Thursday, 16 December 2010

Training Plan for Dee33

This is the plan I have drawn up for the first Ultra of the 2011 season (Dee33). Distances are based on John Kynaston’s plan.

I will already have a decent base before starting this plan (tempo running and a number of long runs in Nov/Dec 2010).
The weekday hard sessions are the type that I find beneficial. Tuesday will be run at Half Marathon race pace (around 7-7:30 minute miles). Thursday will be longer tempo runs but done at marathon race pace (around 7:50 min miles). Wed and Sat will be done at ultramarathon race pace/recovery pace (8-9min miles) and the Sunday run is just run at whatever I feel like on the day.

I have incorporated hill sessions to prepare for Ultramarathons following the Dee33.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

A fistful of Spinach

Well, I'm as surprised as anyone but for the past few months month I have been vegan. Apart from a wee wobble last week but we won't mention that!
I had been reading the excellent "Born to Run" by Christopher McDougall and was intrigued by the section on diet. Scott Jurek, one of the most accomplished ultra runners, thrives on a simple vegan diet and Dr Ruth Heidrich turned vegan after cancer and became an ultrarunner.  The book made me think about trying to eat a little more healthily.
This initially prompted me to try a smoothie as a meal replacement - not to lose weight (as the calories equaled my sandwich anyway) but to increase my intake of raw fruit and veg. To start with I had a pre-workout smoothie (spinach and pear) followed by a post workout smoothie (orange and ginger). This worked really well for my running and I started to feel a lot better generally. I also lost a little weight without feeling hungry.
Then I decided to have a smoothie for breakfast as well (bananas and nut). I felt even better. Although I lost a little more weight I was never starving or feeling run down - in fact quite the opposite. And my running felt much better as well.
At this stage 3 out of 4 meals were vegan so a few months ago I decided to go all the way and see how I felt. It has worked out very well for me - trimmed a little flab, my running is going really well, I feel generally great about everything and I am loving my food at the moment. I have also discovered how to make a wicked curry.
In terms of health it has really clicked with me. I don't feel I'm lacking and don't feel hungry. In fact I feel superb. It has been a great addition to the training I am doing.
An average day looks like this:
Breakfast - large salad with nuts, beans and corn.
mid morning snack=fruit
pre-run lunch = banana smoothie
post-run lunch = pear + spinach smoothie
mid afternoon snack=fruit
tea= large vegan meal
supper = toast and/or porridge with raisins and nuts
plus about 8 cups of tea!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

stu-pid-i-ty:noun = acting like Dave

Last week was a tough week for decisions. I had received confirmation for 2011 London marathon a few weeks ago. I've done it before and loved it but it does not really fit into my race/training plan as it is sandwiched in between Dee33 and Highland Fling.

So I thought long and hard about deferring it to 2012. I could pay now and run it in a year and a half. But did I really want to do that? Commit to a race that far in advance when I dont even know if I will want to run it? I am running more and more off road these days and the massive events like London are becoming less appealing.

I had until Friday 5pm to pay. By Friday lunchtime I still hadn't decided.

Then at 3pm I made the call. I was going to pay and defer until 2012.


Then I forgot to pay it...... 

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Week in review

This was my first week of high intensity/low mileage training based on the Furman plan aimed at keeping injury at bay whilst maintaining fitness.
Monday - 1 hour cycle at the gym. This was at a high intensity and I averaged about 85% max heart rate. Quite a tough session and I wore my knee support to help. 10 minutes core exercises in the evening.
Tuesday- my knee was sore at the back (a new one for me!) and I think it was due to wearing the support whilst cycling! Ran 5x3min repeats at 90% heart rate (average 6:45 pace). Did 6miles total.
Wednesday - rest. Knee and legs feel like they have been worked hard so happy to let them recover. 10 minutes core exercises in the evening.
Thursday - 10K tempo run - 44:45 with an average heart rate of 85%. Felt really good with no knee twinges at all.
Friday - 1 hour cycle at the gym. 10 minutes core exercises in the evening.
Saturday- Brilliant 11.5 mile trail run around Cheyne Hill and Fetteresso forest. Slightly mis-timed as we ended up running off road in the dark with one headtorch between four!
Sunday- Rest

