On Monday I signed up to Sun Mountain 50k. I did it just in time as the 50k sold out about 20 minutes after I signed up! I have roughly 16 weeks until the BMO Vancouver Marathon and then two weeks after that is the 50k. My thinking ahead with training has put me in a fantastic position right now and allows me a lot of valuable time to train.
From the past, I know that a training plan doesn’t always go according to plan as life or unexpected events can get in the way. I did a good chunk of base training before starting my training plan, so my fitness was at the right level to take on the training. It also gives me the chance to be flexible if I need to alter the training in any way.
Illness and injury can always put a hold on training and from the past I know when my body needs a break if I begin to overtrain. This week a flu bug that has been going around the office has hit me. It is something out of my control, but I have enough flexibility and time in my training that it is far better that I let my body fight it off. Pushing my training could prolong the illness and take a hit on my immune system going forwards. I took Thursday/Friday off any training and trod lightly this weekend so I can hopefully get back into the rhythm of my schedule on Monday.
I hope I know enough about my body to foresee the signs of injuries. I have put enough thought into my plan to allow rest and manual therapy to help recovery. My progression of distance and intensity over the length of the plan will also limit these possibilities.
A lot of my long runs up until now have been mostly on the seawall that runs around the city and Stanley Park here in Vancouver. This has been useful to focus on my aerobic fitness, but it doesn’t help me to be race ready. My furthest distance has been reaching closer to the 30km marker now, which I will cross in the next few weeks. I will begin to mix in elevation gain into my long runs soon, and I will certainly be adding hill running in my weekly routine. My body will no doubt need a little time to adapt to this change, and my runs will certainly take more time to account for some slower running and hiking. My heart rate monitor will certainly be my friend to keep me at the right speed on the inclines!
Another adaptation I will need work on is ingesting more solid fuel. I want to try and consume roughly 200-300 calories per hour and judging the results from previous years at Sun Mountain I imagine I will be out for close to 7 hours. I’m not sure my body will like consuming the amount of gels that would equate to. I can stomach gels for a few hours, but it does become quite sickly after a while. Solid food is the best approach, and I will need to work on a few options and see which work best for me.
I’m going to try some Pro Bars which have a mixture of nuts and seeds and pack in roughly 350 calories per bar. Although they have a lot of sugar, they would be a more savoury option to a gel. I would try to slowly consume them when I have the time to slow down. When I ran my first Marathon, I had trained with Cliff bars, but on race day I couldn’t stomach it and got some stomach cramps since I was running at a higher intensity. I think I will handle it a little better as I’m going to be more focused on keeping the intensity low at the 50k and should have the opportunities to eat on sections that I need to hike.
I will have the benefit of three aid stations that should have a mix of different foods on offer such as chips, cookies, watermelon and coke but also I will be able to leave a drop bag at each station if there is anything I want to replace. As I go forwards with my training, I’ll have a bit more thought on what my drop bags will look like, which I will share on the blog.
Something that I want to achieve for this training is a solid nutrition plan that gives me the right amount of support for the training loads but without weight gain. There is a line between eating what your body needs to recover and overeating. A big thing for me will be swapping some of the treats in life with more nutritious and filling produce. I know from the past I have overdone it with pasta and other carbs that have no real nutritional value that could be replaced with a variety of vegetables for fewer calories.
In other news, I managed to book some extra time off in March, and I’m heading home to the UK for a week to see family and friends. It has been almost two years since I have been home, so I am somewhat excited. While I am back, I will hope to make the most of the English countryside for some running. From my experience hiking around the Chiltern Hills and along the River Thames, there is quite a mixture of terrain. From my research for the Sun Mountain course, I have seen that the surface will be very similar to the mud and rocky paths around fields, up hills and along river banks. It could prove to be a worthwhile trip as part of my training. I’m going to plan a couple of long runs along the Thames. I know a couple of places that I can add in some elevation.