Friday, 9 March 2018

TP 100 Training Blog 4 - Getting (Head) Strong

There is a point where the mist clears and all the well-worded disinformation comes into focus.

Some races, like some "friends", will destroy you if you let them.  Regardless how much to prepare and invest they will take all you can possibly give, twist everything back on itself and then kick you hard you when you least expect it, leaving you broken and in a world of pain.  It'll be your fault.  So, at least we can train for races.

I have run with depression for a few years, covered a few times elsewhere, and often being alone is not a great way to help the healing process.  Running solo over 4 or 5 hours can initially be hard work, mainly because no-one wants to run with you.  The hours and miles tend to merge,  you have way too much time to overthink issues, wonderful ideas are forgotten before the run has ended, you have no-one to share the sudden outstanding views with and pushing on to the end can be a battle of wills, but you learn not to rely on others and to focus on the goal.  Learning to train hard and sensibly is important, then rely on the training during the race.

In the past months, I have been running distances way beyond my normal training regime as the weeks count down to 5th May.  In that training, I have taken over 15 minutes off my marathon PB time, as well as beating my PB's in 5k, 10k and half marathon times in training.  The times are nothing to write home about but I am pleased with them and I feel stronger for it.  I have a few extra aches and pains for the extra mileage.  Part of getting strong is fuelling right all the time and taking recovery serious, especially us V30's (okay, okay V50's ) when the body doesn't repair as quickly as it used to, often requiring a helping nudge.

Running with friends, or having a reliable people as crew, has been important to me in the past few months.
I spent 12 years in the army, and although not your typical squaddie, I had discipline.  I was never charged, I never missed a parade or was picked up for untidiness.  I kept my equipment clean, achieved good course results and never cut corners to achieve what was asked of me.  I learnt to do my best, regardless of how rubbish the command was, and never give up.  Failing is one thing, we all do that, but giving up is something I wouldn't allow myself to do.

The winter training runs and races this year have been hard at times, leaving a warm bed at 5am on a Saturday or Sunday morning in minus temperatures to run 25 miles takes a lot of self-discipline, it's the same self-discipline that forces you not to take a shortcut on the run or keep running when your legs scream to walk or stop.  That same discipline helps force the ghosts out of my head and allows me to focus on the goal.

Refocusing my mind and running with friends who share and love the sport, as well as the company, has helped me in the past few months.  I have learnt a lot about myself and my weaknesses, allowing me to build and push on.  The Thames Path 100 is looking less daunting, I know I will be supported by friends I can count on.


All runners love new kit, so here are a few recent purchases.

Hoka ORA Recovery Slides

The Hoka recovery slide is a well-cushioned sandal that is ideal to slip on after a long training run or race.  There is enough arch and heel support for most runners and meta-rocker to keep your feet moving.  I love them and spend most hours at home with them on.

Leki MICRO RCM trail running poles

After borrowing a set of poles for the Pilgrim's Challenge in 2017 I decided to finally purchase a set of running poles to help with a few upcoming races.  These extremely light carbon fibre minimalist poles almost paid for themselves at the Beyond the Far Side endurance race in January.  There are lots of running poles, but these Leki work perfect.

LED SENSOR MH10 Head Torch

The MH10 head torch has the choice between 600, 250 and 10 lumens.  The rechargeable battery is swappable and has an adjustable beam.  Having struggled to find a powerful enough head torch for night running I have finally found the head torch of my dreams!  Again, not the cheapest option but the powerful beam sold it to me. 

Altra Torin 3

At the moment I am killing shoes every few months.  I had a pair of Torin 2's and they were ideal road and dry trail shoes, the Torin 3 is a massive jump forward with the iconic wide toe box and cushioned sole and a new improved upper that wears better than previous versions.  Zero drop shoes are not everyone's taste and require some transitioning, but once you are adjusted these shoes are perfect for long runs.

1 comment:

  1. Head torch sounds interesting. I will probably buy a cheaper option though.
    Stay mentally healthy Mick