So this week is the first in my training plan for the Sussex Trail Events Downslink Ultra in October. I’ve never attempted to go further than marathon distance before, and I’m not quite sure what’s possessed me to think its a good idea now. The Downslink is 38 miles from Guildford to Shoreham so I’m breaking it down into 3 half-marathon chunks. I’ve put a plan together based on a vague memory I have of someone telling me that a normal marathon plan would be sufficient to get me through this. And as its a relatively short Ultra (I keep telling myself) I think this advice should be good. I’m going to train as if I was going for a new marathon PB and then just slow it down come race day – now if anyone can tell me that this is a terrible idea, please do so now, don’t hold it in, don’t make me learn from my mistake, I’d rather hear it in advance…..anyone?
I’ll try and keep a training log up to date for anyone who’s interested, but mainly for myself so I can look back and see what worked and what didn’t. I’ll try and update it once a week, I’m sure we’ll see progress in my writing skills if not my running ability.
This weeks running started with a panic run on Tuesday morning, fearing that I was leaving training a bit late I thought I’d better start getting out there with some serious running, so 8 miles at 6:30am it was. This was pre-breakfast but I managed to average around 7.5 minute miles which was good as I’m not a happy crack of dawn runner.
Then it was down to the track on Wednesday evening where I coach sessions for Tuff Fitty Triathlon Club. This week we kicked off with our usual warm-ups, dynamic stretches and technique drills before launching into our main set. 2×1200 followed by 4×800 all with 2min rest intervals. I flew into the first rep at a pace I can only dream of running a 5k in and adjusted quickly after that, 5:40 min/mile for the first 1200 followed by a slightly more realistic 6:00 min/mile for the rest of the session. I had to sit in the pack for the last 3 800’s though as my body/mind were telling me to stop on every lap. Its amazing what a difference it makes to sit on someone’s heels rather than lead out. Matt and Ollie kept me true in what was the toughest track session I’d done for quite a while.
After a nice rest day it was time to hit the Long Run on Friday. Time constraints mean that Friday evenings are the best time of the week for me to fit these in. I headed up onto the Downs for 14 miles in beautiful conditions. My route took me through the golf course up to Cissbury Ring, then over to Chanctonbury Ring as a warm up for the really hard steep sections. When I’ve run up here before, I’ve worked up to it over a period of time, running shorter routes up and down Cissbury Ring. To say my legs were underprepared for this at this point in time would be an understatement.
My legs were on fire already and I still had a downhill mountain bike trail to run (The Lion Trail) and a brutal climb up Mouse Lane before returning back to Cissbury Ring. I did the sensible thing……I hammered the downhill with reckless abandon, arms windmilling like a child, leaping over logs, almost losing control at times but having the time of my life. I love this section as its not often you get to run like this, it gets a bit technical underfoot at some points and you’ve got to be careful over the tree roots, and there’s a couple of really steep bits that you need to be careful on but running a downhill like this puts you firmly in the moment, you can’t think ahead, you don’t have time to dwell on where you’ve just been, its just one foot in front of the other and plenty of hope and trust. Unfortunately the Mouse Lane climb was a write off after this and I walked the entire thing before picking my pace back up for the final 5 or 6 miles home.
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This is about 9 miles in to a run on the South Downs. Between #Worthing and #Steyning. Ive no idea why it's there but it comes just before the steepest hill on my route. It destroyed me this time round but this message always makes me feel I'm being chased through the woods. #thisissurvival
I finished my week off with a social run with the Shorefit Run Club on Sunday morning. This is a lovely run as you can choose your pace and always have someone to run with, this week I ran with Lisa for about 6 miles along Worthing seafront and along the Pier.
And that wraps up my first week training. Next week I’ll be putting some bike miles in too as well as some strength and conditioning work.
Total for week: 36 miles