With only one race left in 2018 (Dorset Ultraplus, 74km, on the 1st of December), I see this winter as a great chance, not only to get fitter and stronger on the bike, but also a chance to correct some injury issues still hanging on from 2018. The main issue was my knee pain during the recent CCC, relating to IT band syndrome.
I have started a few different strength and stability routines such as this IT band Rehab.
There are days where rehab is boring and seems pointless when you don’t feel injured. Like so many of you I just want to go out and take on a good run or gym session, whatever gives you the buzz. A 20 minute session with a resistance band, a few weights or just a body weight session will stand to you in the long run. Figure out or let your physio figure out the issue and then focus on it. This is not to say that you let other things slip, it is just a matter of gaining from the winter ahead. Lots of people start their program in January. To me every month is as important. Why start something new in the darkest, wettest month, when you can start it right now.
I have been sticking, roughly to my training plan, while racing a really tough 8km Cross Country back home. It was a great feeling to be involved in a team silver medal at county level.
The next few weeks will be busy with interviews coming thick and fast. Given this schedule, I will train when I can, play some football and get a run or two in with the club. However, winter rehab and strength will be number.
Check out my little piece in Kayathlon.ie. (Page 48-61). A big thank you for the inclusion goes to Greg Dillon of Kayathlon. It is great to see an adventure magazine growing in strength.
Check out my latest workout music with Kastane on Spotify by Alan Walsh. I found it great for watt bike, cross trainer or threadmill sessions. Have a listen HERE.
As storm Eleanor howls in the chimney and I recover from a nasty cold I thought it time for a yearly recap.
Race and training wise it really was a good year. My blog has detailed accounts of all the races so this is just a brief summary. I pushed myself to the limit, completing challenges and races I had never even consider a year or two ago. 2016 had been a year marked with injury and picking myself up after the disappointment of the Itera adventure race.
With this in mind I wanted 2017 to go well and started it off with two months of decent training before The Race in Donegal in March. A fourth place finish here in a time of 15 hours and 20 minutes really boosted my confidence to push on.
A trip to France and Belgium to take on the Paris-Roubaix cycling challenge was next up. It was a bone shaker with an atmosphere. We really enjoyed the day out.
Next up was the real high point of the year as myself and Shaun Stewart broke the Irish record for the Fastest Known Time over all 32 county peaks. This challenge really put me to the pin of my collar, running and hiking 160 km with over 10000 metres of vertical in 60 hours and 35minutes. It will be a hard one to follow in 2018 but we are scheming already!
With the thoughts of CCC qualification points I signed up to the Wicklow way race. 130km later I was lying on the ground unable to move after a painful almost 19 hours. My leg injury from 2016 flaring up badly and testing my mental side for at least half the event. If I ever see a yellow man again !!
I finally secured my points in Dorset in December with a good 14th place finish in the Ultra. Thanks to my training buddie Sinead who was instrumental in finding a race for the points when my Kerry trip was cut short in a car accident.
The summer was a mixed bag of training and enjoying trips to Sweden and the UK. A high point was climbing Sweden’s highest mountain, Kebnekaise. Before this myself and Emma ran in Snowdonia where I finished 14th in the trail marathon and have signed up for 2018 already. A cracking event to look forward to.
I started running cross country in the Autumn and ran a few races with the club. I think we medaled in nearly every event and there is no doubt the cross country is a serious way to improve your running strength. A county team medal as well as a bronze county medal topped it off nicely. It is just a shame it isn’t a longer season of cross country races. It has been such fun training and racing with the gang at Castlegar ac.
The Mourne Skyline Marathon was an insane event to say the least. With little time in the hills in the weeks leading up to the race, it nearly did beat me. I had to strain every last bit of will power that day. This is not a race for the faint hearted. An incredible 3500 metres of ascent over only 35km. Let’s be having ya next year!
So it is was an incredible year, a successful one, with one first place on the Joyce country challenge, but it was a year to test myself and learn about endurance.
The distance raced in 2017 was 892km, 320 of which was on the bike. So all in all not crazy mileage in races but the training around these was intense with a marathon in training midweek one week and plenty long hours on the hills and roads of the West. I dont really have a yearly mileage as I changed technology a few times. I hope to have more accurate stats this year with my new Suunto Vertical ambit 3 watch. I know there are a few stat heads following the blog so watch this space!
Thanks to all that followed through my fun and pain this year and here’s to a healthy 2018 ahead.