Strava Update

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Hard As Nails Training Plan

So last week saw the first week of my specific training plan for the MDS begin. After seeing Rory Coleman I was armed with a program which if followed will make me in his words "As hard as nails" It is quite a jump up in mileage and I trained every day last week which I have always been averse to as I subscribe to the "Rest is best" school of thought so as to give the body plenty of rest to recover and also to avoid injury.

The program introduces weight training alongside the higher mileage so at the beginning I was worrying about how I am going to fit it all in! I took it in my stride last week though and took each day as it came and quite got into the training every day routine. The weights sessions gave me active recovery from running and I was lucky enough to train with my friend Leanne who is a PT and has really put me through my paces swinging kettle bells, doing bench presses, press ups, squats and all sorts of other exercises. The runs themselves last week were on the cliffpaths mainly and I was lucky enough to run with friends most of the days which made it enjoyable as well as nice scenery and views.. I ended the week on 69 miles run, with some quite long runs in the mix to achieve that. It was a good week and a nice confidence booster before the Dorset ultra in a week and a bit.

It is week 2 of the program and I fear the mileage wont be as high as last week but I will give it my best shot to get somewhere near my target mileage.

Fundraising has been going well for Jersey Hospice care, a good friend of mine James Wilson has been kind enough to set up a Facebook page to publicise the MDS challenge and my fundraising, which has been instrumental in raising over £500 in donations in the last week and a half. I have just over £200 left to raise which means I can focus more fully now on the training as I am nearly there with the fundraising, which is a great weight off my mind. I am doing a cake sale in work on Friday which I hope will raise some more funds and get me closer to my goal.

I have been watching quite a few youtube videos of peoples experiences in the MDS over the last few years. One in particular really gave a feel on how hard on both the body and the mind the race is, I have included the link here:

So just over a week until my final race of this year, the Endurancelife CTS Dorset Ultra Marathon. It is a 33 mile ultra taking in about 6000ft of climbing, to put this in perspective Ben Nevis is the highest mountain in the UK is 4000ft so its going to be quite a tough day out! The upside being the scenery on the Jurassic coast is some of the most beautiful in the UK. I am really looking forward to going back there to compete.

So far this year I have taken part in 6 races: 2 Ultra marathons, 2 marathons and 2 half marathons. I look back on the year and think it has been a successful year in alot of aspects, my times have tumbled mainly due to alot of training both over distance, height and speed over the year, I have made some really good friends through running this year and really feel I have found my niche in life, which is a really good feeling. I think in other aspects of my life things have left a little to be desired which has meant that running has been a rock to me and a constant when other things have been a bit tough. I am really looking forward to the MDS in April and with just over 4 months to go I am pretty much thinking about it most of the day! As I have previously mentioned in other posts I am in the process of selecting the right equipment to take with me which in itself is as vital a part of the preparation as the training. Lots of decisions to make about sleeping bags, rucksacks, shoes, food, energy gels, cooking implements and a myriad of other details! The goal being to get to the start line with as light a pack as possible so that I will be able to run and hopefully do well in the race.

Monday, November 19, 2012

5 Months To Go..

Yesterday was the Jersey Half Marathon. Over the last few weeks I have been training twice weekly with the Jersey Spartans Athletics Club and have noticed real positive changes in both my speed and endurance. Yesterday was a chance to measure this in real terms and I felt I did ok. The course is challenging with a 2 mile hill at the start which certainly takes it out of you. I intended to run the course in 1 hours 24 ish and came away with 1 hour 27 which I was pleased with. Last year I ran the same course in 1 hour 34 so a definite improvement from then which is promising.. 

The conditions were great, sunny, no wind and a really nice vibe. Alot of people from our training group did well and placed highly so it shows that the speed training has been paying off!

I had a week and a half away in which I visited Barry Island in Wales which is my home, and was lucky enough to have a consultation with Rory Coleman who has completed the MDS 9 times. It was an informative session, we did tests to establish my VO2 max and then Rory gave me a strengthening program to improve my muscular endurance. We then spent the afternoon going through the various kit options that I could take to the MDS to optimise the weight carried in my rucksack. It looks like some tough decisions are to be made re carrying a cooking stove or not to minimise weight and maximise speed, non essential luxuries are out the window such as cameras, phones and hair dryers! :)

The optimal weight it appears is 6.5 kg to carry with some people carrying as much as 11 kg, with a kilo adding as much as 25 minutes onto your marathon time. The 6.5 Kg is including food, sleeping bag, mandatory equipment  and misc stuff.. It looks like I will be wearing one set of running gear for the whole week so will be smelling lovely by the end of the race!

Rory was also kind enough to provide me with a make me as tough as nails program which entails me running an average of 80 miles per week for the next few months, hello fitness goodbye life I think! I do hope that come March that I will possess the endurance and strength to withstand the rigours of the race. 

All in all the time with Rory was great, my lasting recollection of the day being doing lady press-ups in the gym whilst two muscle heads nearby bench pressed each other more or less and Rory valiantly not laughing at my pathetic upper body strength!! Anyway this will change over the forthcoming months and I hope to do the program justice..

Next up is the Endurancelife CTS Dorset Ultra Marathon on December 8th which is a 33 mile ultra marathon along my old friend the Jurassic Coast. There are a few of us competing from Jersey so will be a good outing and hopefully we will represent the island well.