Run, Bike, Crawl…?
What I have learnt this month:
1) Mental strength could make or break my event day regardless of my fitness.
2) A lot of people look at me like I’m crazy when I come back from a mid week 3hour run, when they ask “you have to go how far in a day?” or when they see me outside training regardless of the weather. I don’t think I’m crazy, but maybe that’s exactly what a crazy person would say…
- Dealing with issues as they arrive is better than putting them off.
4) It’s very hard getting a cup of tea mid run.
I have found I can adapt quite well to endurance training, once I get over the first couple of hours, I don’t find it gets physically much tougher providing I keep myself fed and watered but I think I need to toughen my mental strength. Not that I have struggled so far; running for 3…4…5 hours doesn’t seem to phase me, however doing this after 127 miles and a 4am start may be different. This could be a very emotional experience. Anyone who knows me, knows I do not cope well with lack of sleep, I’m good with a full 6hours shut eye, but anything less than that and life can’t possibly go on. I’m hoping the adrenaline and ambition to finish the event will drive me through, along with a good cup of tea.
A nice cuppa would be most appreciated on these long, cold runs, just to lift my spirits and let me know everything will all be alright. Can you get a cup of tea half way up a mountain?
Music is a big thing for me, both in every day life and in training. I can promise that it is not your usual workout playlist, Mike and the Mechanics gets me up hills, and Meatloaf brings me home strong (these aren’t even the embarrassing songs). I usually complete races without music, which has been fine on endurance rides as I often enter these with other people so I have someone to chat to and shorter runs are good without music as I don’t have to spend too long in my own head. But anything up to 20hours of me and my thoughts, could be dangerous.
Maybe I will find out I am crazy after all.
In a few weeks I will at the end of my first 10week block and my distance will drop by half and build back up over the following 10 weeks (I just had my first panic writing that, July 29th doesn’t seem too far off now). Over my second training cycle I have decided to run less with music, especially on my long runs, just to see what goes on between the ears and what exercise demons are living up there.
I do sometimes question this challenge, “why am I doing this?” which quickly follows with “why not?” and I can’t really answer why not. Why would I not challenge myself and see what my limits are? Exactly, so pipe down demons and let me get on with it.
I have also learnt that whilst training for such long distance, it is OK to stop when needed. My first few long trail runs this year resulted in blisters, hunger, dehydration due to my ego not letting me stop to get anything out of my bag. But I learnt the hard way that when something starts rubbing, stop and sort it out. You are not going to be able to make the next 2hours of your run if you are already getting a blister on the back of your foot. I am quite enjoying running with a backpack now, at first the extra 4-5kgs annoyed me and I felt slow, but I think I’d now feel lost without being so well prepared on a run, no plasters, no extra layers, no waterproofs…. what would I possibly do if I didn’t have my extra neck warmer with me???? (I was genuinely very happy with myself packing an extra one and used it as a headband to keep my ears warm during a windy day). I don’t have to tie extra layers round my waist or worry about carrying anything extra in my hands.
I had a bit of a melt down before a 20mile run a couple of weeks ago. I didn’t close my backpack bladder properly, leading to a soaking wet backpack, I couldn’t find my favourite running sunglasses, I couldn’t find my foam roller to loosen my calf before I went and don’t even get me started on the tea situation. Nightmare. I ended up running a very fast 20miles and balance to the world was restored. I came to the conclusion I need to be more chilled the days and hours leading up to my event.
I am not that pleasant to be around before a race, not that I’m not a nice person, It’s just me Vs the challenge ahead. I have my rituals; I like my music in, I like everything to be perfect, I don’t like speaking about irrelevant topics, I don’t like speaking about how I’m feeling, I don’t really like speaking at all. Just let me get in my zone and do my thing. This may need to change for this race, again mental preparation is huge and I believe I need to stay in a very positive frame of mind. Getting hung up on the little things could be wasted mental energy I may need towards the end of the day. C’est la vie.
All money raised goes towards Children with Cancer
The chances of finding out what’s really going on in the universe are so remote, the only thing to do is hang the sense of it and keep yourself occupied.