Its been a while since I’ve posted, so I thought it was worth sharing a quick update on where I am with my training, plans for the coming months and some exciting news about an upcoming feature on this website. More on that later!
Spring Training and Running Adventures
Lets start with the training. Dropping the LDWA Winter Poppyline into my schedule so soon after The Spine Challenger was not the best idea but I resolved to take a few weeks off running afterwards to give my body time to recover. From there I ran for fun through March before starting to build in more structured training during April. My plan was to be back into training properly after Easter with my targets firmly set on The Lakeland 100 at the end of July.
This plan went well and I had a lot of running adventures during March and April, with my mileage bouncing all over the place. This included a work trip to Barcelona, where I took the opportunity to get out each morning (and a few evenings as well) to really explore the city. The weather was not too warm but it was nice to be out enjoying some sunshine for change and getting to see the sights and sounds of a new city, while getting some miles into my legs.
Just before Easter we had a family holiday in the North Yorkshire Moors, which gave the opportunity to get some hills in my legs. We used to come to this part of the world a lot before we had children, mountain biking with friends. It was so nice to be back again but this time running across the Moors and through the woods, discovering new places and re-visiting old haunts. The weather was great and in addition to the hills I was also able to enjoy my other passion, namely running photography, with some amazing morning and evening light to play with.
During April I also returned to my run commute. Last year I found this a great way to get volume into my legs and also bookend the working day, sweating out some of the stress and strain from the office. I was surprised to find that it had been three months since I had last done a run along these trails but after a little faff the first morning, I was soon back into the swing of things and enjoying this way of fitting running into my life. Not only does the double run day provide a lower impact approach to getting twenty off road miles into my legs. The additional weight from carrying a heavy pack also proves a useful addition to the hill work I do. A very welcome addition I should add, when you consider my hill work is mainly undertaken in the flatlands of East Anglia!
So as I write this I am back into full structured training and about to start my biggest training week of the year so far. The Fellsman race is underway this weekend and I admit I am really jealous of those out running it and wish I could have been there. Variety is the spice of life though and while I found The Fellsman a great race to prepare for Lakeland 100 last year, it is always good to mix things up a little and I am hopeful Pennine Barrier 50 during June will be ample replacement. Being closer to Lakeland 100 itself I am also hoping it will be more beneficial in the end too.
Between now and then the plan is to work in my usual three or four week blocks, with a mixture of run commutes, long runs, hill and tempo work. A trip to the south coast later in May should give some more options for steeper hills along the coast and I will aim to make the most of this if I can.
Boys and Their New Toys
In other news I have made the full leap across to Garmin. After using Suunto watches for nearly fifteen years, this was a tough decision. For the last couple of years I have used a Garmin Vivoactive as my day to day watch and for most of my run training, with my faithful Suunto Ambit 2 only being used for my ultra marathons. With the launch of the Fenix 5 I was temped to make the switch to Garmin full time, keen to try and consolidate my data into a single platform and benefit from the all day optical heart rate sensor.
However I loved how lightweight and compact the Vivoactive was for all day use, and was concerned about the weight and size of the Fenix. When Garmin announced their new Forerunner 935, which is fundamentally a Fenix 5 in a lightweight package, I knew they had announced the watch for me and I made the jump.
Last weekend I decided to re-access my heart rate and pace levels and undertook a running threshold assessment. This was a tough session, as they always are, and while I was not a million miles away from the last time I did this, it was useful to calibrate my levels to my current fitness and ability. Hopefully this combined with the data the Forerunner 935 provides, will enable me to really fine tune my training and recovery as I move forward.
And finally the exciting news!
Guest Post from Steve Birkinshaw
If you follow me on social media you will have already seen posts about this in recent weeks. I am extremely proud to announce that Steve Birkinshaw will be publishing a blog post here on www.ultrarun.in next weekend, as part of a nine day blog tour to promote his new autobiography There is No Map in Hell, charting how he got into running and his attempt to run all 214 Wainwrights non-stop in 2014.
The subject of Steve’s blog here on Ultrarun.in will be “How experience makes a difference” and it looks like being a fascinating read. I for one am really looking forward to some useful insight from a runner of Steve’s calibre.
The blog tour itself kicks off tomorrow with an article on Rockhoppin’ Trail and runs for the next nine days. Full details can be found in the animated gif below or on the Vertebrate Publishing website. If you would like to find out more about his book then can you can read more or even order a copy online. I have been lucky enough to receive an advanced copy and it is a superb read. Watch this space for a full review in the coming weeks.
So there we have it. A quick run through of what I have been up to in the last few weeks and my plans for the coming months. I hope your training is going well and you have been out and about enjoying the fine weather we have had so far this year?
Be sure to check out Steve’s blog tour and pop back next weekend to read his article right here on Ultrarun.in. In the meantime enjoy your running and hope to see you at some races or out on the trails soon.