If you’ve stumbled on this blog in the past few weeks you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s all about the running. Like most people who have an unhealthy interest in anything that might attract the anorak brigade (stuff involving men standing around talking in hobby-shorthand about their shared passion), you will eventually realise, if you get deep enough into the hobby, that its not about the running.
Now with that middle-distance-staring bit of philosophising out of the way I’m about to talk about nothing but running.
Around 45 miles into my Italian Adventure last year I started to realise that there was a flaw to my strategy for the race – apart form the obvious one that I shouldn’t have entered in the first place. I hadn’t practiced running really slowly. Like Eskimos and snow there are many ways to describe slow when it comes to running. The ultra marathon slow shuffle is, like Guinness, an acquired taste (i.e. shitty but you get used to it). It’s the economy of movement that is either a recipe for victory or a death march.
At mile 45 I found myself running fine (no muscle or joint pain) but having to take walking breaks every mile or so to allow my temperature to drop. This meant that I was covering the same ground as the ultra-shuffle practitioners but far less efficiently.
So, this morning I went out for a long run (25 miles) with the express intention of keeping control on the pace and the running economy. Running economy is what the anoraks say when we mean a senior citizen jogging shuffle.
This worked a treat and combined with a night of fasting and a mug of bulletproof coffee meant I covered the 25 miles with no sugar low and a steady pace (8:44-9:00 min/mile) – all in about 3hr 41min.
Is this sensible? No, not really. But a combination of a WiFi connection, a website and a visa card yesterday mean I’ve entered a 50 mile race next weekend and this senior citizen jogging shuffle and diet of butter and coffee should make the first 30 miles a little more bearable.
My expectation is that the first 30 miles will be fine as these sort of things go and then it’ll be about how much of the eventual collapse of form, fitness and performance can be put off over the next 20 miles.
I have another busy work week coming up so I’m not sure how that will feed into the race next Saturday morning but then I think “race” is what the elites would call it. For me it’ll be a day with the other anoraks.