Lunch Time Run and an email

Tonight I had time at lunch time to get out for a run around Pollok Park. It was a little drizzly but not too cold. I wore a rain jacket as even if it wasn’t raining it keeps me running a little slower which is the idea for my recovery/easy week.

Every now and then I receive an email from someone who has discovered this blog and asks for some help or just to thank me for the information here. It’s always nice to hear that it has helped someone.

My main aim for continuing to write this blog is for myself. I enjoy recording what I’m doing and it’s great to be able to look back on 7 years of running ultras. For example before Saturday’s training run I was able to read last year’s report and remember how I felt and how it went.

But one of the reasons I started this blog in 2006 was to record all I was learning for my first ultra, the 2007 West Highland Way Race.  When I started it I thought it was going to be a one year project and it would have surprised me to discover that over 7 years later I’m still recording what I’m learning (and relearning!!).

Anyway I had an email from a runner from south of the border. Here is part of what he wrote …

Hi John,
I’ve just spent all evening reading your blogs and watching your recent video! Amazing!

I’ve been running for 34 years, (I’m 52) and have run 14 road marathons to date. My PB is 2.48 but that was before I was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondylitis, a chronic form of arthritis. Rather than give up, I battled on and it has been my life saver. Research now shows that exercise is the best way to keep AS at bay. It’s painful, I live on a cocktail of painkillers and NSAID’s and it does stop me running every now and again but I’ve challenges to complete, so can’t give up!

I’m in the London Marathon again this year, I ran last year in an orange skeleton Morph suit, for NASS and raised money and awareness of this common but often undiagnosed condition. Over 200,000 known sufferers in the UK, probably many more.
Recently I’ve looked for new challenges and trail running, being softer on the joints was a good way to go. I’m attempting my first trail ultra in May (50 miles) and in November I’m in the Brecon Beacons Ultra too.
Here’s my question, hope you don’t mind, I live in Berkshire where there are few hills and not very challenging trails. I’ve been given a plan to train by for the race in May, building it around London but I feel I’m not doing enough. I see you do back to back long runs at weekends. My schedule shows rest or cross train on Saturdays and LSD on Sundays followed by rest on Mondays. I know I need to get in some hill training but do you advise I run back to back long runs at weekends to prepare for the distance?
I do appreciate you taking the time to read this, any help or advice is great, thanks.
Kind regards,

I’ve sent a reply …….

Thanks for your email. I’m glad you enjoyed reading my blog!!
Sorry to hear about your AS but well done on keeping on running.
As you will gather from my blog I love the off road running as I think it is a lot kinder to our legs plus the views are better.
To answer your question … I do think back to back runs are really good preparation for ultra running.  I find if I run say 11miles on Sat and 18miles on Sunday I’ve covered almost 30miles but it doesn’t take as much time and the Sunday run is on slightly tired legs which is great preparation for ultra running.
The best thing is to try and see if it helps.  Maybe try every other weekend to start with and build up the distance.
It sounds as though it’s hard to find hills where you are so you may need to travel some weekends to get some longer downhill running which is vital to prepare for ultras.

Does anyone else have some good advice I could pass on?

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3 Responses to Lunch Time Run and an email

  1. Alyson says:

    Hi john,
    I live and work down in Cambridge so likewise it is difficult to find hills to train on and while of course I do come back up to Scotland during the longer hols. down here I do back to back runs but also use the gym and train on the cross trainer stair machines or bike at the highest resistance to try and replicate hills. I will also go out for a run after doing a gym session to help with running on tired legs. Hope this helps.

  2. Thanks Alyson. Good advice!

  3. Dale Jamieson says:

    reduce the load stress on the joints at every opportunity; every training run and every race by wearing HOKA’s. This isn’t a sales pitch as its exactly what I intend to do from now on

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