This post could easily have been called Gorse in blossom but you get the gist of it. A long winter of varying levels of motivation finally pays off when you find yourself inhaling the scent of wild garlic or gorse in blossom (the heady smell of coconut and vanilla) and you realise that spring is finally here and the aches and pains of running are, if not gone, at least under control.
A more hectic family life over the past week and wanting to give myself some time to recover from the ultra marathon meant I sacrificed my long run over the weekend. Instead I spent the weekend tracking the 24hr world championships on twitter where some familiar names were in action (Mr. Bubendorfer, Ruthann Sheehan &John O’Regan to name but 3).
The level of commitment that an event like that requires tends to put some perspective on my ambitions. Still, you can only piss with the cock you’ve got.
I did take break from long runs as an opportunity to string together 4×10 mile runs over the Thursday – Sunday period. These were over my regular 10 mile course that includes some hills. The pace didn’t fade over the 4 days (although a failure to eat on Saturday did lead to a bit of a low point at mile 3). I know 40 miles in 4 days doesn’t sound very spectacular but to put it in context it’s the first time in 2 years that I’ve been able to string together back to back moderately long runs without lower limb pain (legs in other words!) I am taking this as a sign that the bio-mechanics are in reasonable good shape compared to this time in other training cycles.
Now, with 7 weeks to go until Italy I have to work out what to do so that I don’t spoil the dish. If I turn down the heat to a moderate simmer it’s likely that I’ll lose some of the fitness I’ve developed (mainly the longer endurance) and if keep lashing into it at a rolling boil I’m bound to ruin some part of the training – any fool can over train, it’s turning up at the start line in the right shape that’s difficult (I think I read that on twitter….)
So what next? Well, I spotted a MCI marathon in Cork on 9th May that might be a handy long run to focus the next 7 weeks on. I could build up to it and taper down from it on the long runs. The other thing (time allowing) I’d like to do is to push the middle of the week runs out to 12-16 miles. In previous marathon training cycles I noticed that pushing the mid-week “tempo”run out a bit in distance pays dividends on race day. Now, my mid-week runs aren’t tempo but they will be short enough to go at a pace that is a bit quicker than ultra pace.
All of these plans come with the proviso that if it overtakes my running/life balance then I have to pull back a bit. I’m a run for fun sort of guy so all my goals are completely internal and if it starts to eat into my family time then I think I’ll reassess.
I think I’ll continue with the fat adaptation experiment as it seems to be working and from the stuff I’ve been reading I seem to have a fairly low carb diet already which is making the switch easier.
On top of that I expect that I’ll get panicked about my Hokas wearing out before race day – currently they’re sold out of my size across all my usual sources.
Running the first large chunk of the race in a fasted state is also niggling with me. The race starts at 15:00hrs and to stay fasted overnight would (I am guessing) not be wise. My current plan is to shift my circadian rhythm over the previous few days and to sleep in until 12:00hrs on race day. This should also help with the late finish of the race.
Apart from all of that it’s just one foot in front of the other and keep on smiling.