VLM2016 – Training Summary Week 7 (including Barry 40 mile track race)

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 😉

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14 Responses to VLM2016 – Training Summary Week 7 (including Barry 40 mile track race)

  1. Alex Gillespie says:

    Awesome effort. and in Barrybados too.

  2. Gary Hyatt says:

    Absolutely brilliant run Steve. I have run this race 12 times and been on the track when many world best times were set but I have never seen one as good as your run on Sunday.
    A superb example of controlled running, concentration and determination, not to mention consistency, ability and pace judgement throughout.
    I am now part of the support team making the lunch packs and supporting wherever I can. I hope to be able to support you next year if you decide to return to our event. Best wishes, Gary Hyatt.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks for the kind words Gary and the support! I will certainly be trying to fit Barry into my 2017 calendar :-)

  3. Forrest says:

    Inspirational Steve. Really pleased you’re feeling a return to form after all your hard work and frustrating injury problems. Long may it continue

  4. Nick Dransfield says:

    Holy Kamoly Batman, RESPECT to that man! Well done Steve

  5. Mick Brearley says:

    You don’t know me but…. you are such an inspiration Steve.
    Well Done just doesn’t seem enough!!!
    I’m gonna get back to it as soon as my knee allows.

    Good luck with the marathon and the daft car thing ☺????

  6. Padams says:

    Steve, that’s an awesome run, especially as you didn’t really seem to taper for it. And then managed an evening run as well…

    I’m down in Bournemouth at Easter but might not have time for a run – although not sure it would be a good plan to try to run with you at the moment!

    • Steve says:

      cheers mate…..let me know if you do fancy meeting up for a run at all. If all goes to plan ill be doing 26.2 on saturday (6-6:15 pace) and a slower 35 miler on Sunday…. you can just do some of it if you like 😉

  7. Great to see you get the V40 40 mile record, all in a training run too. What might you be capable of if it was an A race? Particularly sweet that you are finally getting back your record setting fitness and Mojo.

    Setting the timer to buzz at your target lap time is neat way around the poor mileage/pace stats that GPS watches provide when going around and around and around in circles.

    It’s a shame you be coming along this week for the Perth 50k/100k. The field just won’t be the same without you setting the pace.

    • Steve says:

      Cheers Robert! To be honest I was quite impressed with the 630 on the track compared to older models. I spent quite a bit of time overtaking people in lane 2 and running out wide to get gels so probably ran half a mile extra which means it was less than half a mile over (about 1%). Certainly less generous than some older models around the track!

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