Review of the last six months

I’m keeping to my two week rest but I’m really looking forward to running again! When you run 5-6 times a week it becomes a central part of your day so to not run feels really strange. I’ve been walking quite a bit and I’m glad to report that the soreness behind my right knee is almost completely gone so that good news.

I’ve decided to do a review of the first six month of the year rather than just a review of June. When I set down my training plan it was for the first six months of the year which covered four ultra marathons.

I deliberately tried to do things a bit differently this year. The main difference was that I decided to run four ultra races over the first six months rather than the two I’ve done over the last three years. So in addition to the Fling (April) and whw (june) I added the Hardmoors 55 (March) and Cateran Trail (May).

As far as the way it affected my training the big difference was that I didn’t do my two day training run on the whw in May which has become a key part of my training for the last three years.

This inevitably meant that my main focus was diluted a bit. Over the past three years the whw has been my one and only focus and everything revolved around that race. This year by adding in the extra races I accepted the fact that it would be difficult to have the same focus. The SUMS series changed my focus as well. I wanted to get four races in to qualify for the series.

Has it worked? Well given my time for the whw was over two and half hours slower than last year on first look I’d say no but there are quite a few other factors in that race which I’ve already written about.

On the other hand I really enjoyed running the Hardmoors 55 (despite the weather) and the Cateran Trail. I suppose it comes down to whether I’m more interested in quality or quantity. I’ve always felt that quality is more important to me. I’d rather do fewer races and really focus on the ones I do than lots of races and treat them as training runs. This year though I did use the Hardmoors and Cateran Trail races as hard training runs.

But overall I do feel that, for me, if I want to do my very best in the whw then I do need to completely focus on the race. At the end of the year I’ll reasses and decide my plans for next year but at this point I favour going back to what has worked well and focus on the Fling and whw for the first half of the year.

I’ve really enjoyed my training over the first six months of the year. I pretty well kept to my training programme. I had planned 1,257miles for this period and ended up with 1,213.16 at an average of 48.53miles per week and 202.19miles a month.

I had one injury (ribs) in March which affected my training for the best part of 4 weeks which was frustrating as it came before the Hardmoors 55 and meant I wasn’t in the shape that I wanted to be for that race.

Here are some facts and figures with comparisons from the last few years …

Monthly Mileage

in a graph ….

My monthly mileage this year was very similar to the previous two years. March was down by almost 100miles but that was due to my fall and rib injury. It’s hard to know how much that affected me.

I feel that January to March are my key months mileage wise in building a good solid base for the following three months of races.

The big question I have as I look back over the mileage is whether I should do more or less or stay the same for next year?

I don’t know many other ultra’s runners mileage but in conversation with a few people I know some do a lot less than me and did better this year. Both Gavin (20:00:08) and Dave (20:20:59) did considerably less mileage than I did and yet ran really well on the day. I know Start Mills is also a fan of less mileage.

But there are others like Richie (whw winner), Marco (5th) and Thomas (6th) who do quite a bit more than me including a few back to back long runs. So should I be thinking of doing more mileage, expecially in January – March?

Maybe it’s not just overall mileage but how you do it that matters. Which leads me on to my second sheet …

Types of run

I didn’t keep a record of this breakdown over the past couple of years. I suppose I could go back and work it out but I’ll leave that for another day.

There is a nice variety of easy runs, fartlek, tempo as well as long and longer runs.

The key columns are the long and longer runs as well as races. So in the first six months I have done …

12 runs of 10-20miles
7 runs & races of over 30miles

Again is that enough? To much? About right? 19 runs of over 10miles which works out at 3 per month. That feels about right for me as I work on a four week cycle (three hard weeks and an easy week).

To be honest I don’t think I’ll be changing too much with regard to my long runs as this feels about right. Plus by their nature they take time and there are other things to do!

Food
The other big area is my nutrition on races. I still have a lot to do on this area to get things right. The difference between feeling you have enough energy to run the whole way and getting that ‘running on empty’ feeling is down to food. I’m planning to experiment a bit over the next year, particularly trying complan type meals and also finding some savoury food I can stomach on a long run.

I’ve also been asked to post what I eat during a normal week so watch out for that!!

Next week I’ll post my training plan for the next few months as I build up to the River Ayr Way Race on Saturday 18th September.

My first run will be on Saturday. I’m looking forward to getting my running shoes on again.
Finally thanks to everyone who has visited this site over the past month. I hit a high of 651 hits on Sunday 20th June and 670 on Monday 21st June … the days after the whw race.
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4 Responses to Review of the last six months

  1. Hey JK,

    Nice to bump into you yesterday. So glad it wasn't towards the end of the run, as my face was close to bursting!

    I think it's easier for Richie/Marco/Thomas to run more miles, because they run them faster than most. I probably do the same amount of training as Marco, but he definitely covers more distance than me. Plus, these guys have more time on their hands 🙂 🙂

    It really comes down to what suits you and your life best. I tried running everyday back in December and I was falling apart and starting to dislike running.

    Are you back out running this weekend?

  2. Johann says:

    Once again, thanks for all the detailed info. If finishing time is an important goal I think focusing on fewer races is the way to go. Glad to hear your recovery is going well. I can relate to the 2 weeks with no running…not easy.

  3. Thomas says:

    Well, I can now run more miles since I have build up the capability to do that. I have now averaged 66miles/week and that feels ok. Two years ago that was too much and I would have overtrained!
    The lesson for me is that the legs should actually feel ok after a training run. And I am now much more in favour of running shorter back to backs than longer runs.
    For example I would rather do a 20/20/20 than a 60 miler.

  4. Gav says:

    Well John, thanks for putting up your monthly milages. I now have a training plan for 2011 ! Gav

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