Monthly Archives: September 2015

Here Comes A New Season

So I have now had two weeks off since I completed the JW 30 Mile Ultra Race. That race was the end of my season. I have been running for 3 years now and that was my first successful season which I was able to complete and compete. I ran 5 races in this season and got personal records on them all! My next season starts this week and this seasons grand finale is the A Week at the Knees in March – 7 marathons in 7 days.

I have done much more research this last few months on how to correctly structure my training plans for the next coming season starting next week. This will be the first time I have followed a solid personal training schedule.

I will be having 20 weeks of foundation training. In this phase I will be running between 65-75% Max HR. This is within the aerobic zone. Running in this zone will help to build my aerobic capacity, help me become faster and also help my body to do some crucial building in preparation for the strains of both higher mileage and speed work later on.
There will be no speed work within this element of my training. I will be taking part in a few events, but I do not anticipate racing these. I shall just be using them as training.
There will of course be a weekly long run which will increase each week and on the 4th week be reduced to prevent plateauing and crashing in my training.
Once a month I intend on running calorie depleted long runs of between 2 and 3 hours without taking on any fuel apart from water and electrolytes. This also means no breakfast before the run. This will help me to better utilise the stores already in my body before the addition of more fuels to help keep me going. I will also be running some back to back long runs on weekends.ย Most of my training will be peaking at 70 miles in this phase.

Phase 2 will be lasting 8 weeks and will be incorporating a 2 week taper and the 3rd week will be a week of running a marathon every single day for A Week at the Knees event in Milton Keynes in March 2016. Of course the biggest challenge here is getting to the start line. Then recovering, then training lol. I will be adding some easy speed training in the this phase. I have purposefully made my speed work all fartlek sessions between 70-90% MAX HR. This is so I can just go by how I feel and not be overly strict and overdo it.

Throughout my training there’ll be a stress on body weight strength training once a week, regular flexibility exercises and post workout stretches and finally a set of different drills will be done weekly.

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JW Ultra – 30 Miles – Stratford Upon Avon to Birmingham

Firstly I want to say thanks to the directors and others who helped to run this event! Special thanks go to Sharon who helps out at the event. Who went out of her way to start making vegan goody bags for those who wanted to take part who are vegan. There’s not many goody bags you’ll ever get with vegan organic flapjacks and organic chocolates. This was such a nice thing to do and that will stick with me for life. Also special thanks go to the Sea Cadet Centre in Kings Norton. They were all dressed in uniforms the adults and children and at the start line 30 miles away, on all check points and the finish line. They were so friendly and helpful to everyone. The kids couldn’t’ do enough to make sure you had what you needed. At the end it was funny to hear them saying “oh yes Scott needs a special goody bag!” haha ๐Ÿ˜€ I highly recommend ANYONE taking part in this event! If you can’t (don’t want to) run 30 miles then take part in the group relay teams where you can 10 miles each.

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I had run this distance and a little more 7 times up until this day. I considered myself an ultra runner, but not an ultra marathoner. I read something somewhere that states to be an ultra marathoner you have to have had actually run an event… not just run on your own.ย 5 of the previous were ran alone and 2 others with friends. So it’s great that I have popped my ultra marathon cherry ๐Ÿ˜‰

It was a pretty epic day all round to be honest. The event was on Saturday 12th September 2015. I got up early and meditated to get myself focussed for the day. I got my bags together and headed for the bus stop. When I checked the timetable I realised I’d be safer with a taxi. So I called a taxi to collect me from the bus stop. This was an ace decision… when he turned up he saw my Vegan Store linen bag that had my check point drinks in it. He commented on it, and I though he was going to be a vegan hater. He asked where I was going and I said Cadet Centre as there’s a race today. He said “vegan and a runner? That’s pretty awesome. Well done”. Out of curiosity I asked if he was vegan and he said yes, and then went on to talk about how great Scott Jurek is and his recent achievement running over 2,000 miles. Then we discussed the contents of his book and his personality. All round I felt like I was in a dream lol.

When I arrived at the cadet centre there was free tea and coffee while we all waited for the hired coach to take us to the start line in Stratford Upon Avon… we would run 30 miles back here!

The raining had stopped by the time we arrived and it was looking promising to be a nice sunny day. Everyone put their bags in and check point drinks went into 2 different boxes for each checkpoint. We all then headed to the start line for briefing at 9:45.

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Photograph by Rob Hume. Thank you Very much.

Time was called at exactly 10 and off we went. It’s tricky enough to find your pace as it is on race day, but it was even more so today… there were a lot of relay teams and they were running 10 miles for each leg… so naturally a lot of them will be going faster than us doing the whole length. I kept an eye on my Garmin watch and made sure I didn’t go over 85-88% Max HR. I pretty much kept heart rate intensity for the entire race. Naturally I slowed down for the same HR after a while.

About 40 mins in it started absolutely throwing it down. Luckily this only lasted for about 10 minutes and then it cleared up and we had a really nice day all day… not too hot and not too cold. Plenty of sun, but enough shelter from over hanging trees alongside the canal towpaths.

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Some people can’t stand the canals for running. They get bored of the flatness or the winding narrow body of water stretching for miles. I like the canals… it helps me to zone out and get on with it. The first half was a slight incline due to there being so many locks, but it wasn’t anything too difficult.The second half was flat as a pancake apart from a climb about 2 miles from the end as you need to come up to the road and get back on the canal 2 streets across.

I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I briskly walked up the steeper locks and ran the rest. From about mile 18 I turned off my music, and I started counting every time my right foot hit the ground. I did this from 1-20 and I just kept doing that all the way to the end! There were a few breaks in between were I chatted with a few of the other runners out there. I just kept checking my time every once in a while so I could have some dates and liquids every half an hour from my waist belt.

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Photograph by Rob Hume. Thank you Very much.

The last mile and half is a section of another canal that I run several times a week so I starting picking up the pace knowing I was right near the end then. I came over the finish line with a finishing time of 5 hours and 5 minutes. This is 40 minutes off my previous personal record for this distance. I claimed my VEGAN Goody RUCKSACK, ate some tangerines and waited for my friends to finish.

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There we have it. End of my first ever successful season. I have been running a few years now but have been held back by injuries every season before. I’m starting to learn my body, what works and what doesn’t. I’m getting stronger. I have done 5 races this season and got 5 personal bests. Now I’m taking 2 ish weeks recovery and then I’ll be starting a new season as I prepare myself for the beast that is Enigma’s Week at the Knees – 1 week of marathons every day ๐Ÿ˜€