Overall pretty happy with this. I'm feeling my fitness is creeping up and my knee isn't giving me too much bother.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

The last few months

Octobers big race was the Loch Ness Marathon. This has to be my favourite marathon due to the scenery, low numbers, course profile (HILLS!) and social event. Myself and Mike Raffan went up with my pal Al (aka "mamemeister"). I knew Al from a few retro videogames forums where he had asked about the sensibility of running 26 miles after watching the London marathon on the TV in April. He did not take much persuasion to enter Loch Ness which gave him just 4-5 months to go from zero to marathon runner. I had a lot of fun being a virtual coach :-) The trip to Loch Ness was excellent - lots of beer, laughs and an enjoyable event. Here is what I wrote at the time:

"To go from nothing to marathon fitness in 4 months is nothing short of amazing. It has been great fun for me to give advice to Al since April and be a "virtual coach". It was also a pleasure running alongside him yesterday on the big day as he is such a great bloke - friendly, decent and down to earth. We had a right old laugh this weekend. 
Although he got a cracking time for a first attempt (4:16) I was personally impressed with the fact he had a really strong race. He ran fast but always within his limits. At no point in the last few gruelling miles did it fall apart and you could tell from the determination on his face that he was not going to let the distance beat him. He really did himself proud. 
And we did a sprint finish over the line :)"
Mike, Al and myself.

Mike also got a huge PB at Loch Ness of 3:26. Fantastic stuff.

Since then I have been considering my options for next year and how I finish this one. I am drawn to trail runs, especially the longer events, however the waters were muddied by getting an entrance to the London Marathon next year. I have decided to pay for it but defer running it until 2012 thereby allowing me to chase my goal of 5 Scottish Ultras in 2011.
I have also decided to use this period of training to cut back on mileage (without compromising fitness) and properly heal my knee niggles. In fact I abandoned a 26 mile run on the West Highland Way with mates last weekend for a more sensible shorter local run. My foot psoriasis is healing a lot after getting some new cream from a specialist. Training for the rest of the year looks a bit like this:

M 1 hour cycle with core exercises
T Intervals  or hill session (around 6 miles)
W 1 hour cycle with core exercises (or Rest)
T 6-8 mile Tempo run 
F 1 hour cycle with core exercises
S 10-13 miles trail running
S Rest

Then I'll be looking to increase my long runs in the New Year to prepare for the Dee33 in March.

Also trying to lose a good bit of weight. This is ongoing and looking promising.

Speyside Way Ultramarathon

Eek - I have not updated this blog for quite a while! One of my goals for 2010 was to run a series of ultramarathons. However, once I got injured the goal simply became "run ONE ultramarathon". I managed to complete Speyside in August - a 36.5 mile race on road and trail in the North West of Scotland. This is what I wrote shortly after the event:

"The Speyside Way Ultra was a beautiful race which was brilliantly organised. I'd recommend it heartily to anyone wanting to run an ultra.
I had a shocker though. Up to 27 miles I felt peachy and loved it. Then every footstep was pure murder and it was a brutal slog to the finish. I've tried to analyse why it went so wrong for me and here are the reasons I've deduced:
- Fat: I am too heavy and need to loose at least half a stone. This takes far too much of a toll on my legs and knees.
- Training: my training wasn't good enough. I only did 11 weeks specific ultra training with no back to back runs (2x27 milers as my long runs). Due to injury this year this was on the back of very little base training. I think this was my major problem. Also a 27 miler 2 weeks before the ultra was perhaps a bit much - it should have been 3 weeks before. Everyone is different but I needed more training.
- Food : I had solid food the whole way with only 2 gels. I found that after 3 hours solid food was a no-no. In future I need sarnies until 3 and then gels/block shocks for after. Also going to switch to Nuun rather than taking electrolyte tablets as they were too much of a faff.
- Schoolboy Error: going off too quick and overestimating fitness (DUH!)
- Negativity: when things went wrong in the last 10 miles I found it very hard to recover mentally. I found it tough dealing with the fact the race was 36.5 rather than 35 miles. I was cursing everything at the end of the race and vowed never to step foot over 26.2 miles again.
Lessons for me to learn there"

What a LARD ass!

