Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Lakeland 50 recce, Mardale to Ambleside via Kentmere

Met a few lads over in the Lakes to do another recce of the Lakeland 50 route. Having done the Ambleside to Coniston section back in December, we aimed to complete Mardale to Ambleside via Kentmere on a cold, snowy day. Around 14 miles on the actual route, but we had to get to the start first. In total the navigation experts calculated around 18-19 miles in total.

We arranged to meet up at Kirkstone Pass early doors, hoping to bag a few hills on the way to the start at Mardale. Had plenty kit but inadequate gloves let me down especially on the tops where the wind chill factor must have been -10. Numb, painful fingers for a good hour or so. Not pleasant. There was a covering of snow on the hills, several inches in places but due to the cold temperatures the snow had formed a crust and was quite firm to run on. Climbing wasn't too bad but the descents were quite tricky having to negotiate carefully to avoid any injury. I was grateful that a few of the lads were clued up on the map reading front, a skill I need to work on.

We reached the start of the section at Mardale after two hours of climbing and descending, thankfully the fingers warmed up quite quickly as soon as we reached the valley bottom.
The route was undulating as expected but was akin to running on a dry river bed, rock and more rock. Going to be hard on the feet and the quads. We passed some remote areas and areas I'd never been before which was refreshing.

We reached Ambleside after around 5 hours, great training for the Fling (8 weeks and counting).

Saturday, 9 February 2013


Over the past few weeks I've had lots of people asking "why are you running an ultra marathon?" and "don't you get bored training so much?".

Firstly, I have a long term target and I'm training towards that target. We all have our own targets whether it's running or not. My training hasn't changed a great deal apart from the weekend back to back long runs. I'm still training with my club mates on a Monday (long reps) and a Thursday (track work) and fitting in some short easy runs in between. This hasn't changed for a long time (barring injury breaks :o( ). That's the bread and butter for regular races. What makes the difference and takes it to the next level is the steady build up of the back to back long weekend runs and some regular core work. Time on feet rather than distance is key. It seems to be a constant battle to try and explain this over and over. I run and train because I love what I do and I have things I want to achieve. Selfish? Probably, but running is selfish.

If you have a personal target, in my opinion you need to focus on it and achieve it no matter what. Friends and family understand that and their support is invaluable. Yes, it may irk some people now and again but in the end if and when I complete my first ultra I can say I have achieved something and worked hard to do so.

Enough of the serious stuff. I have a couple of fell races coming up and have also entered the Allendale challenge at the beginning of April as a perfectly timed training run. Looking forward to a Lakeland 50 recce in 2 weeks time with a few experienced ultra runners, should be good fun.

11 weeks to go until the Highland Fling and I'm feeling in good shape. 11 weeks doesn't sound too long at all!

Highland Fling elevation profile