Monday, 31 May 2010

Ridgeway Saturday training run

I thought it would be worth a quick post to detail Saturdays training run. After last weeks run up to Ivinghoe Beacon and back I thought this time I would drive to Ivinghoe and run the Ridgeway national footpath to Wendover. Its 12 miles each way so a solid 24 miler in the bank.

I started early and the conditions were perfect. The much forecast weekend rain hadn't yet materialised (that was later), but the overcast skies ensured it wasn't hot. I chose to wear my Ascis Trabucos which haven't seen many miles lately (as the inov-8s have been in favour) but with it being so dry the Trabucos were a good choice. I forgot how comfortable and light they were.

The Ridgeway is a great trail and very very runnable, and for this section a real mix of ups and downs, rolling countryside and flat tree lined woodland trails. The route map below shows all 87 miles of this ancient route which is apparently Britain's oldest road used by prehistoric man! The official Ridgeway website here has further info on the route. As I've mentioned before you can run the whole distance in the Ridgeway Ultra race which is in the last weekend of August. I really want to run this one but this year may be a little much just 3 weeks after my 24 hour race (perhaps not though ;-)

I was hoping to get to Wendover (Section 1) and back in under 4 hours, which included a planned pitstop in Wendover for coffee and something to eat. The timing had nothing to do with me wanting to run a particular pace or time but because I promised the wife I would be home not long after 11. I started bang on 7am and preceded over the initial section from Ivinghoe down to Tring. This is as hilly as it gets and its mainly downhill on the outward section. After Tring its mile after mile of long flat woodland trails that are in great condition and make the running feel oh so easy. I really don't know where the time went but after a few great rollers I was soon decending down into Wendover (high street pictured below).

This is as far as I had ran on the Ridgeway before so I decided to carry on to see where the trial went after the town centre. It went UP! Soon I was on the top of Coombe Hill where you could see for miles around.

I was looking forward to the next moment for the last 2 hours. A pitstop to refuel. I had spotted a nice cafe as I passed through the town on the way up to Coombe hill, so stopped here for a cappucino, hot sausage roll and refills for my water bottle. Delicious!

Why I had never thought before to take a proper half way break on my long runs I don't know. But having learnt a lot about nutrition on the Fellsman I plan to repeat this experience on many more long runs!! :-D

After that I felt good to go and cautiously at first with a full stomach of coffee and pastry I set off back along the Ridgeway. I know why I felt so good coming into Wendover now, as going back the undulating terrain was far more evident! I continued to feel good and went about it in much the same way as the first half at the same pace. The much forecast rain did make an appearance on the return leg but being under the woodland paths for much of it was natural shelter from the worst of it and refreshing also.

I was soon back at Ivinghoe after the last upward section. I wasn't wearing a watch but back at the car the clock said 11am exactly. Now that's pretty good pacing if I don't say so myself. I don't think I've ever felt this good on a run above 20 miles before. This tells me two things 1 - that my endurance training is definitely paying off the hard work, and continues to do so, and 2 - that I'm completely recovered from the Fellsman. This is great news as I can now start to plan the next 8 weeks of training in earnest for the Adidas Thunder Run 24hr.

I would like to run more of the Ridgeway so plan to drive over to Wendover on Saturday and do a 15th mile out and back (30m total). I will report back on how that goes next week.

The rest of the week looks like this:
Tues - gym (morning) & 5m (lunchtime)
Wed - Club run 6-8m
Thurs - 6m steady/intervals
Fri - gym
Sat - 30m

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