Hill Run & pre-race thoughts

Time: 12.10pm

Route: Robertson Car Park
Distance: 6miles
Time Run: 49mins 40secs (average pace 8.16)

Today I ran up and down the steep hill. I ran easy and gave my quads a last workout. I’m hoping my quads are going to survive the race this year. Not too long before I find out.

Here is my proposed schedule for the race that I’m going to use as a guide. It will depend on a number of factors especially the weather but I like to have something to work towards. In my 3 previous ultra races, Fling 07, whw 07 and Fling 08 I was able to run inside my proposed schedule so feel I have a good sense of what is do-able. Anyway here it is with last year’s times as comparison (double click on the schedule to see it clearer) …

A few comments …

I am aiming at 2hrs to Drymen and will be happy to be a few minutes before that but no more than 1.55. I think for me it is really important to see the first 12 miles as a warm up. In the Fling I got carried away running at other people’s pace so I’m determined to keep an eye on my watch and run really sensibly. I have 4 check points along the way taken from our night run so they will give me an idea of my pace.

I’ve given myself 1.30 to Balmaha and I know I can do that 10mins or so faster. One of the key things is coming off Conic Hill very easily. I may look like a ‘big girl’s blouse’ to borrow a phrase of Ian B’s but I don’t care. Last year I’m sure one of the reasons that my quads hurt so much later on was that I damaged them on the downhills early on. If I take an extra 5mins coming off Conic Hill and save my quads then I’ll make that up and more later on. Also I’m hoping to see a great sun rise over Conic Hill and want to enjoy it!

The next couple of sections from Balmaha to Rowardennan to Inversnaid I feel very comfortable aiming to run them in 1.30 and 1.25.

I’ve given myself 1.40 for the Inversnaid to Beinglas leg and will probably use all of that as it is a tough section coming at a tough time, especially if it is hot.

From Beinglas onwards I’ve tried to give myself a bit more leaway in terms of times so that if I’m finding it hard I have enough time to play with but if I’m going well I could get inside my target which would be a big morale boost.

The section from Auchtertyre to Bridge of Orchy was one of my toughest last year. I found going past Tyndrum hard as it hit me that with every step I took I was going into new territory! Also Ian B caught me on this section and then I caught him again and ran into Bridge of Orchy as if it was a 10k race! Not clever as I really struggled after Bridge of Orchy. But this year I hope to be wiser and run this section evenly. I’ve given myself 1.55 which should be plenty.

From Bridge of Orchy onwards with 35 miles to go things should start to get interesting! I have 2.25 to Kingshouse. I have done this section around 2.05 fairly comfortably but admittedly it was with fresher legs than the race so an extra 20mins should be about right.

From Kingshouse onwards is going to be the key for me this year. Last year my quads were shot and I walked the last 20 miles. I was well ahead of my sub 23hr schedule and so could walk and still make it but I went from 14th place at Kingshouse to 25th at Fort William. The experience of being passed by 11 people is not one I want to repeat so all my training this year has been aimed at getting to Kingshouse in a similar time to last year but with enough energy left to be able to run. But the big unknown is whether I will achieve that, so on my schedule I have tried to be generous with my times over the last 20 miles. That way if I am struggling again I can still get as close to 21.30 as possible but if I’m still going strong then who knows??

So 2.20 to Kinlochleven, 1.55 to Lundavra and 1.45 to Fort William are all on the generous side. I would love to be able to run them in 2.00, 1.35 and 1.30 but only time will tell. I’m really looking forward to finding out!

So there it is – my whw 08 plan. Will I be strong enough and disciplined enough to carry it out? Answers on a post card! If I don’t it won’t be for lack of effort and determination.
BTW Emma is now in La Paz, Bolivia waiting for her flight to Sucre. Also Jo is on her way to London to meet Prince Charles tomorrow as part of the group from FireStarters (a Christian Young Peoples organisation our girls are involved in). With Laura still in Florida that only leaves me, Katrina and Hollie at home tonight! How will Hollie cope being alone with her parents!!
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3 Responses to Hill Run & pre-race thoughts

  1. Thomas says:

    John, good plan good rythm and a useful and interesting preview of the race. I have been started biting my fingernails off again…Despite my 19hour plan a (really just a hypothetical calculation) I don’t think I will be far away from you. To be honest I HOPE not to be to far from you…See you soon!

  2. Peter Duggan says:

    Sure you need to start that fast, John? Remember 4 hours from Milngavie to Balmaha is still good enough for anything down to 20 hours! 😉

  3. Chris says:

    I’ve been reading this all year John and I just wanted to wish you all the best for next week. I am in total admiration for you and the other competitors in this race.I mentioned this blog on < HREF="http://conditioningresearch.blogspot.com/2008/06/west-highland-way-race.html" REL="nofollow">mine<>…. hope you don’t mindChris

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