I took a whole week off immediately following the Fellsman to fully recovery both from the exersions and niggle to my right heel. Just a little sore thats all. Then it was off to Hungary with the family for a week and a bit (I write this as we drive (not me) to Budapest airport). To save space in the luggage I could only bring one pair of trainers so it had to be the Merrell Trail Gloves. Small, light and perfect for a bit of low mileage running. I've been wanting to do a few more miles in them and the track around the local lake in Gyor offered the perfect opportunity. With so little consistent running (really since the TP100 in March) my goal was to get most days. And I managed this for 6 from 8 days. For the most part taking it nice and easy completing a 6m on 4 days, a 10m and a 7m.
The 7 mile was a bit different as I decided to run a single mile as hard as I could. Something I've never actually done before so I was keen to know what my fastest mile was. I jogged 2 miles around the track to warm up and then hit the GO button. 1 mile was pretty much exactly 3 laps of the lake. I wore the Garmin to measure distance and pace. I went out too hard on the 1st lap, died on the 2nd as I felt my legs fading badly, but held on in the 3rd. I really didn't have a clue about what pace I could run and was quite happy with 5:15. Had I paced it a little better I think I could have got quite close to a 5 minute mile. What this little experiment brought home to me was just how fast the Elite marathon runners are going! They go FASTER than this for all 26.2 miles! Unbelievable! We all know what pace they run but these are just numbers which most of the time mean very little. So I urge you to go out there and run a single mile as hard as you can to see what I'm getting at.
There is also a local oval track (abet concrete) at home so I'm gonna keep up these mile sessions now on... perhaps once every 2-3 weeks to see where I can get to. My first aim will be to break 5 minutes.
The second experiment I tried as part of this 7m session was to walk a mile as fast as I could. So after a mile recovery following my 5:15 effort I walked a mile and managed a 10:59. Not bad for walking! There was a reason for doing this partly just down to curiosity and also to start to establish what an optimimal race strategy might be for my next 100. I'm coming to realise that running Ultras is about completing the distance in the most efficient way possible, not neccesarily about the 'fastest' or 'just getting around' but to do so in a way that has you moving at optimum efficiency throughout. In all my previously 100s I have slowed down too much in the second 50 so my quest is to find the balance between slowing down my running (a little) in the first 50 but also speeding up my walking which together I think will reduce my overall time and get me closer to sub 20hrs which is my ambitous goal for 2012. Hence the reason for the mile walk experiment. I've always been a fast walker and seem to power hike hills quicker than those around me in races so this is where I think I can further improve. Furthermore following on from a chat with a chap post Fellsman we were talking about UTMB and the virtues of using poles. He was a big advocate of them and got me thinking about introducing them as part of my ultras to maximise my walking speed and to improve my overall efficiency on the move. Hence I've bought some out here in Hungary and am looking forward to seeing how I can incorporate them as part of my training and racing. I plan to use them for the SDW100 in June and if all goes well they may well become a key feature of future races.
Utimately my focus here and the use of poles is for UTMB2013 where I have a guaranteed entry. They are I'm led to believe not only absoluetly invaluable on the long and steep climbs but also assist on the descents as well building confidence and helping with footing. We shall see...
Next up is the MK Relay race this Sunday. This is a 4 leg relay on road and trail. 19 teams are competing over the 31 mile route including 4 teams from LBAC. I'm running it solo as a training run to build up the mileage. It will be at a very conservative pace so as not to over do it. Plus the following Sunday I just arranged to pace a new friend (chap I met on TP100) in the 145m GUCR. It passes through Leighton Buzzard at 95 miles so I've tenatively planned to run the 'final' 50 miles in support. Its a relaxed arrangement with no pressure on me to have to do the full 50, but I'm sure once I'm out there I will be there til the finish! The GUCR isnt a race that i've been too keen to enter myself but I figure that this small taster will provide an ideal opportunity on which to base any future decision to take part. I'm also going to try out the poles to see what assistance they can provide on the flat.
So thats me sorted for the next few weeks....