The Road is Always Long

My journey through the world of ultra marathons.

The Devil – two weeks later.

Well, that has been exactly two weeks since the start of the Devil O’ the Highlands race, exactly as it’s (5:58) in the morning.  What the f…. am I doing up at this time?  Well, I’ve a big conversation to have on Monday and I woke at 4am thinking about what I am going to say and how I am going to say it.  Difficult conversations are not normally a source of stress for me, I don’t enjoy them, but I don’t shy away from them either.  Sometimes they just have to be done.  I’ve been given a great opportunity that I think, given my current circumstances, I would be foolish not to progress.

Anyway, I thought I would give an update on the last two weeks, post race, maybe some reflection, and some plans going forward.  Forward planning now fills me with a little dread.  I can target races months away and given my injury rate of late, I’ve no idea if I will make the start line!!

I took a full week and and a day off training after the race.  I let loose on the diet and allowed myself a few indulgent days/evenings with family and friends.  This included a 4:30pm start with mates in Edinburgh and a 5am finish! Ouch!  It took me days to recover from that.  This was a regular feature about 15-20 years ago, but as we are all in our 40’s our recovery ability from such nights is about the same as my recovery from a hard track session – it takes days!!!

It was good not to be training, not having to get up early or worry about packing my bag for work (my training is my commute), but by the Wednesday (only 3 days off) I was missing it and looking forward to getting back to training.  By the following Sunday, post race, I’d gained 8 pounds!!  If I didn’t run i would be a right porker!

I’d planned in a very easy week to come back.  Easy jogging into work (just over 4 miles) and then easy jogging home (6 miles to train station).  However, I remember a famous coach (whose name escapes me, LOL, not that famous then) who said that if you feel good then run harder, or words to that effect (my paraphrasing is rubbish).  So yesterday, I left work and after the usual awkward first mile, I felt really good and bouncy.  I picked up the pace on each mile and from starting out at 6:50 average pace I finished at 6:10 average pace, covering the first five miles in just over 31 minutes, with an easy mile to the train station.  I just felt good, so went for it.  I’ve also started back at the gym with some core work and stretching and next week I’ll be introducing some plyometric work a couple of times a week.  Next week is also the start of the 11 week training plan for the Glen Ogle 33 ultra.  This was my first ultra race last November and I fancy having another go at it this year.  The race last year didn’t quite finish the way I wanted it to, but with more miles under my belt and a better understanding of race nutrition and hydration, along with specific training, I should have a better pop at it this year.

So generally the plan is to alternate my long runs on the road and in the hills. The long Sunday runs in the hills will just be about being out there for time on feet, running hard up and down the Pentlands.  I really need to get my skills uprating, The Devil race showed this huge hole in my training.  The long road runs will mostly be sessions, including, marathon paced work, fast finishes, surges etc but I will also just factor in there some easy long runs.  I’m also planning on increasing my Saturday morning runs and including some climb and descent in there.  I am not too far from Arthurs Seat here in Edinburgh, so that could be my Saturday morning run most weeks.

Long runs covered, the remainder of the week will be what I can fit in with work and family life.  We have a new addition coming to the family in about 5 weeks time and this will most likey affect training for a couple of weeks at the very least.  I do have a treadmill in the house so there are options there.  But at the end of the day this is a hobby, family comes first.

I’ve had a few niggles this week, my left hip flexor has been painful as well as both quads.  I suspect this is just a reaction to the Devil, but other than that I think I have recovered quite well.  Better than I expected, it took me a few weeks to get over the GO33 race from last year and it really affected my races for the remainder of the year.  Which was annoying as I was selected for the Scottish Masters Cross Country team for the annual international race, and ran very poorly.

I’ve put my name forward again to the selectors for this year too, but I am not hopeful of a spot on the team.  There are now many 40+ Scottish males far quicker then me, and would deserve a place on the team ahead of me.  Unfortunately, they all can’t make the racing weekend (this year it’s in Nottingham).  Or should I say fortunately, so I get the nod, LOL.

Nutirition wise, I have altered my proteen intake.  I’ve started to use a protein supplement for the first time in the hope that I can recover quicker from sessions.  I am not holding my breath, but it was something I picked up from a very good book I have been reading.  Will see if it makes a difference, it not, it will be ditched as it’s expensive and just something else to organise on a daily basis!!

Anyway, it’s good to ge this down on the virtual paper, so to speak.  Always good to read back and see how things went and see what adjustments can be made to training and nutrition. It’s also 6:34 (how long does it take me to write stuff down) and I need to go and get my run out of the way.

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