Training Recap Week 29 – Finding My Groove And Some Trails

With my first race of 2017 done, its time to look forward and prepare for the Hardmoors Wainstones marathon. 17 miles around Sutton Bank was tough but the race went well and helped build on my endurance and confidence. the Wainstones is a completely different beast though, killer climbs, unforgiving terrain and of course the distance mean my training must be cranked up.

I am a big believer in purposeful practice, the Wainstones is off road and hilly, so I need to train in the same conditions. To date my midweek runs have been mainly on road, so I found a great 7 mile loop near Coneysthorpe featuring woods, fields and tracks. This route has a couple of climbs and one seriously fun descent. Running on road can make your footwork ‘lazy’, there is little need to move fast and stay alert. Whereas on the trails there are roots, rocks and uneven terrain to navigate so I need to make these runs second nature.

That was Thursdays run sorted but I started the week on Tuesday with some hill reps. The climbs I’ll face during race day are tough, far tougher than anything I have ever done before so hill reps should help build my engine. Then we have Saturdays run, I am climbing Snowdon next week so Jayson recommended flatter terrain leading me to stay closer to home. I have some great trails a short drive away and chose to start from Hovingham looping round to Barton-le-Street and back.

Runs like this make me grateful for the place I live. There are so many little trails to explore, with flowers in full bloom, rabbits and deer can be seen through woodland and along quiet farm tracks. The chosen route was undulating but not at all hilly. I have struggled of late pacing these LSR’s especially at 2 hours and above. I felt like Saturday was just right, I had my breathing under control, certainly rhythmic which is the goal for these workouts.

As the glycogen in my muscles runs low, my heart has to work much harder to pump oxygen through my body. This usually starts around the hour mark but I managed to find a sweat spot and lasted till the 90 minute mark without the added effort kicking in. I think finding this perceived effort on the hillier terrain will be vital to finishing the marathon strong.

I am now running five days a week, Wednesday now doubles up with a recovery run and strength and conditioning. I actually feel good despite the additional workload but the real test comes when we add long, hilly runs to the equation as that will take it out of me and theres potential of fatigue setting in.

Week 29 Training Recap

Monday – Strength and conditioning

Tuesday – Hill reps – 5.57 miles

Wednesday – Afternoon 4.19 mile recovery run – Evening strength and conditioning

Thursday – steady run – 6.9 miles Off road on trails

Friday – Strength and conditioning

Saturday – LSR off road – 13.68 miles

Sunday – Recovery run – 4.62 miles

Totals –  = 34.96 miles  = 5hrs 22mins  = 2240ft

The theme of purposeful practice will only grow as I get closer to race day. Next week features a climb up Snowdon in Wales and a few weeks later I’ll test my training on part of the Wainstones course itself. Race day will soon be upon us and my longest run tops out at 2 hours 30 minutes, not to mention that was on easier terrain…I need my body to adapt and stay with me for the next two months, we’ve got a lot of work to do so I just hope I can steer clear of any nasty niggles as I test and push myself.

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Darren Smith

Training with purpose since October 2016 Darren has gone from trailing the pack to winning local races and the times keep on falling. A true believer in hard work over natural talent he writes to help others realise their true potential. Darren's race schedule for 2018 includes the Hardmoors Wainstones marathon (1st place), Keswick Mountain Festival (10th place), Scafell Skyrace and Salomon Ring Of Steall (World Championship race.)

2 thoughts on “Training Recap Week 29 – Finding My Groove And Some Trails

    • April 24, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Hi Craig, are you doing the Wainstones full marathon? I think its important to practice what you race but its also about finding the right mix and understanding the feedback your body gives. For instance, I tried an 8 mile out and back along the three sisters a few months back and f***** my calfs because it was too much impact too soon. However, I’ll try it again in a few weeks and will be fine this time as I am better prepared for the pounding. Really is a fine line between the sweet spot and over doing it.


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