Sunday, October 1, 2017

From First Ultra to First 200 Buckle: A year of ultra-running

A year ago I ran my first ultra-marathon 34miles along the North York coastline (1st October 2016), this was a big moment for me as I had been training and building up for this over the previous year, this now seems like a short race. I seem to have made the jump from first ultra to first 200mile buckle in less than a year! 10 and a half months in fact!


My transition from marathon distance to ultra, was gradual as training runs were consistently 20+miles, graduating to 26.5miles; then 27.5 prior to my first ultra distance. Then during the following few weeks I did 3 marathon distance runs and ran with Brendan Rendall who was running JOGLE at the time having just run across the length of Malawi, a place where I used to live. It was great to connect with Brendan and be inspired by what he was doing both the running and the attitude to raising funds for FOMO. I advise caution when running with such inspirational folk, you never know where it will end up!! He was one of the reasons I signed up for the UGB200. This inspiration along with my fascination with the Spine Race meant I just got out and did a 42mile run along the Pennine Way on a day off a week later. I was well and truly hooked and having just got out to give it ago on my own, I knew I could do it. The mental block was removed and the legs followed. This was the case with running my first 50 mile race, I just went out alone and did my own 50 miler as a training run; I left the rest for the #UGB200 mile race. Getting my head down and doing the training is a major reason why I have been able to improve, I'm not an expert at ultra-running, but I'm willing to learn. Next race will be the Punk Panther 'High Life' 65miles /105km on 7th October.

  • CTS NorthYork Moors - 34miles - 8th Place
  • Tour De Helvellyn - 38miles - this was my first mountain ultra and I was focused on just getting round and enjoying the day.
  • Punk Panther 'A Bridge too Far' - 38miles - 4th
  • Lakes Mountain 42 - 42 miles - a real disappointing DNF; massive cramp and learnt a lot.
  • Pennine Barrier 50 - 50miles - 10th overall
  • Ultra Great Britain 200- 200 miles - 9th overall -joint -8th men's. 

A few lessons learnt:

  • Training doesn't do it self 
  • Train specifically for races, don't just run.
  • Fuel/nutrition - is vital so practice eating on the as much real food as possible and start early in longer races.
  • Hydration and use of electrolytes/mixed energy drinks needs to be planned well for longer races.
  • Test your kit
  • Recovery is as important as training
  • Get your head in the game
  • Focus on your 'A' races and a have a race plan.
  • Mojo is overrated and lack of it might just be a calorie deficit
  • Enjoy the running

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