Maintaining momentum

Less than 7 weeks to go until I line up at the start of the North Downs Way 50 and run my first ultra marathon.

I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. Having been encouraged/talked into signing up for the NDW50 by running pals and ultra runners Kevin Matthews (@maximisemylife) and Bryan Webster (@bryanwe) I signed up on the day the race entries opened, way back in November 2012. This after having run only one marathon, the Virgin London Marathon in April 2012.

In the build up to London I followed a training plan from my running shoe brand of choice ASICS (@myasics). This was a 20 week plan and saw me start my training before Christmas 2011. As I mentioned in my previous post, I like the structure provided by a training plan and was pleased with my progress as Winter turned to Spring and race day approached. I ran my first half marathon (the Portsmouth Coastal Half Marathon) in February 2012 in a shade under 2 hours, which I was delighted with.

However, come marathon day it all fell apart for me and I finished in a disappointing 5 hours 16 minutes and 30 seconds. Now don’t get me wrong, I was full of pride and emotion when I crossed the finish line. I’d done it. Before that day the furthest I’d ever run was 21 miles and I completed a marathon.

When I found myself struggling in the latter stages I made a decision to soak up the atmosphere, enjoy the occasion and forget about chasing a time. It was going to be a Personal Best (PB) and I might never get another chance to run the London Marathon, so I ran/walked the last few miles.

Yet I still feel a sense of regret and what might have been.

I know that I ran the first 10 miles at too fast a pace.

I can’t help thinking back to a 10 day period in April 2011 – during my taper training phase – when I did no running and wondering if this made a difference. I think it did, so I won’t be making that mistake again this year as I continue my #projectultra training.

So here I am. Lying on a sun lounger by the pool at our hotel in Tenerife. This time last year I left my running gear at home, thinking a rest and a little swimming would be okay. This year I’m doing some warm weather training to keep ticking over.

My NDW50 training plan was written to allow for the time on holiday as a lower mileage week. On our first day here I went out and ran up and down a very tempting mountain (well it felt like one anyway) close to our hotel 4 times – something I’d never have contemplated a year ago – and I’m planning to alternate these mountain runs with coastal runs for the rest our time here.

I’m now at the stage in my running where I really miss it when I don’t run. I don’t want to go back to the UK and wonder what it would have been like to run in Tenerife. Above all, I don’t want all my hard work so far for #projectultra to go to waste.

Let’s do this. Forget Kenyan Hills. These are Canaries Climbs and I love them.

Destiny awaits. I’m getting ready. I will be ready. I’m maintaining momentum.

Update: Day 3 of my holiday running and I ran up and down the mountain 6 times today 🙂

Update: 3rd hill run, when I went up and down the “mountain” 8 times, was ace.


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