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On the up

 

FACT – I am entered in the Scott Snowdonia Trail Marathon, 26th July 2015.

FACT – I have (in the last year) made a habit of running flat road routes, to and from work – for a total of 3.75miles in any one go.

FACT – When I have attempted anything longer it has been a slow jog/walk, like in the High Peak Marathon (42miles) this February, or a speedy (by my standards) 14mile urban trail (Trail Rush), for a calf wrecking 1hr 57min.

FACT – I need to get some hills in.

Challenge:

To build the stamina and fitness to the level required for an off-road Marathon (26.2mile) where I might be running for almost all of a very hilly course indeed (more ascent than Ben Nevis).

What have I done so far?  I just ran the Edale Skyline route (most of it) with a friend at the weekend.  3064ft of ascent over 17.3miles.

Felt good, taking 4hrs 13min (with a couple of stops).

Conclusions:

Compared with the last time I attempted the Skyline – brilliant.  Completed the run!  Comfortable and moving well.  No grief from lower legs and no dehydration headache.  Didn’t quit at Jacobs Ladder like in 2013.

Our route

Our route – click for full size

Reason – drinking on the move.  Alternating between Chia Charge drink and water.  500ml of each in my Ultimate Direction Scott Jurek Ultra Vest.  Eating also helped, with two eggs and a banana prior to setting off, then a further banana part way into the route and occasional Honey Stinger Electrolyte chews.

It helped having the company of good friend Tom (regular running buddy) and a fair amount of running in me when compared to that failed attempt 2 years ago.  I had confidence in my ability, but more than that – the right kit.  The vest was secure, loaded with the right food and drink, along with extras like a long sleeve and windproof, just in case.  I carried (but didn’t need) a couple of gels for any unexpected lows, but thanks to having eaten light first thing and a slow steady pace throughout the run, the tried and tested bananas were just what I needed.

Those hills in profile - via Suunto Movescount

Those hills in profile – via Suunto Movescount

The Chia Charge drink provided some long term energy and was tasty.  The sweets made sure I replaced any salt lost when sweating.  The banana gave me some fuel, but also satisfied my stomach (always helps to feel like you’ve really eaten something, though some will feel comfy on just gels alone).  The associated benefits of eating bananas can be seen here (thanks to Mikk Murray for the info).

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So –

How are things looking ahead of that Marathon in Wales?  Not too scary really.  I think the next test will be to go back and run the entire Skyline route, including Grindslow Knoll and Win Hill Summits, omitted this time around.  If I can up my average speed, while taking in these added sections, it’ll be a good indication of how I’ll cope with the monumental climbs at Snowdonia.

My run to/from work will have to change too, so I will be trying to go ‘as the crow flies’, up and over Parkwood Springs (Dry Ski Slope).

Then I can assess my nutrition and what it’s doing for me.  Seems silly to think we have our very own Nutritionist – Hannah Bailey here in the Performance Centre and I’m unsure of how to eat.  We’ll see if she spies this and tells me off…..

 

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