A lot of people have asked me what comes next after our Irish record. It tends to be a strange time after you complete a goal. Any achievement whether it be 1km or 160km leaves you first of all with a sense of pride, while soon after you realise there is more to come. What can I push myself to do next, how will I test myself or what is my next goal, would be a few questions we might ask ourselves at such a time. As the body recovers I find myself looking at races or events in the season ahead. I have a great base now after the recent events and might as well try and keep this going. In saying that rest and recovery, light training and plenty movement is very important before jumping into anything too quickly.
At the moment I am signed up to the Wicklow Way Race 127km, the SCOTT Snowdonia trail marathon ,Kerry Way Ultra Lite and the Mourne Skyline Marathon. The first in June, second in July, third in September and the fourth in October. If I can get to the start lines in one piece I hope to do myself justice in each event.
The most exciting part of these races will be the fact that I have never taken part in any of them, sure up until last August I had never gone for more than 9 hours at any event and had never completed the marathon distance, or even tried. In saying this to be in a position to have the confidence to take on these events feels great.
The body suffered during the 26 peaks event, I recovered well but I have a touch of achilles pain and I am minding that at the moment. I played football on Tuesday thinking everything was ok. My achilles was actually fine but my hamstrings got the shock of their lives. Only 3-4 weeks without sprinting and my hamstrings had probably shortened with all the distance covered. The result in sprinting short distances was extremely sore hamstrings and this in turn has left me with backpain the last two days. Nothing some foam rolling, dynamic stretching and a bit of yoga tomorrow won’t cure.
My running life took a funny turn today as myself and Shaun were asked to go on national TV, (TV3,Ireland AM), to speak about our adventures on the 26 peaks. Of course I am scared of TV but I also felt so lucky to be in the position to go on TV and talk about something I enjoy so much. The mountains along with the lakes are my favourite place in the world and to have scaled every high peak in Ireland is a great feeling. I encourage everyone to try some hiking in the mountains this summer, you won’t regret it.
I had a minor ankle twist last night at soccer training ( once more soccer proves my nemisis). I was hoping to run an 8km race on Sunday, and may still be ok, but it has curtailed my training a few days. This, in one way , may be just what I need. I haven’t rested up for more than a day in a long time and I think it is time to focus more on recovery. Another form of recovery for runners and adventure racers is yoga, something i hope to gradually do more often. It will help my flexibility, strength and most importantly help focus the mind on the training and plans ahead. The link below is to an excellent podcast on yoga for runners.
Sage Rountree is a proven athlete that swears by yoga as well as it being so important to recover from the hard sessions we put ourselves through.
I find it is often in times of injury that I get a chance to reflect on the training I have been doing and look into changing my training as I progress. It is so important to realise that as we get fitter we need to rest and recover properly but at the same time not slacken off too much when we want to continue to improve. Getting this balance right is a very individual thing and I am still learning about myself. The best advice from my experience is to listen to your own body and don’t try to train exactly like some elite you heard about. or an exact plan you read about last night.
For now it is off to the physio for a look at the ankle, then into the sea tomorrow for some natural icing and a good bit of rest thrown in there somewhere as well!
A couple of photos from the top of the hill climb on bike stage !
Last two days have been total recovery days after the bad knock in race and all over tiredness really. Tomorrow I intend to get back into the swing of things, or at least head to gym for some loosening out. Hoping the knee will be ready to go.
Connemara adventure race 2013
It looks like this will be my next challenge. The training in preparation for WAR race this weekend will have to be unleashed in Connemara instead! I have a grade 1 tear on my abductor muscle in right leg. Not a serious tear but I will be out of action all week. That gives me two week recovery before Connemara on the 10th of May. No doubt this is a set back but I have been injury free and it comes with the territory. The plan for now is some core work and light training for a few days if there is no pain. Back in action on the trail while on holidays in Portugal next week!
Another nice run up behind the city this afternoon. I paced myself at around 4.22min/km and kept it reasonably steady throughout. It was great to see the rain clear up just in time to get out. The last few weeks have been going well and this run felt comfortable today. A long cycle will be needed , depending on time, either tomorrow or Friday. My football season is nearly over so it will soon be time to completely focus on adventure racing, Football takes up at least 5 hours of training time a week and it is a very different type of fitness.
I have recently started taking SiS gels on my longer session and find them quite tasty. I also have upgraded to a stronger post session recovery shake called ON 2:1:1 recovery. this is less tasty but contains more carbohydrates than most recovery shakes and around 30 grams of protein depending on my dosage. Does anyone out there have any thoughts on these supplements? My main issue in the past has been losing weight and strength in the summer when doing extra cardio. My thoughts for this year are to take the heavier recovery and a few more gels during training. My balanced and high protein diet will do the rest, I hope!
I suffered a second bout of a cold in the space of 4 weeks over the last few days. I was back in semi action today and managed a soccer match. Im reading “eat and run” by Scott Durek, at the moment. It is a story of an ultra runner. A fantastic book but it has me thinking about boosting my healthy eating even more. The extra training, good recovery and healthy diet has reduced my injuries and left me feeling stronger. Is there a limit though before we get run down ? Only time will tell.There is some good weather due in this week to help lift spirits and get back to normal training levels.