So if anyone is not aware (if not, I’m clearly not rabbiting on about it enough), next month I’m planning on running that thing that cyclists do; transporting myself from one end of the country to the other, via my legs, on their own. Here is a bit of a lowdown of how I’ve trained for it.
The first thing I thought about, was that I need to be able to be able to run for ages and not be broken after it. So all through autumn, I really upped the mileage. On occasion I would break 50 miles in one day.
In the early stages, I stuck to doing only one long run a week. I felt it was equally important I didn’t neglect the shorter, faster runs. I also tried to keep up the strength training in the gym and some yoga practice, which I feel keeps you a little bit more injury-proof. I did eventually of course start progressing with long runs two or more days in a row.
I quite like doing the long runs. I didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to the time, or how fast I was going. I could just throw my brain away (an action that comes quite naturally to me for some reason).
In this zoned out state, the only things I really concentrated on was that I was still moving, still breathing and not too hungry or thirsty. Basically a little check-up, to make sure I was still alive. A check that I have maintained a 100% record at so far.
By Christmas I was pretty happy that I could cover the miles I needed and I lowered my weekly mileage. I ran mostly short runs now, but two or three times a day.
In January I ran in the ‘Country to Capital’ ultra-marathon, which was a 43 mile race into London because why not? With that out of the way, it was time to start running with a bigger backpack to get myself accustomed to the extra baulk and weight I’ll be carrying.
I like to think I went about this extremely sensibly; starting out with very little weight and shorter runs, progressively building up the distances and resistance. Pretty sensible, eh?
Here’s where I was not sensible: I ignored weather a lot.
I don’t know if this is because I’m stubborn, or just plain stupid. My theory is it’s mostly column ‘B’. It was a cold, wet, windy, stormy day and I knew this because the weather forecast told me. My awareness of storm could not have been higher at this point. So I cleverly waited for the rain to calm down a little before heading out the door on route to the middle of nowhere; happy and content that storms do not happen twice in one day….. Oh, they do?? Well who knew that?
I was on the moors, six miles from home when the horizontal hailstone decided to hit me. As I frantically looked for shelter as blood ran down my leg (yes, I was wearing shorts), it dawned on me that shelter was none to be found, so opted for the curling up in a ball option, using my backpack as a shield until the hail stopped.
Going out in those conditions was an act of pure, colossal stupidity. However, it did drag my thick brain over to the thought process that storms are not totally out of the question for the weather to muster up in March either. Sufficed to say, I quickly added emergency shelter and other survival type items to my itinerary for carrying with me.
So here we are then. I’ve trained up, I’ve conditioned myself, put myself through harrowing conditions all in the aid of learning stuff. I feel I’m about ready now getting started on the 8th or 9th of March. What could go wrong?