West Highland Way Race Training – Weeks 3 & 4

Loch Lomond on a beautifully still day.
Loch Lomond on a beautiful still day.

West Highland Way Race Training – Weeks 3 & 4

The last few weeks have flown by! Training is going pretty well and I’m still really enjoying it, but I can’t believe it’s now less than 5 months until race day. I’ve had a bit of a set back in the past few weeks as I’ve been taking part in my Exercise to Music qualification which has taken up my entire weekend for the past couple of weeks, but even though I haven’t been churning out the huge mileage I usually do at the weekends, I’ve been busy learning how to grapevine, boxstep and even Chasse (without crashing into the person next to me, which is a huge thing for me considering I’ve got 2 left feet!) and taking part in approximately 8 classes a day on every day of the course. It definitely counts as time on feet, even if I’m not running anywhere!

My positives for the past few weeks -I’m feeling strong! I started back at my strength and conditioning classes at Renegade Fitness in Stirling and I have some of the best coaches working along with my training programme and trying to get the best out of me. It’s working, I had DOMS for about 3 days after last Friday’s set and trying to perform my full routine at the ETM course for my mock assessment on Sunday proved somewhat hilarious!!

The Renegade gym. All the fun of TRX, kettle bells, strength equipment and good old burpees!
The Renegade gym. All the fun of TRX, kettle bells, strength equipment and good old burpees!

Anyway, I digress. The training programme for the past few weeks has looked a bit like this;
WEEK 3 (11th-17th January)
Monday 11th – Total rest. Well, running about after 3 year olds at work, but as rest-y as it gets on an average day!
Tuesday 12th – 3 mile lunch run with the dog and then 7.2 miles of hill rep loops with the club in the evening. My coach pushed me hard on the last few and I felt empty but delighted at the end. Hills at speed are still not my friend, but they’re getting easier!
Wednesday 13th – it snowed again, so this run was lovely and slushy. 6.1 miles at about 8/min miles and managing to stay on my feet!
Thursday 14th – 6×5 minutes at club training. I wasn’t sure how I felt when I first got to training as it was FREEZING, so considered taking it easy, but ended up giving it about 75% and feeling good after. Didn’t get any warmer though as I wore shorts and it snowed… 6.7 miles averaging 7.51 min/miles.
Friday 15th – Rest.
Saturday 16th – 8.1 miles on the flat at a reasonable pace. Still a bit icy, so being careful not to over do it!
Sunday 17th – Went up to Balmaha for an out and back to Rowardennan with Karen Wallace and Derek. Amazing run in ankle deep snow – it was so crisp and quiet and the Loch looked like glass. A bit cold, but a fantastic run! 18.1 miles.

Total – 49.4 miles

Karen and I happy the loos were open!!
Karen and I happy the loos were open!!

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Hills and snow = toguh training!
Hills and snow = tough training!

Week 4 (18th-24th January)
CUT BACK WEEK #1
I’m loosely following Bryon Powell’s programme (from ‘Relentless Forward Progress’) of training up to 70 miles a week for a 100 mile race, and every 4 weeks or so he fits in a cut back week. I’ll happily follow this as I don’t want to over do it and come race day have nothing in my legs, and if it’s recommended by an expert then it’s worth looking at.
Monday 18th – Rest
Tuesday 19th – A long over due crap run. I still struggle with winter training straight after work as all I want to do is go home, eat and lie down. So I went home, had some food and then decided to run. Terrible idea. I managed about 6 miles, but I felt sick for about 5 of them. I struggled on, knowing there will be a lot of hard miles on the WHW and I could feel like this a lot of the time, but gave up after 6 and went home.
Wednesday 20th – Feeling fresh, I went for a speedy 3 miles at lunch time at about 7.30 min/mile pace.
Thursday 21st – Felt great after work and made the decision to go straight out when I got home, instead of sitting down and eating something first. Had a brilliant 6.1 miles at a pretty fast pace and had to turn around and go home even though I felt like I could have carried on for much longer!
Friday 22nd– 6.3 miles steady.
Saturday 23rd – Got up early and ran 11.1 miles with Skye. Attempted yoga on my return.
Sunday 24th Strength training in the morning followed by a steady 6.7 miles in the evening.

Total – 39.5 miles

I’m noticing a big difference recently. I’m tired, but I’m not wiped out like I used to be after a hard week of work and training. I look forward to my runs and every training session I find I’m trying to push myself further. Nights are starting to get lighter which is always a bonus, and before I know it, it’ll be light when I’m leaving work and I’ll manage to get a couple of hours training in after work while it’s still light. It’s only 4 weeks until the D33, 5 weeks until the Alloa half (which is already full and we have about 80 runners from the Wee County Harriers entered!!) and 11 weeks until the Fling. This year is going too fast and even though I’m excited about all the upcoming races, I also want time to slow down a bit as it’s now only 18 weeks until the WHW race.

Oh help!

Looking forward to the first ultra of the season at the D33 and *hopefully* getting under 5 hours!
Looking forward to the first ultra of the season at the D33 and *hopefully* getting under 5 hours!

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