So with the pleasant distraction of the ashmei ambassador day now in the past and while we await the decision of Stuart and the team, I find myself looking forward to what the rest of 2016 has to offer.
After an awesome result at the Peddars Way Ultra at the end of January, I took February easy, running for the fun and not following any structured training. I bounced back quite quickly from Peddars Way and was still able to get some okay mileage in but now we are into March I need to get my focus back.
2016 is all about the mountains, as I try to get back to my mountaineering roots and combine it with my new love of ultra running. My favourite races last year were the hillier ones and I also enjoyed watching friends from afar battling around course such as Lakeland 100 and UTMB.
It was no surprise then that I signed up for Lakeland 100 and the new King Offas Dyke race last summer. These not only provide challenging courses through some beautiful terrain, they also give me my first attempt at both a hundred mile race and also a multi day ultra marathon running the full length of a country.
Lakeland 100 is very much my A race for the year and the main focus of my training over the coming months. King Offa’s Dyke comes a very close second but I will see how I recover from Lakeland before I make any firm plans in that direction. So for now my training is all about building through to the end of July and the start line in Coniston.Between now and then I have The Fellsman and Ultimate Trails 110km races to act as build and tester races. The Fellsman is an iconic British ultra race, now in its 54th year and one I have wanted to run for a number of years now. Unlike many modern ultras, this one requires the runner to be able to navigate across fell and hill tops, with the race run across large areas of private land with no defined paths between the points. It will be an awesome challenge and one I can’t wait to get into.
The Ultimate Trails race falls just 4 weeks before Lakeland and as a result my main focus here will be to test kit, nutrition and pacing strategies for the Lakeland 100. This will be a race I will be aiming to complete and not compete at, to give my body the best chance to recover fully and not jeopardise my performance in my A race later in the month.
So training wise I am now back into structured training and building for The Fellsman, which is just over five weeks away. After that race I then have 15 weeks to Lakeland 100. This gives me time to get in a decent 12 weeks of structured training, similar to what I managed between my Norfolk 100 and Cumbria Way Ultra races last year.
As always the exact structure of my training will need to be fitted in around family and work commitments. I’ll probably follow the pattern that has worked well for me in the past, namely 3 weeks build and 1 week recovery, with a mix of endurance running and some intensity.
Hill work will be key, which is a real challenge here in The Fenlands of East Anglia. As always I will be doing lots of strength work but this time will also add in some weighted commuter runs, to help build my legs strength before race day. I’m not sure how well this will work but my legs seem to have good muscle memory from my mountaineering days, so I’m hoping this combined with some creative hill work will be enough to get me around the course.
Expect things to chop and change a lot over the coming months but that’s the plan I’m going to run with (no pun intended) and we’ll see how it develops from there.
One for the road?
Just to mix things up a little more I’ve also applied for next January’s Spine Challenger race. I’m yet to hear whether I have got in but if I do, this will make a superb race to end the year with, ok it falls in early January 2017 but its close enough!
Come along for the ride!
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Right I’m off to open up the spreadsheets and put the finishing touches to my training plans. Bring on the mountains!