Ultra Time!

I’m not going to lie, the last two and half months since the Half Ironman have been pretty low key while I’ve taken some time for myself. It has been nice to take the mind of daily training and enjoy some low-key runs, races, and hiking that I love to enjoy in BC during the summer months. When you are training every day alongside a job you put aside a lot of things, and it has been nice to get ahead with life too! The downside to the less active lifestyle is a little weight gain from all the ice cream!

Ever since becoming more involved with trail running, an ultra distance race has been on my mind and by running various terrain I’ve been able to work out what kind of race I want to do. By running the local mountains and races such as the Coast Mountain series and five peaks I have been able to get a glimpse of what an Ultra on the same terrain could be like. I enjoy the short distance races on these mountains, but I’ve found it very hard on my legs the further I go. I decided that I need a bit more time before I do consider races such as the Squamish 50km so I can strengthen my legs and knees.

Technically, I did do an Ultra when I hiked/trail ran the Baden Powel and got lost totalling 55km, but I wouldn’t consider it an official Ultra as it wasn’t an organised race and took much longer than any official cutoffs. I would like my first ‘Official’ Ultra to be a challenging 50k but most of all an amazing experience with a fantastic location and excellent atmosphere! I haven’t decided on anything yet, but I feel a race on the west coast of Washington or Oregon will be my starting point. I’m looking for a race without substantial elevation, and a varied terrain that is fairly runnable throughout that avoids a lot of climbing and downhill running. Lush forests, meadows and ocean views would be amazing!

Although I will continue to improve my climbing ability over the next year, my focus will be improving my aerobic efficiency so I can ‘run’ the entire distance comfortably.   I have a decent base of fitness that I can build upon and a few years experience of running different distances that will help in my training direction. I expect I will be taking some visits to the Peak Centre to target my training specifically so I can run by heart rate.

September has arrived, and Vancouver has shown its true colours already with torrential rains and leaves dropping from the trees. My favourite period of the year to train in is from fall to spring. I’m not great with the heat and don’t tend to enjoy training in the middle of summer. I like to choose an ‘A’ race late spring to early summer when it’s still cool and then choose B-races across the year as either race practice or fun.

The current change in the weather is a great moment to begin thinking about my next goal and plotting a timeline of the major training segments and B-races.  My aim right now is just to have an idea of some races and not set anything in stone until I have a better idea of how my training has progressed over the next few months.

Typically the start of any training I like to spend a few months working on some fundamental weaknesses and building a stronger base in the gym. I will also use the next couple of months also to drop some weight and work on my running strength with a variety of HIIT and hill workouts.

By Christmas, I will begin to work on an official schedule to gradually increase my distance at a comfortable rate up to marathon distance. I imagine I will aim to race at the BMO Marathon as preparation and get an idea of my fitness.

In October I will aim to put together another post with more details on my training methods and gym training in preparation for building up the distance. I will hopefully have a better idea of some races I may target.

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