Planning for the Fling

Today I ran at lunchtime.  Another easy 5mile run. I felt a bit better today and definitely feel ready for Saturday’s race. 

One of the things I really enjoy about ultra races is the build up and preparation.  I know there are lots of runners who just turn up and run as they feel but I’m not one of them!  I like to have a plan.  My races don’t always go to plan and I have to change things if things aren’t going well.

But I do like to have a plan to start with.  This will be my 7th Highland Fling so I have plenty of data to look back on.  My best Flings were in 2008 and 2009 and I’m realistic enough to suspect that my pb of 9.44.10 is probably beyond me.  Note the use of the words ‘suspect’ and ‘probably’ as I still harbour hopes of everything coming together for a pb breaking run!

I do, though, feel that my training has gone well and I’m confident of being able to get under 10hrs again.  I’d be very happy with 9.59.59!! So I’m going to set off with a sub 10hr plan and try and stay with it for as long as I can.  If I can’t keep to the pace then I’ll readjust my aim and try and finish as best as I can.

There are two main areas of my preparation. Firstly my nutrition and secondly my pacing. I’ve always been keen to honestly share my thoughts on this blog from the very first post in October 2006. So here are my thoughts on those two areas with the race less than 5 days away.

1. Nutrition
I would like to eat everything I take this year.  So often I take too much and end up ditching it in the bin so I’m only putting in my drop bags food which I realistically plan to eat.

I’m working on my key elements of firstly variety with savory as well as sweet food and secondly splitting the race into thirds with solid food in the first third, ‘sloppy’ food in the 2nd third and ‘liquid’ food in the last third.

I reckon there are enough calories there to fuel me for 53miles. The big question is whether I can eat and drink it. My plan is to eat on the run using the hills.

2. Pace
I like to break down the 53miles into 2-3mile chunks.  I have my watch on lap splits so I’m not really looking at the overall time.  I just concentrate on each mini-split. These are based on past races and training runs.  If I can tick off each mini-split on time then the overall time will look after itself.  If I fall behind on one I write that off and try and keep on track for the next split.

In lots of my ultra races this plan has worked really well and I’ve been able to keep right on my schedule. But there have been other races when I’ve fallen behind and struggled to keep going.  My plan is to try and stay with it for as long as I can.

Here is my sub 10hr race plan …..

I have just one more easy run on Thursday morning to do before the race.  The weather for Saturday looks very good ….

I would be very happy with that!

The numbers for the Hoka Highland Fling have been published on the Race web site.   Katrina is number 285 and I’m 286. 

Finally you have until 6pm on Friday if you want to enter my ‘Guess My Time’ Competition

For those running the race, especially for the first time, try and stay as relaxed as possible and I look forward to seeing you at Milngaive early on Saturday morning.

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2 Responses to Planning for the Fling

  1. Fantastic post John - great for newbies like me and no doubt more experienced heads. Think this contribution sums up the ethos of both you and ultra running community as a whole - more about collective experience than the competitive plane.


  2. Breandán says:

    Best of luck to you John - it sounds like you have all of your schedules spot on.

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