Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Lakes 50

Blorenge: my new training ground

I wasn't very happy with my result at Osmotherley Phoenix. I went away and had a bit of a think about things. Although I could blame things on the heat and having done a lot of racing for the 4 weeks beforehand, those excuses didn't really hit the nail on the head. I think the edge had just gone from my running. Something needed to be done. I formed a plan:

- do some serious interval training: this would get me running faster, just getting used to moving my legs faster
- do some hill training. I had always been good on the hills in the past and I think things had lapsed a bit with most of my training being done around Chippenham
- get more competitive

Based on all this, I decided to enter the Lakes 50 and use that to focus my training. Training has been going well. I've been doing 800m and 1000m intervals on the Peckingell straight (a leisurely mile and a half jog from work to a wonderfully quite section of country road by the Wiltshire Avon). I've been running up and down Blorenge in the Brecon Beacons: multiple ascents per session. Blorenge has the biggest vertical ascent in the Brecon Beacons (470m) and is steep. I've got my ascent time down from just under 25 minutes to 21.5 minutes. More importantly, I now feel confident: I feel like my old self on the mountains. I ran the Stroud AC Cherington 10k race last week and posted a time of 38m30s: I was pleased with this run as my first 10km road race, I was even more pleased with the mental state that I ran the race in: I was always pushing, always competing.

I'm looking forward to seeing what effect the training will have on my ultra-running. The Lakes 50 should be a really good place to gauge my progress. I tend to get inspired by running in the mountains and the Lakes has some special mountains. It looks like the weather is going to be cool and I'm not going to have to put up with the same heat that I suffered in at Osmotherley. 

The big potential problem I see for myself is that I know very little about the course. I know a bit of the section in Langdale and I've caught fleeting glimpses of the early stage from a cloudy and wet KIMM five years ago (is there any other type of KIMM?). I am going to be navigating the Lakes 50 on sight with map and compass: this is something that I'm quite looking forward to, but it will add another dimension and more stress to the race.

A part of me says that I should be running in the Lakes 100. I just don't think this is a good idea. I know how the UTMB (Mont Blanc 100 mile race) affected me in 2007 / 2008 and I don't want that this year. I want to enjoy the last races in this year's series (and the plan is to do quite a few of them) and doing the Lakes 50 should leave me something in the tank for later in the season. If I'd done better at Osmotherley, I'd have been tempted to have a crack at the Lakes 100 (the points would have been in the bank before the Lakes race). As it is, I need a solid performance at the Lakes 50 followed by a couple more solid performances in the series's latter races.

And what if it doesn't go to plan at the Lakes 50? I'll just have to redouble my training efforts for the next race! Whatever happens, it'll be fun.

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