Mon – AM 6 miles (7:03m/m) PM 6 miles (6:52m/m)
Tue – AM 10 miles (6:18m/m) PM 6 miles (6:03m/m)
Wed – AM 5.79 miles (7:32m/m) PM 17 miles (5:54m/m) incl session 4x16min
Thu – AM 10 miles (6:39m/m) PM 6 miles (5:59m/m)
Fri – AM 10 miles (6:16m/m) PM 6 miles (6:44m/m)
Sat – 6 miles (6:41m/m)
Sun – Barry 40 Mile Track race (1st – 3:54:52) PM 3.1 miles (6:29m/m)
Total Mileage – 133.16 miles (6:14m/m)
A small confession to make, even though the title of these weekly blogs have started with “VLM2016….” , I’m not just training for my annual blast around the capital. 2 weeks after London is the Redbull “Wings For Life” race which I have also entered. For those that aren’t aware its a unique race that doesn’t involve a finish line but instead has a chaser car (driven by David Coulthard) that aims to knock everyone out of the race… not literally! You can check out all about the race HERE
The long and the short of it is that if I want to be fighting for the overall win (its run in 34 countries around the world at the same time) based on the results of the last 2 races then I need to be able to run somewhere around the 50 mile mark at a pace of 6:00m/m.
My training in this build up hasn’t quite yielded the top end speed yet to show me I’m going to get back in marathon PB shape in time for London so my shift to some more ultra focused training at the weekend was for two reasons, partly because in the past it has actually made me a faster marathon runner but also because I wanted to start testing out the kind of pace I would need to be hitting to be in the running for the Wings for Life race.
As some of you will know, when I’ve previously done a 40 mile training run I have quite often run laps around my local village green but on this occasion the timing of the race meant that I had an opportunity to be a part of British Ultra running tradition and line up on the start line of the Barry 40 mile track race instead.
This may be a small race with a niche appeal due to it being 161 laps of an athletics track in Barry but in my opinion you won’t find a finer example of the best bits about the sport of Ultra running. Thats probably why it’s the longest running Ultra race in the UK.
Race Director Mick McGeoch’s attention to detail is fantastic…from the individual bios in the race programme, the support crews getting a bagged packed lunch to see them through the day and the continuous race updates over the loud speaker system to name just a few!
The support crew and lap counters from the Les Croupiers running club also do a fantastic job and make the whole day a pleasure……apart from the small issue of running 161 laps!
The Barry 40 line up….a mighty fine bunch of friendly ultra runners!
My plan was to kick off at 89 second laps which if I could maintain throughout the whole race would dip me just under the world V40 best time of 3:59:24. I actually set a time alert on my Garmin so that it would buzz at me every 89 seconds and I could then try and make sure I was around the start/finish line every time it went off.
I felt good from the start and after a few laps I couldn’t help but find myself a little bit further up the track every time my 630 buzzed at me!
Nutrition wise I stuck to a very simple plan of having a SIS gel every 30min and I managed that for the first 3hrs before “locking in” for the final hour. Due to the cool weather I didn’t real feel the need for any water and so after taking a couple of sips after my first gel I then didn’t bother with any more for the rest of the race.
Going in to the race I guessed that after about 50km I might start to slow as I haven’t done any real long distances at this pace so I was really pleased to find I was able to maintain pace all the way through the 40 miles and actually do a negative split! (will post official 5 mile splits when they are up but see Garmin link below for the mile splits)
I had to really focus for the last 10 miles but felt stronger than I’ve done at any point since the summer of 2014 which was a great feeling and when I crossed the line in 3:54:52 to take the v40 best time I gave Sarah a cuddle and the first words that came out where “I’M BACK!”
Job done….Monkey arm pose engaged
So back to business then, don’t worry I haven’t given up on that marathon speed just yet and will be working hard to find it but I’ve definitely got my Ultra running mojo back and will hopefully be putting it to good use at the Wings for Life race which is also being heavily supported by my sponsors Garmin this year which is an added bonus 😉