Tag Archives: ultramarathon

Ultra blog – week 21

28 Jun

Run more, eat more, enjoy the solitude

I’ve made it this far and it’s been a real journey. I am amazed at what my body has achieved so far and know now it can support me all the way.  Provided I take good care of it.

The one important lesson I learned is that a body needs fuel. I made the mistake of not increasing my food intake while I was increasing my mileage week on week.  I complained to my physio that I was aching all over and felt incredibly tired all the time.  I thought it was just to be expected, but he made the ground breaking statement that I must eat more food! Now that I am running upwards of 50K a week I need more calories.  It made so much sense but I didn’t feel any more hungry than usual.  Whatever the reason for that, not surprisingly, as soon as I started eating more I felt so much better.  I didn’t cram in loads of junk food though, I was just eating more but sensibly.  But I had decided to become a vegetarian half way through my training.  Not a good idea but I’m an all or nothing kind of person.  So I had a period of adjustment there.  I still eat fish and I crave sushi most of the time.  A sure sign of what this body needs.

With that minor obstacle over, generally I have been injury and illness free.  I had an issue with my ankle which the physio warned me was my Achilles tendon.  Then my osteopath suggested it was the Tibialis Posterior.  So I dutifully carried out the exercises they both gave me and revelled in their manipulations, now, much less pain.  My body is definitely getting stronger and I do feel as if a few weeks back I hit reset and I’m good as new, if not better.  Now I am spending so much time on my feet I just have to deal with some serious blisters.  But skin can heal.  It’s tendons, ligaments and bones that tend not to.  And the blisters tend to heal overnight if treated properly.  So all in all I have been extremely lucky so far.

I am much better at running on consecutive days (run streaks).  I’ve learned a lot about mid-run nutrition and just coping with covering so much distance.  Fitting in runs around work and life in general has been a pleasure, rather than a chore.  On holiday I managed two 10K runs around Rome and loved it.  Having the whole city to myself very early in the morning when it was cooler was one of the most profound experiences of my life.  Also, getting in those long weekend runs before the temperatures rise during this year’s heatwave has meant I have seen so much wildlife and that has been a fantastic experience.  There have been so many positive benefits to this ridiculous amount of running.

In fact, I am seriously concerned about how I am going to cope without doing so much once the big race is over. On my last recovery week I had two rest days in a row and my life felt meaningless.  I was irritable and snappy.  Whilst in contrast, these final three weeks of peak training have left me feeling isolated and lonely because all I am doing is working, sleeping and running, and repeat and I haven’t had a social life at all.  I know it is just for a short time but it’s just something else to deal with.  Who knows how I am going to cope after the race?  I may need to give that some serious thought….

Until then, only three more weeks to go. Let taper madness begin.

 

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Ultra blog 4

25 Mar

The next instalment – some more basics

Injury

Every runner, indeed every human, suffers from wear and tear. Touch wood I have never been so injured that I have missed races, but I inevitably get sprains, strains and niggles caused by over-training.  Usually, rest and recovery over a few days makes it all right again.  During ultra training there is no room for too much rest and recovery and that is why it helps to build in a contingency plan by preparing as long a training schedule as possible in the build up to a race just in case you do have to take a week off to recover and still be on track.

However, if you can’t do that, you can get help. I see a fantastic sports massage specialist called Mitchell Phillips at Studio 57 in Hove.  He and his wife, Elle and brother, Matt are directors of this great practice that offers all kinds of treatment and advice for sportspeople.  Good sports therapy does hurt!  But it’s a good hurt because an hour in a room with Mitch and my legs feel lighter than air.  It is well worth finding professional support like this and worth the cost.

They also give good on-going advice such as a sequence of stretches you can do at home, advice on self-medication like ice or heat. I always get confused as to which is best.  Plus they are great motivators as most of them are sportsmen and women themselves and are knowledgeable about their subject.

So keep on running folks.

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Ultra blog

22 Mar

Constantly running, constantly hungry, constantly tired and constantly aching. Welcome to the world of ultra running.  I love it.

By way of introduction, I like running and it seems to like me, so this is one relationship I can sustain! I ran Brighton Marathon in 2015 and before that London in 2007 after starting out as a bit of a gym-bunny back in 2000. I hope to do New York in November.  In between all that I have run many shorter races, I Parkrun and now I have hopped on the latest bandwagon, the ultra-marathon.

To ultra-run one has to ultra train. Spending so much time on your feet with no distractions means a lot of thinking and a lot to get off your chest so I may be blogging profusely over the next few months.

Caveat: I really am not one of those people who “discovers” something as old as time itself, then builds a whole business and brand around their journey to enlightenment. I wish I was, I might be very rich, but to me it seems trite and a little bit boring.  I am just an ordinary woman, holding down a full-time job, who found out that she loves running in her spare time and it has become a passion.  But this is not my whole life and I am under no illusion that to many this is a well-trodden path (pun intended) and I am not expecting worldwide recognition.  I just feel the need to jot down my experiences, for myself, to remind myself where I came from and where I will go next.  I took inspiration from others like me. If someone gets encouragement from that, good, but it is not my objective.

Keep on running

During marathon training you go through a thorough process of finding out what your body is capable of and also learning to listen to it. During ultra training I can hear it pleading with me – to stop, rest, eat, drink, sleep.  So far I have found, if I can keep my body relatively happy with good nutrition, a constant supply of water, a good night’s sleep and perhaps driving to work instead of walking, it rewards me by sustaining the level of training needed and even belting up a hill on the last run of the week and that amazes me.  Another strange thing is that whilst I am in the actual physical act of running none of these niggles are apparent. It’s only when I stop that they manifest themselves.  The answer therefore must be – keep on running!

See you for the next installment…

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