The Winter Awaits

I’m sitting here thinking about the winter ahead, as the sun shines, not a cloud in the sky and it is 17 degrees in the shade. I’m in Bristol 5 months already and I have only seen a few bad days of weather, but I’m sure there is plenty ahead. With plenty training to contemplate and a few goal races already lining up, it has been a nice few weeks since the CCC. I have met new people both at my new football club, The Retainer’s and also at my new running club Great Western Runners. I think it is so important to keep a social side to your training as well as a training plan to meet your own goals.


pub

So what is happening this winter? A few cross country races, a little 74km ultra in Dorset and then a massive push to get my training in full swing for, well yes, for The Race 2019. Luckily this year it isn’t until the 23rd of March, meaning heaps of training time and maybe even an early season 50km somewhere to warm the blood. Oh and in the middle of all this I have to find a job.

(see last years race report, Dorset 2017)

I’m currently cycling around Bristol, feeding cats, looking for dogs to walk and will soon spend some of my time delivering food. Job applications, interviews etc are the most important thing this winter, but I won’t bore blog readers with these parts of life. Let’s stick to the fun bits!

20180918_111726.jpg
Breezy 40km
20180918_111521.jpg
The Severn Bridge to Wales

I have been exploring Bristol on the bike a bit and started to bring my mileage up, slowly, in the last few weeks. The roads are busy so I am trying to find quieter routes. As for the hills, well it’s like as if they dropped Bristol on top of Donegal. Need I say anymore there!

I hope to join a gym and get back into some proper wattbike training soon, but for now I’ll stick to the roads and getting to know what lies in the Bristol countryside. I went for a trail run, only 20 minutes from the city with Emma, in Rowberrow, last Sunday, a gorgeous route along very technical trail and some hills thrown in. It was great to get the legs going on the trail, three weeks after the CCC. I went for a shorter mid week run on a trail near Bridgwater the week before. This was in the Quantock Hills. Again, some typical South West English farmland with rolling green hills and forestry here and there. Exploring the area little by little but it really has great running potential. My legs were still tired on this run but it was nice to get moving properly again.

20180917_162334.jpg
Fishing reservoir style, Quantock Hills
20180917_155756.jpg
Part of the Trail in the Quantock hills.

So as the winter roles in and the temperatures start to drop, we have to drag ourselves out training at times. The body naturally feels more lethargic, with shorter days and needing more energy in the cold weather. However, as I mentioned before, I really see the winter as an excellent time to train, become stronger and if needed, a great time to work on injury or niggles. Treat it as a rehab, re-strengthen, learning period and come out the other side, fitter and stronger, mentally as well as physically. It is too easy drop all and blame the weather or the darkness. Stick on the headtorch, the hi-vis or scrape a few quid for the gym, whatever works for you and make the winter count.


pub

Advertisements

2 Weeks Later

Thank you so much to everyone for the amazing response to the race report post. I wasn’t sure if I was getting the real race feel across properly but it seems you have all understood. It means the world to hear such positive responses from friends and blog followers.

Just before I start, I have added to my training plan section with an ultra and a half marathon, or thereabouts, race plan. You can go through the link above or just click on “Training” link on my home page on the site. Remember these are only rough guides, it isn’t about sticking exactly to these plans. You can tweak them in a way that suits you and your lifestyle. I hope to post a few more and some multisport plans soon.

20180903_122253.jpg
Hiking to Brevent near Chamonix a few days post race

And here are the Results from the CCC, UTMB.

So this time two weeks ago I had just registered in chamonix for the CCC. There have been many questions asked about the race and my race report, but it is still so hard to explain what UTMB races are like.  I have been recovering well and apart from an issue with my left leg, which I spoke about mid race, I think I’m doing ok. There is no doubt that I will need more time and the proper rehab to come back fully fit from this one. I have been doing lots of glute work, balance work and taking every piece of advice I can find on stretching, balance and strength work for IT band syndrome. I know it is in my quad and IT band that the issues are so it is about focusing on them and feeling my way back.

20180903_124907.jpg
A bit of Technical trail

I’m still on a bit of a buzz after France, it really fires you up knowing there are so many other challenges you can go back to over there. But what is next?

