Some stats and review of training

I have enjoyed a couple of days off running since Thursday. I had planned to have 3 days off after our night run and then a recovery run the next day. This coming week and the next week I plan to run 3 times (Mon, Wed, Fri) covering 30miles at most per week.

So I thought it would be good to review how my training has gone since the turn of the year. I decided to say the beginning of January was the start of my training for the 2008 whw race. The big difference in training for the race this year compared to last is that I have now done the race once and have a lot more miles in my legs.

So in the 5 months from January to May I have run 1,147 miles (compared to 913 last year). That works out at an average of 52 miles a week (2007 – 41). I have not missed a single training run that I had planned. I might have changed one or two, normally going further, but I haven’t had to miss any through injury or time. Here is a graph of my weekly milage comapred to last year (double click on the picture to see it more clearly)…..

A couple of things stand out. Firstly my overall milage is higher on almost very week especially in January and February. Secondly at the beginning of the year I set out to have a four week pattern of three harder weeks followed by an easier week (after our long monthly run on the whw route) and you can see from the graph that I kept to that. I really think this is one of the reasons that I have kept unjury free this year. In 2007 I didn’t build in any easy/rest weeks and I suffered as a consequence. This year I have appreciated just how much punishment my body takes in running for 6,7,8 plus hours and how important it is to have an easier week to recover.

Here is a graph of my monthly totals comparing 2007 with this year.

Over the past few months I have had a number of conversations about the type of training I should be doing in preparing for this race especially in relation to speed and interval training. Basically I have continued to do one session a week of fartlek training on a Monday night with Kilbarchan AAC. During the last month or so I have eased off a bit and not pushed them as hard as I would normally do but feel they have been beneficial.

My key run every week is still my long run (minimum 3 hrs) either on the Braes or on the whw route itself. This year I have not been as concerned about how quick I ran them but trying to work on my average pace. While I’m still running them quicker than whw race pace I have been better at running well within myself and so preparing better for the race.

On our monthly runs on the whw route we had some quicker runners who set the pace (you know who you are!!) and this meant that I did train faster on those runs than last year but I felt I coped and it was beneficial. The 2 day run in May was the one that has given me the most confidence going into the race. Last year through injury and fitness (lack of??) I struggled on the second half of the Saturday from Kinlochleven onwards. This year I ran through the Friday and first half of Saturday with this in mind and tried to run comfortably. So by the time I got to Kinlochleven I was feeling good and ran from Lundavra to Fort William in 1hr 7mins which was amazing and I still feel good about that memory!!

During January to March I did one tempo run a week when I ran 10miles with an 8 mile tempo run at half marathon pace. Again I felt this was good in that it was a different run and improved my fitness.

Another factor this year in trying to combat DOMS (Delayed onset of muscle soreness) in my quads was I have worked a lot harder on running downhill. I have worked on my technique – trying to relax, lean forward and use gravity to take over rather than leaning back and breaking all the way down! There is a steep hill from our house that I run up and run down again which I’m sure has helped strenghen my quads.

After last year’s race Donald (good friend from Kilbarchan and support runner) suggested that I needed to do more races in my build up to help me in my preparation. Last year I ran just 2 races between January and June – The Highland Fling and the whw race. This year year I have ran the following races …. January – Springfield 10k, February – National Cross Country (12k), March – Lairig Mor Race (14 miles), April – Highland Fling (53 miles), May – Troon 10k and Kirkcudbright Half Marathon. All of these except the last have been competing against Ian and these too have given me a lot of confidence. One of my goals for the year was to try and beat Ian in any race by any margin. The fact that I have beaten Ian in three of these races has really boosted my confidence. Last year I was always struggling to stay with him over the last third of any runs or races so to be competing to the end has really helped me. I know too well that Ian is in good shape going into the whw race but I hope to be closer than last year when I finished 1hr 35mins behind Ian (having arrived at Kingshouse after 72 miles together).

I continue to really enjoy the whole experience of training for and running this whw race. I can’t imagine not doing it so I plan to sign up for next year as soon as possible!! There are so many things I enjoy about this race from the route itself to the friends I’ve made that it has become very special.

I have also enjoyed recording all my training on this blog and the fact that I continue to get a number of people reading regularly makes it worth while. Here is a graph of my hits for May and for 2008 …..

So thanks to all who visit regularly and leave comments. I always enjoy reading anything you have to say in response to my posts.

So the race is now less than 3 weeks away and I can’t wait. I feel my training has gone as well as it could and I’m clear in my mind about gear, food, drink and support team.

I will be posting the schedule I’m planning to work on this week so watch out for that if you like that sort of thing!

Regarding my ‘Guess my Time’ competition I have 14 guesses in so far. Remember you have until midday on Friday 20 June to send in your guess.

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