After my confidence boosting day on the West Highland Way during the half term holidays, I have been caught in limbo. I definitely suffered in the few days after the long run, which suggests that I did really push myself, perhaps a bit too hard. As I have thought about the run over the last week or so, I have come to the conclusion that the psychological benefits I gained, outweigh the physiological negatives I have suffered since. Knowing I can cover the big distances at a reasonable pace again is really important and, as I stated previously, it takes some pressure off me.
This week, for the first time since the operation, I have been torn between waiting to fully recover from the long run and wanting to get back into full training. In previous years, a couple of easy days would have been enough, however, after my training runs this week, it is obvious that I currently need longer.
After some easy runs during the week, I planned to have a tougher weekend. On Saturday, the weather looked quite nice so I decided I would have a run up Skiddaw with a view to doing some quad conditioning on the descent. Despite being a nice day, I thought I would just pop an extra jacket, gloves and buff into the bumbag; well you never know!? Turns out this was one of the best moves I will make this year. Just as I reached the summit ridge, the weather changed dramatically. Gale force winds, snow, hail and sleet!! All the layers went on and I toughed it out along the ridge to the summit, running at a gravity defying angle just to stay upright. I wanted to take some video footage but it would have been impossible to stop, take off the glaves and work the camera. It was simply a case of touching the trig point and getting the hell out of there. On the way down, I met another runner going up and told him the conditions on the summit were brutal. He thought I was joking as we were bathed in sunshine at the time. Whilst up there, I could here a helicopter (visibility was too short to see it), I wonder if it was involved in a mountain rescue?
The long climb has obviously put some extra strain on the tendon and for the last 36 hours my calfs have been screaming. I had planned to do a cpoule of hours today but decided to rest up, having one eye on my long Lakeland 100 recce next week with John Kynaston.
My short term targets have changed radically in the space of less than two weeks. After the long run on the WHW, I thought I could start to gently increase the tempo of training and add in more hill work. After this last week, I realise I don't need to trun up the gas yet, in fact, I can afford to turn the gas down for the time being and just gently build on the base I have got now. So, this next week I am going to stay off the hills and just tick over in the hope of being in a better state to make the most of next weekend.
During the recce run I want to try and carry the full set of kit that you have to carry in the race later in the year. I spent an hour this afternoon trying out different bits of my mountain marathon kit, deciding which combinations would work and fit into my favorite trail running rucksack.
I will need to have the extra small pack attached to the waist band and I think I will add some webbing to the main rucksack to give the option of carrying jacket, gloves, etc on the outside. Overall, I was pleased with the system and it weighs much less than a typical mountain marathon rucksack.
The extra webbing will make life easier on the run to access the most likely gear and leave things less cramped in the sack. Big test next week for the kit system and an even bigger test for John and I. All we need now is some better weather!