It’s been a while since my last blog post.
Generally, things have been going very well:
Maffetone Method training
I continue to train with a focus on heart rate with the aim of building endurance. I have a target heart rate (based upon the Maffetone 180 formula) for all of my runs but no longer obsess about being a few points over for part of a run. This seems to be working. During my weekday runs, which are all on road, my average pace has increased over time and I now feel like I’m able to run and push on again. I can’t tell you how great it feels to be running at a decent pace again after months of slow running building an endurance base. I even find myself thinking that I need to push harder to achieve my target heart rate sometimes!
Embracing the hills
I was conscious when training for the North Downs Way 50 last year that I had to train on hilly trail routes as much as possible. Reviewing my Garmin data from the first 6 weeks of 2013 and comparing this to the same period in 2014 I was pleasantly surprised. Given the Maffetone Method training I expected more time on my feet (hours training) due to the slower paced running. I expected an increase in mileage. I was surprised by the significant increase in elevation. I’ve grown to love running hilly routes, not just for the downhills (which I find great fun, especially if technical ones) but also for the challenge of the climbs. Last year I walked the vast majority of hills. This year I’ve made a conscious effort to run (slowly) up more of these to build my endurance. I’m finding this helpful. I’ve also incorporated hill repeats into my weekday road sessions and some steady runs with hills and look forward to these runs.
2 weeks ago, I ran the Meon Valley Plod, a demanding cross country race with lots of hills (over 2,000 feet of climbing), very muddy trails and some freezing cold, ankle deep puddles to run through. Today, I ran 14 miles to, up, down and around Butser Hill. My legs are screaming at me tonight after almost 2,500 feet of climbing but I did it and explored the surrounding area as well. I would never have contemplated doing either run last year, nor would I have been ready.
I am really, really enjoying the training this year. I know what’s to come. I know I can do it. I’m more confident. I’m exploring new trails.
I’ve even decided to run the Pilgrims’ Trail route – and add 2 miles to make it a round 31 miles – for my longest training run. I’ve even managed to talk 3 running buddies – Phil (@BigPhil137), Simon (@funkysimmm) and Beth (@bfp2030), all running the NDW50 for the first time this year – into joining me on it. We will get the train from Portsmouth to Winchester and then run back. I would never have had the confidence to do that last year.