The North Downs Way is simply gorgeous. And it's a bit hilly. So for annual holiday this year, we decided to spend a couple of weeks in the Lake District, which would give me lots of mountain trails to get into my legs as a bit of conditioning.
|Mmm, contour lines.|
It was the most glorious fortnight. Sunny and mild for the first week.
Glorious views, climbs over rocks...
And fun little descents in the sunshine.
Did I mention the steps yet?
Then in the second week it got a bit more serious, I ran more by myself and the rain came in.
Sometimes we got wet, sometimes we didn't.
Sometimes it was pretty much scrambling, never mind hiking.
And more steps. Good practice for North Downs Way!
So, all in all some pretty good endurance gains, hiking and steps practice and testing out wet weather gear pretty seriously (I got drenched for hours and had a tantrum when I got back to the cottage from one particular solo run - turned around and went straight back out to the shops and bought new stuff!)
Now it's 4 weeks out from the race and the nerves are already closing in. Am I fit enough? Am I too heavy for my strength capabilities? Will I get blisters from shoes I want to run in? I've never run further than 52 miles in one day, what will happen to me after 60, 70, 80 miles? How will I cope with sleep deprivation? Some of the answers are obvious and nothing to be worried about, but some need more thinking about and discussion with CoachJames.
I've already sorted out the pack/kit I will be carrying on the day (after freaking out on a test run home with 2.5kg pack) and I'm happy with the weight.
Full pack & kit inside the dry sack I'll be using to keep it dry (even if it doesn't rain, I'll sweat through my pack and get things wet). Add 1kg water to take it up to 1.9kg at a maximum, add ~150g for a base layer and I'm happy.
Especially when I get to not carry this for the first 50 miles, so I can deduct 200g from the pack for the first half.
Some of the worries are diminishing, but some are still there and new ones will come up I'm sure - human brains are great at sabotaging themselves.
I've still got work to do before 6am on race day - a 16 mile run with full kit on a hilly route tomorrow (so, hey, why not the North Downs Way!?), 38 miles next week, 46 miles the week after that, 142 miles the week after that (because I'm an idiot, but it'll be at *super* easy effort), and 6 miles in the week leading up to the Saturday of the race. I'll have run the first 25 miles of the route 3x before race day, the next 10 miles 4x, the first 50 miles of it twice and the rest once. I'm not so great at remembering routes, so recce runs can be quite lost on me, but I'm sure it can do nothing but help in this case. Having run one of the hills twice already, it was way less horrible the second time and I knew it was coming.
So, yes, I need to keep focused and keep trucking with the sessions and the mileage and not get stressy, bored, distracted or lazy just yet. And see how I feel in the huge mileage week. It could wreck everything, but I'm taking measures as best I can to see that it doesn't.