Saturday, 23 March 2013

Training - Dalemain to Ambleside

Last weekend I originally intended to go up to Scotland and run from Tyndrum to Fort William but things conspired against me with a combination of work commitments and the final throws of building to a house move. So instead of using up a full weekend with travelling, I stayed at home and managed to fit in a long run on the Lakeland 100 route.

John and I did this route last year in lovely weather conditions but this time I woke up to a covering of snow, fog and high winds on the fell tops. Should make for an interesting day out!

I was really pleased with the speed at which I was covering the ground and my ability to maintain this over the full route - a sign that I'm starting to get into shape for the first ultra of the season; the Highland Fling, in only 5 weeks.

This last week has been a wipe out with regard to training, without a single run from Monday to Friday. I always intended this to be an easy week but those same stress factors mentioned earlier meant that I just wasn't able or inclined to get any running done. By pure coincidence, I recently listened to a podcast with a section on overtraining by Marc Laithwaite. In this, he made it clear that overtraining is not just running too much or too fast but is linked to the amount of stress placed on your body. For most of us, this stress usually comes in the form of physical stress from running too much, however, at times, this stress can come in the form of work related issues or other stressful situations (like moving house - tell me about it!!). I am aware that I am running/training well and don't want to jepodise this by pushing myself (over stressing my body in what ever form) and then suffering a major setback.

With all this in mind, I have taken the last five days off from running, not stressed about it, got some major work related issues out of the way, planned a re-wire, planned a new heating system, planned a kitchen (or actually watched Tracey plan a kitchen), planned a bathroom and planned new windows and doors.

What stress?

Enjoy the video trip from Dalemain to Ambleside :-)

Dalemain to Ambleside Training from Recovery Beyond on Vimeo.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

NOT The High Peak Marathon

As often happens in sport, the best laid plans of mice and men......... Last weekend, I was supposed to be running the High Peak Marathon but over the last two weeks the team of 4 had fallen apart at the seams with injuries. Though I was looking forward to the race, it was really just a means to an end in order to get a good long work out in difficult terrain and enjoy the craic of running in a team instead of individually. With this in mind, I made some other plans and decided to take in a couple of legs from the Bob Graham Round.

When I mentioned this at work, Simon (our Headmaster) jumped at the chance to have a look at part of this classic route, so we arranged to meet up after work on Friday and have a yomp round the first leg, taking in Skiddaw, Great Calva and Blencathra, before running back to Keswick along the old railway line. This would Simon's longest mountain adventure to date and he couldn't have picked a better night to have a look at the route.

Simon on Skiddaw at sunset
We had a fantastic evening, and enjoyed a wonderful sunset from the top of Skiddaw before dropping off into the shadow where the temperature took a dive. As we climbed Great Calva, the light started to fade rapidly and we had our head torches on soon after the top as we started the descent.

Sunset from the top of Skiddaw
We took a slightly longer route to Blencathra to avoid the steep drop off Calva and the wider crossing of the river Caldew, but as we started the slog up towards the Cloven Stone we had a chat, mulling over the time of day (late!) and the fact that we did not have micro-spikes with us, eventually making the sensible decision to drop back down to Glenderaterra and head back to Keswick. We had a great night out, covering about 16 miles in 3:48 hours and I suspect it has planted a small seed in Simon's mind about a Bob Graham round in future years.

 That was only half of my plan, so the next morning I caught a bus out to Threlkeld with the intent of running leg 2 of the BG, along the Dodds, taking in Helvellyn and Fairfield, finishing at Dunmail Raise. I don't think I have been up on this route since my own Bob Graham round back in 2007. Back in those days I knew every blade of grass on the route but still thought it prudent to take map and compass with me (it's just a comfort thing) and I spent most of the run remembering BG recces and, obviously, the round itself. As I went further south, the snow and ice got thicker but there was always enough safe ground about, meaning I didn't have to stop and put my Yaktrax on. The views were stunning and I particularly enjoyed seeing a frozen Grisedale Tarn with Fairfield behind.

Grisedale Tarn
The whole adventure really got my mojo going for life back on the high fells after a couple of years of running the lower trails - so there is just one more tweek to add into the training equation. How many tweeks make a full change? It was a great couple of outings and another back to back grouping, the old legs seem to have coped well enough so I'm starting to feel like my fitness is going in the right direction and, so far, the slight rise in mileage is working.

I've had a nice easy week since then, with just 4 sessions, but plan a much bigger week from tomorrow, finishing off with a long day out either on the West Highland Way or, more likely, the Lakeland 100 route - depending on the weather/work/domestics.

Two Bob Graham legs from Recovery Beyond on Vimeo.