The clock still ticks and the TP100 looms. With 65 days to go that's a solid reality check if anyone needed one. In last two weeks I have been getting nervous. I guess it's more anticipation. I have run ultras since end of 2011, but with focus since 2013. More specifically I have only recently started training smart, with a view to really seeing what I can achieve. This has had the effect of truly reviving my love of running. I'm talking about that feeling you get when you stop thinking about the fact you are running. I also now understand the nerves of the well trained runner. I am fully invested in my efforts. On race day there will be no where to hide, no excuses and what I get will be what I deserve. That's an exhilarating sense of control, but also a responsibility that emits its own pressure.
So training last week was non existent due to poorly children and having a lot of work on and my nephew come visit. Historically this would have slid me on the rails, but the previous week of 97km and gym work has kept me positive. The combination of these polar opposite weeks seems to have jump started my system. I'm now feeling more upbeat and productive, both at home, at work and with my running.
Previously I would have run without purpose. Probably clocking up 20 miles per week on average. I am now training smarter and trying to ensure every session has a purpose. If I find something I don't like I explore that. Do I not like it because it disinterests me or because I can't do it. If it's the latter then I make it part of my training and smash it's door down. Then I start enjoying it. Once I reach this point I move to another door. This means my training has the balance between enjoyable and brutal.
My dirty secrets are that I've grown very fond of the treadmill as part of my training and also Strava for logging my efforts. The treadmill means I can give sessions detailed focus. An example being my hill sessions with a steady constant pace and every two minutes increasing the incline by 1%. I got to 10% before my legs had enough. I can plan and repeat such sessions again. With strava I find for me it generates a sense of accountability. I work to hit goals and be able to measure the improvement and sense of well being.
Of course the training is about being ready for outdoor races and the challenges ahead. No indoor training replaces my love of running outside. My last long run I tried to be more disciplined and run smart. I wanted a slow long run. So I held back at about 11minutes per mile. I felt rubbish at start, but this was more psychological. It became a comfortable rythmn. With this pace I was enjoying the run and not blowing out the reserves. This was evident in the last two miles where I felt like I had loads left and comfortably ran a 9min19 mile. With these sort of runs I am able to load up the training.
A recent article by James Elson made a lot of sense to me. My training seems now to be very polarised between fast sessions and slow. This balance works well and has allowed me to crank up the quality miles in my legs.
Let's see what the next couple of weeks bring, but I'm definitely improving. With a long run on the downs looming this weekend I'm looking forward to it and can't wait. Training means I will start the running with slightly tired legs, but that's part of the training as well.
So training is going well. Now time to really focus on managing food and shifting the weight.