Four Munros and a Marathon: week 3

This September and October, I’ll be running two tough races, three weeks apart: the inaugural Ring of Steall Skyrace and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. Every week, I’ll be reflecting on my training – what worked, what didn’t, changes made, fueling, diet, sleep, etc.

What I learned this week:

  • One of the reasons the Ring of Steall has a huge elevation gain (8200 feet or 2500 m) in so little distance (16 miles or 25km) is that it starts, and finishes, at sea level. There is a sea loch at Kinlochleven, the site of the race start/finish. This means, that rather than the usual inland ascent of say 2000 feet (which is still a lot but doable), we’re climbing from the very bottom to the very top of a munro, immediately. That’s over 3000 feet. Good thing I’m still in the early phases of training.
  • Take more clothes on long trail runs because you never know what Mother Nature will throw at you!
  • My fitness is much better than it was a few months ago. This training is paying off big time.
  • Never drink alcohol, even a small amount, the day of a long trail run. You’ll find out why!

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Four Munros and a Marathon: week 1

In September and October, I’ll be running two tough races, three weeks apart: the inaugural Ring of Steall Skyrace and the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon. Every week, I’ll be reflecting on my training – what worked, what didn’t, changes made, fueling, diet, sleep, etc.

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Going into week 1, there were a few things I learned and therefore needed to incorporate into my training:

  • Because The Ring of Steall has such a massive elevation gain, all of my runs need to have vertical: there needs to be substantial, preferably repetitive, massive hill climbing every session.
  • I was still 18 weeks away from the marathon so I didn’t need to do a 4th run of the week, being the longer road run with some miles at tempo pace.
  • After reading Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run – a definite must-read for running tips, persevering, and a few paleo-friendly recipes – I learned a new running technique for uphill: take smaller steps, to the point that it doesn’t feel as though you’re actually running, but you’re still moving efficiently and quickly uphill.
  • Until the 9th of October, I’ll be working my ass off each week.

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Eat Primal, Run Hard Round-Up

What do you do when you’ve got many bits of news that aren’t big enough for blog posts on their own? You create an aptly named round up 🙂

Eat…

… all the courgetti. Last week, I received my spiraliser in the mail. Is it possible to be in love with an inanimate object? If so, I’m head over heels for my spiraliser.

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Every time I’ve used it lately, I’ve made Italian-inspired sauces to go with my courgetti (courgette + spaghetti): Continue reading

Finella Hill Race recap

Summer in Scotland signals the arrival of highland games, a day of festivities held on a local estate, celebrating all things Scottish: Highland dancing, pipe bands, and highland games events themselves, like tossing the caber. Last weekend was the Drumtochty Highland Games, at Drumtochty Castle.

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Drumtochty is one of my favourite places to run: it’s got huge hills with landrover tracks cut through the forest by the Forestry Commission. There are miles upon miles of trails and tracks that will take you all the way to Stonehaven, 20 miles away. Drumtochty is also where I trained for my big Balmoral Challenge. And Drumtochty is where I ran the Finella Hill Race, a 6 mile up-and-down hill race, through the thick South Drumtochty forest.

Rather than do my last ‘long’ run of 6 miles to wind down half marathon training, I decided to enter this local race. I learned about it last year, and always being up for a new challenge and needing to run some hills in preparation for next weekend’s race, I entered. I did have visions of last year’s Johnston Tower Race last place finish, and with a field of only 19 runners altogether, I knew I had some hard work ahead of me.

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