought seriously about it. I know I need to.
The key starting point is to drink often in the race and I need to train this into my habits. So all runs over 10 miles I aim to take fluids with me and drink them through the run. In reality my body doesn’t start telling me I need to. I run regularly 10-15 miles (especially this time of year) and need little if any fluid. But the reality is that if I reflect on this after I run, I am in a point of mild dehydration. It doesn’t derail a 10.15 mile run, but that habit is not good when I think 100 miles.
So training my habits to consume fluids routinely is a key objective in January.
Im also doing more research into hydration overall to see what I can do to ensure I am doing the best I can to balance fluid intake and effort, without taking onboard too much and feeling uncomfortable in a run.
I need to eat. I’ve been more structured over the training so far to eat on long runs. Before I need to, I eat. Ive got used to eating whilst moving – mostly stroopwaffel, but this is an improvement. I like the idea that ti can eat on the go, eat whilst carrying on decent travelling speed. What I now need to do is broaden the range of food I eat on the run, and think of pitstop food. Im not sure savoury will work for me on the go, but I know I need to add some in to provide the fuel I’ll need.
The new year promises to challenge me more than any other year since I started running. I know im up for the challenge, I know I can face everything the training will throw at me and I know I will do my best. I can ask no more.
Challenge yourself. you don’t know your limits until you meet them head on.