I will, no doubt throw my name in the hat for a race over there net year. At the moment I am swaying towards the CCC again or possibly the TDS. The UTMB requires 15 points over 3 races, meaning I would need to complete another 100km plus race before christmas. That is not going to happen this year! I have plenty of time to decide. At the moment life is about finding work here in Bristol and once I have that I will know if I can race at all next year. I hope to be back running enough over the next few months to do one more ultra before Christmas, just to keep the distance in the bag!


pub

The winter is a great time for training. A focus throughout the darker months is important and I have some ideas in mind this year. First of all I’m getting back on the bike, which I have already started since CCC. Secondly I have started playing a bit of football again, crazy I know risking injury a bit, but I am new to Bristol and it is about making friends. Thirdly I will run a few times a week and hopefully at least once on the trails at the weekends. This all building up to a little event next March? I won’t mention the name just yet as I haven’t decided 100%. For those of you back home I think you have a fair idea where I hope to be on the 23rd of March 2019!

20180903_122258.jpg
These typical alpine views keep you going through the months of winter training!

My only other plan for 2019, at the moment, is to enter the draw for the Laveredo Trail Ultra in the Dolomites in Italy. No doubt it is one for the bucket list. This tends to be an easier draw to get through so fingers crossed. I will also throw my name in the massive and almost impossible hat for The Western States draw in November. This is one of the most iconic races in the world but the draw can take years before you have a chance. I have a chance to enter as a finisher of the CCC in under 25 hours, so why not!

As running has become such a big part of my life these goals are essential. Many ultrarunners burn out after a big race or take alot of time off. I think it is important to get back on the trails as soon as the body is ready and have these goals to fire you on.


pub

A little bit of reading

I have a attahced a few links below that are well worth a scan through, especially for the time of year thats in it. As the autumn turns into winter we all have different goals ahead and motivation can be hard. The thoughts of running around a field in mud over our ankles for the winter, or trying to train smart as an ultrarunner or even set goals like Mr. Graham Bushe below, all give me great motivation.

Cross Country

https://www.startfitness.co.uk/blog/importance-cross-country-running/

22089467_1494506870616241_1511475406428941375_n

Castlegar AC cross country team from last weekend. Some craic. County Gold for the lads!

As i have learnt the hard way, cross country races are exceptionally gruelling. It is hard to explain unless you have taken part in one. The winner on the day was Paul Giblin (number172), noticed above for being the cleanest person in Tuam on the day. He must of somehow glided across the mud. It was an incredible team effort with myself, Sean and Damian passing the men onfront of us all on the last lap to clinch the title. Well done all involved.

The article above gives a great account of the cross country scene, the chance to be out in the conditions in the winter and enjoy the fresh air. It is amazing for strengthening you as a runner, stabilising you and even improving your stride at a time of year many take to the gym or simply stop training.

Ultrarunners post season Guide.

http://trainright.com/ultimate-post-season-guide-for-ultrarunners/

I liked this article, keeping things simple in the off season. A common mistake focused on is working too much on one or two weaknesses. It outlines how more benefit is found in training to strengthen and improve all round. I made this mistake in the past, injuring an ankle and instead of strengthening both ankles I worked too much on one side. Of course the other weakens and there is a straight forward imbalance, leading to further injuries. Training smart is key.

 

The story of Graham Bushe.

http://www.outsider.ie/wicklow-way-race-back/

This man is a legend already, only taking up running 4 years ago. He is an inspiration to many. I understand that it won’t happen that every person that takes up running can suddenly run 130km and then go back the same way and do it all again but it just shows what can be achieved. There is no doubt his mentality is the key along with a natural ability to run. I have a good friend, I won’t name you here just now, (Pascal), that has taken to running, more seriously than ever before and yesterday he got a PB in a marthon only weeks after a PB in a half marathon. He has trained extremely smart, mixing speed, distance and good rest. Once again it is his mentality, stubborness and grit that have  leapfrogged him to this point, but now he goes out to every training with a smile on his face and he loves ever minute of it.