I love the fact that there are so many ways to approach running ultras. Not everyone shares what they do on blogs or facebook etc but those that do give an insight into how different people train and prepare.
I was amused by one post on the Fling forum the other day which asked various basic questions about the Fling. Here is someone leaving things to the very last minute. If you’ve not seen it have a look and especially Tim’s tongue in cheek reply!
Anyone reading this blog will know that on a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being prepared) I must be in the 9-10 range. For me I love the preparation and planning as much as the race itself.
Right from my very first ultra (Fling in 2007) I have set myself targets. I’ve not always achieved them but it’s been fun trying! I’m not sure if it’s getting harder or easier to estimate finishing times.
A few friends have said to me that my Fling pb of 9.44 doesn’t really reflect my whw pb. I’m not so sure. I know how well I ran in 2008 to achieve that and while I do feel I’m in as good a shape as 3 years ago I won’t really know until about 20-30miles into the race when it starts to get tough and you ask your legs to go again. Will they be able to respond?
Anyway in my preparation for Saturday’s race there are two main things I’ve been working on. My pace and my nutrition.
Again there are lots of runners who approach these things very differently to me but for what’s worth here are my thoughts as I plan for Saturday.
I remember running with Ian B once and he told me that he often split a main section into two or three smaller ones to give him an idea of how he was getting on.
I find this really helpful for several reasons. It makes a long run a lot easier mentally. If I look after each mini-section then the overall distance takes care of itself.
It also helps me with my pace. Hopefully encouraging me not to run too fast especially early on. It gives me a smaller focus which I find really helps especially when I’m going through a tough patch.
The key to this preparation is being realistic with my times. I have four years worth of training runs and races and have been able to work out what is realistic for each mini-section.
One of the disadvantages of this system is dealing with things if you fall behind. Last year in both the Fling and whw I did just that. I set myself unrealistic targets for my fitness level and from half way in both races I started slipping behind my targets which was hard mentally.
Both times I ditched the targets and just concentrated on finishing as best I could.
With that in mind I have set myself a challenging but realistic 9.55 target. Last year I tried to work on a 9.40 plan and I was always struggling to stay with it. I would rather aim for a realistic time and if things are going well keep ahead of it.
So here is my 9.55 plan. It is based on trying to get to Beinglas Farm with enough left in the tank to run the last 12miles in 2.30 or better. In 2008 I ran this section in 2.22. Last year 2.45. I know which one I preferred!