SC100 Training: Focus 3

Clearly I under estimated how much the race at Plenty Gorge was going to take out of me. Backing up with 2 hours the next morning did nothing to improve the situation. As a result this week started with two recovery runs. My legs were so thrashed that I found myself walking up slopes I wouldn't normally consider hills.

Next I felt recovered enough for my pace run. 2.5 hours, with race gear on at a solid clip over a variety of terrain. The spring I had in my legs last week wasn't quite there, but I still felt pretty good and as though I could just keep running for at least another hour.

The following day was a different story. For the most part my legs were pleasantly sore. In the way that lets you know you've been training hard. However I there was some swelling across the top of my left foot, extra pain in the tibial is anterior and new level of tightness in the lateral muscles of my left leg. I've learnt in past that's not a group of symptoms to push through. Fast work and hill work traditionally make it worse. That meant I scrapped the speed/hill run for the day. The replacement was extra work in the gym. Giving my lower legs a rest, but still getting something hard. Hopefully that would be enough.

Then it was post night shift. As is now the trend, the 14+ hours were busy and after getting a bit of sleep during the day I was ready to get back to sleep early that night. So no run again. Really, I just need to accept this is going to be the case and stop stressing about missing a run here. It would probably be best to think of the the two days that are encompassed by the night shift as one extended day/night that has a split sleep at the end.

After the sleep and about 48 hours without running my leg/foot seemed right again. Time for the long run. Getting a few different maps together I planned what should be a great route of at least 50km over a good collection of trails. Some of the trails were questionable so I had a few fall back options. Still I did make a few wrong turns, overshot the mark a couple of times and was forced to get a little creative with somewhat heavy bush bashing. Then after getting back on track I discovered four different maps weren't exactly accurate. Yes, there may have been some sort trail there in the past, but no longer. Fences and walls of blackberry made what should have been a 15min section if clear, take nearly an hour to work my way through. That, and also being forced to take a different line after a mob of roos decided I was too close to their joeys gave a little chase.

In the end I was out for 6 hours, 40min. Exactly how far I travelled I don't know, but it should be over 50km. Except for a few stops to realign my navigation and the forced walk/bush bashing the rest was just good running. I took a handful of hills quite hard, plus put in a very fast (relative) 2km to reach a toilet block. Even with those bursts my legs and energy levels held up well. Finishing this run I finally felt like the 100km is definitely doable, and not just something that I'm working towards. Still there is a lot to improve.

Getting used to my equipment has been interesting on the long runs. I like keeping things simple. A good running pack/vest by far makes a massive difference for the really long runs. Giving me the capacity to carry all the water and nutrition for the entire run in comfort allows me to freely explore the more remote trails without worrying about where to refill. Using a headlamp is something I haven't done in years. I'm impressed with the improvements that have come along. Not being able to see properly robs speed, so lighting the way in the night hours makes a big difference.

The day after the long run was just a basic 10km. I ran easy, but was surprised at just how comfortable 5:00/km pace was for this run. A nice little confidence boost was gained here, knowing that a 6+ hour run doesn't destroy me for the next day.

On the 8th and final day of my week I hit the hills for a 75min stint. A big mixture of grades and lengths had me gasping for air at the top of plenty of climbs. My legs hurt, but they went up well. It was the down hills the drastically faded in the second half. Stiffness built, and I lost that nimbleness and cruisy shock absorption that allows for speed when going down. It something I need to expect and deal with come race day, so exposure now is a good thing.

All in all I found this week of training amazing. My body was all over the place as it varied between struggling with the load to showing up some great improvement. A bit seems to be going my way. For the next bank of long runs I'll pick courses that are challenging, but without the navigation issues encountered this week. A number of sections in these runs will be timed to compare each week. Hopefully faster each time. The most important concepts will be to keep running, no breaks and push the hills.


  1. Body all over the place...know that feeling after reviewing a training week. Sounds like you are getting some good mental training in there as well. Beginning to believe.

    1. Thanks Marv. Think you are right about the mental side. Wasn't really thinking much along those lines, but improved confidence and mental toughness does go hand in hand with improved fitness for me.


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