Ultra training and not being (so) dumb.

Today was my first DNS of the year.  After yesterday’s 15 miler (which included a few stops for stretching since my left calf was seizing up), I got home, stretched, foam rolled, and massaged my sore limb, hoping that it would loosen up througout the day.

It did not.  I woke up this morning to a crazy painful lower leg, and despite some futile (and desperate) stretches and a stint on the foam roller, my ‘test jog’ across my living room floor pretty much confirmed it: I would not be running the Forfar multi-terrain half marathon today.

As little as one year ago, I might have thrown caution to the wind, and taken Ronnie up on his offer of a lift, grimacing my way through the 13.1 miles despite sharp, painful protests from my body.  In fact, I did.  But with my first ultra a mere 6 weeks away (well, shit), I have become somewhat sensible, and decided to take a bit of time to allow my calf to rest up and heal (as it has been feeling particularly tight all week).  I don’t even know myself anymore.

Apart from a couple of minor setbacks, like today, my training has been going reasonably well.  Launching into ultra training on the back of a marathon has afforded me a few easier weeks (with 14-ish mile long runs), but the distances are starting to ramp up again.  Last weekend, for example, was a 24 mile run from Aberdeen to Stonehaven over Elsick Mounth, a run I ran from Stonehaven to Aberdeen last summer with Ronnie.  It was a lot warmer (and sunnier) that time:

Looking down upon Aberdeenshire - summer 2013

Looking down upon Aberdeenshire – summer 2013

Sadly, we are elbow deep in winter, and rain and strong winds were regular features of our jaunt last weekend.  Still, some good ‘hill training’ at the end, judging by the elevation profile:

ABZ-STNNext weekend is another 24 miles, but hillier, and expected to take the best part of the day.  I’m looking forward to it, but I hope (so hard) that we don’t get snow/sleet/storms/gusts/etc., because that will inflict my inevitable bitching on the group of people I’ll be running with, and I don’t want an experience with ‘grumpy-at-the-weather-Rachel’ to be their initial impression of my character.  I even dislike myself when I’m angry at the weather.

11 thoughts on “Ultra training and not being (so) dumb.

  1. Glad to see you’re making better choices regarding recovery and running. You need to be at your best for your ultra.

    The weather has been so trying lately: we skipped a Sunday run for the first time since we started them last spring because the wind and rain were so bad. It’s difficult finding motivation to get out in this, so way to keep persevering. See you in a month!

  2. Stick with it! I’m slowly easing back into running after about seven weeks off for a knackered knee. I too am taking it very cautiously as I seem to have a new injury every time I come home. Just my body finding a new balance, I suppose. I had plans for the Edinburgh Marathon and Kielder Ultra, but both, I fear, are too soon.

    • You signed up for Edinburgh? I’d love to go back for the full – especially as it always seems to be during a freak Scottish heatwave (my ideal conditions!), but this year is two weeks after the Highland Fling, so….. no chance. Have you got any plans for later in the year?

      • No, I was waiting to see how my training went. At best I’ll be about two weeks late, but entries are closed now. Still places for the half, though. I accidentally entered the ballot for the Great North Run. I said I’d never run it again, but when I got the email to say entries were open I automatically clicked the link and paid before I remembered. I’ll find out next the week if I had a lucky escape.

        My big plan is to run my namesake – the Ponton Plod – in September. If I do I think I will be the first Ponton to do so. It clashes with the GNR, so could be a problem. I imagine I’ll do a few halves and trail runs along the way. Another definite will be the Great Cumbria Run (half) which I really enjoyed last year.

        And I’ve started planning a mixed terrain (trail – road – fell) race to raise funds for my rowing club.

  3. Sucks about having to miss a race, but absolutely sounds like the best decision. Ultra training is so nuts. What is your longest run? When do you get to taper? So many questions! I am not a fan of training during the winter, so I would be bitching with you in the cold and sleet. Hope you heal up fast and can finish out these last 6 weeks in a strong fashion!

    • Tried a spin class tonight – lasted ten minutes before bailing. Calf wasn’t ‘hurting’, but didn’t feel right. Longest run before the 33 miler will be 28 (hopefully), and the 33 miler will likely be the longest (or second longest) before the 53 miler. I’m booked for the Milan marathon on April 6th – after that I taper. 🙂

  4. I think the “worst” part about ultra training, assuming you don’t get injured and actually ENJOY running long distances, is foregoing fun nights out pretty much every weekend of the summer. At least you’re doing the bulk of your long runs in the winter, which certainly makes for an easier regimen.

    Keep it up!

    • It’s ‘night’ by about 4pm here, so finishing while it’s still light is pretty good motivation to get out. And while I enjoy the fact that I’m working hard through weather I’d normally be cooped up inside in, I am looking forward to my mini running hiatus in May to recharge, because I don’t feel I’ve had a real break from running for a while. Or a wild night out, you’re totally right.

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