Looking back (with rose tinted glasses) I think I was far too harsh about the race and I can safely say that I'll be back again next year.

Monday, 9 August 2010

PB - be damned

One of my goals in 2010 is to lose a wee bit of weight - not much, just half a stone or so. Carrying less weight will probably go a long way to helping my knee. However, I've been at a loss as to why I've remained at a constant weight. Despite not overeating and also running a fair bit my blubbery bits have persisted. At the start of last week I found out my answer. I love peanut butter. I looked at the back of the jar for calorie content. Holy crapola! Then I learned 2 things:

- if I stop eating PB for a week I loose 3 lbs.
- PB would be brilliant to eat on a long training run or an ultramarathon where you need lots of calories crammed into a small space. 

Sunday, 8 August 2010

This weeks running.

Mon 2nd August: 50 mins at gym lunchtime XTraining, 20 mins evening core exercises
Tue: 5 miles at Stonehaven Running Club in the evening - Interval sessions
Wed: 40 mins at gym lunchtime XTraining, 20 mins evening core exercises
Thu: 10K Tempo run at the beach at lunchtime
Fri:  10K Recovery Run at the beach at lunchtime, 20 mins evening core exercises
Sat: 11.5 mile trail run at Feteresso forest with Gavin Irvine at 7am
Sun: 7 mile recovery run around Stonehaven 7am.

After the previous weeks 27 miler on the trails with the guys I was feeling a little fragile this week - although it gave me a real mental boost running for 4hr 45mins. Monday, Wednesday and Friday were going to be cross training days at the gym to give my knee/foot (psoriasis) a rest. I hate the gym with a passion. By Friday I realsied that my knee was just as sore running 3 times a week as it is running 7 times. Great news - gym abandoned!
Tuesday's interval session at the club was brutal on my knee. I wish I'd done what George Reid was doing and tempo ran it instead. As it stands I think the 27 miler followed by this tough session did my knee no favours.
The tempo 10K on Thursday was also tough. I think I need to only have one hard session per week now (preferable tempo or hill training). Friday's recovery run was awesome as I'd forgotten my Garmin and was simply running on feel rather than by technology.
Saturday's run up the forest was the highlight of the week as it was offroad in great misty/drizzle conditions. We kept the pace far too high for my liking but we did walk the inclines. I've not been eating as much this week and was out of fuel within the first few miles! Still, a great weekend run followed by beer and BBQ round the Irvine household :)
Sunday was a gentle 7 mile jogette around Stonehaven. Nice and easy - I only looked at my Garmin for distance rather than pace (I have it set to only show miles ran). Again, I ran on feel. Turned out the average was 9 min miles which was encouraging.
I started core exercises 3 times a week. These were taken from "Advanced Marathoning" by Pfitzinger and Douglas. Enjoyable and I feel they are helping my running posture.
Next week should hold a 30 miler on the Deeside Way (Friday) with Vikki and I will give stamina sessions a miss for the timebeing.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Bum Bag Blues

This week I've been on a gear splurge. I needed new shorts and a new bag which had easy access to food when running. I ended up getting an OMM bum bag instead of a rucksack which was what I really wanted but I could not decide on model.
The bum bag was too bouncy and annoyed the hell out of me. However, I was looking at John Kynastons race reports on his blog. A damn fine read. I noticed from some of his pictures that he wears an OMM bum bag but at the front. Could this be my bag nirvana? Bum bag at front and small rucksack at back?
Tried it this morning on a trail run with Gavin Irvine. The bum bag can attatch to the lower strap of your rucksack (on tummy) so it is secure at the top. 

It was still bouncing about a good bit though and tightening it only aggravated my skin which would lead to serious chafing on a longer run. A real shame because it is perfect for carrying food on distance runs.
Should have bought the bloody rucksack.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Obligatory first post

Hopefully this will be a regular blog featuring my attempts at off road running, training preparation for ultra-marathons, race reports and other running related gubbins.