Thursday, 31 January 2013

January WSER Training summary

I'm struggling to find the time to post a weekly summary of my training in preparation for Western States so I think I will instead post a monthly summary from this point forward and try to pull out the key learning, the highs and the lows, and look ahead to what I need to do in the following month. This is mainly to help me keep track of my progress and remind me of what I need to do.

So January (including the 31st Dec which was the Monday and my first offical day of training AND the day I found out I won the WSER place :-) looks like this:

RUN (31st Dec - 31st Jan)
Distance: 213.8mi    (Distance in training schedule 201mi)  - 47mi average per week
Time: 32hr 02m
Elev Gain: 10,794ft (Target was 10,000ft but needs to be a lot more!)
Runs: 26   (5 runs avg per week)

ELLIPTIGO (31st Dec - 31st Jan)
Distance: 121.4mi    (Planned distance in schedule 
Time:  8hr 48m
Elev Gain: 2,844ft
Rides:  3 (including abandoned ride due to frozen hub!)

The HIGHs!
- A solid first month of training in which I found it easy to keep motivation levels high (despite the weather!) due to the excitement of WSER!!! - and this continues to motivate me to get out and not miss a session.
- I have really enjoyed the challenge of hill repeats on Monday lunchtimes which has definitely become a permanent fixture in my weekly training schedule
- Getting out the door a little eariler on Wednesday's for the club run and tagging on 6-8mi before I join up with the club has worked well and meant that I can get in a mid week long run
- Finding the balance between running and family life!....just ;-)
- Injury-free!

oh...... and new pair of shoes purchased - Hoka One One Stinson EVOs :-) Full review to follow in next few weeks...

The LOWs!
- Less cross-training on the ElliptiGO than planned due to the snowy (read: dangerous!) conditions.

February schedule: (1st Feb - 28th Feb)

Distance: 186m
Elev Gain: 12,000ft
Runs: 20  

Distance:  240mi
Rides:  4

What I will do differently this Month:
- More cross-training on ElliptiGO
- Twice weekly leg squat sessions with extra weights
- Up the intensity

Saturday, 26 January 2013

WSER Training week 4 summary

WSER Week 4 of training was a recovery week which worked out really well with the tricky conditions under foot. I didn't have to stress about hitting a mileage target but still got in some quality runs including 20 miles on Wednesday (8m hill reps in my lunch break, and 12m with the club in the evening). The treadmill session on Thursday was a cracker too. 5 miles at 15% incline at the local gym. My Calves were screaming out! What's great about the gym is that I've found out I don't need to payment membership. just rock up when you like and pay £7.50 per session. So I made the most of it and also got in a sauna and spa session too! :-) Mileage summary and routes run below (Please not however that I've noticed that the HTML code used for the Strava summaries automatically updates itself every week. So if you are reading this post next week or even next year it will describe below what I have done in that week)

Sunday, 20 January 2013

WSER Week 3 training summary

So in summary this is what I got up to in this cold, snowy week. A great week exceeding my running mileage target of 55 miles by 3 miles with 58 miles. However the cold put pay to my commute to work on the ElliptiGO as the extreme temps froze my Shimano hub gear leaving me in 8th gear and impossible to tackle any of the hills on route to work. I had to abandon the ride after just 1 mile. But I replaced that session with 45 minutes on the treadmill at max incline followed by a 30 minute meta-fit class which absolutely destroyed me.

I'm really happy with how the first three weeks of training have gone and looking forward to a recovery week of reduced mileages and efforts before I move into the second 3 week block of training where the long runs will gradually increase in distance (and hopefully elevation if I can find some decent hills).

Sunday, 13 January 2013


So the end of WSER: Week 2 and a very satisfying week it was to. My new found love is Strava where I can upload all my Garmin data onto the Strava website and pour over the results post-run. Far better than Garmin-connect which feels outdated and clumsy.

So with that I can bore all you readers (if I have any!.....) with a summary of each run/ride (ElliptiGO) below from Monday through to Saturday complete with map, mileage and elevation :-)


The first session of the week is Hill Repeats! Well what better way to start the week than to destroy yourself in body and mind :-D I ran with my work buddy Robbie which was great as we both pushed each other on each repeat as we zipped past each other. This was essentially speed-endurance training on a hill with no rest at either the top or bottom of the hill. A great workout.

Tuesday is the day for my 60 mile ElliptiGO ride to work and back. Last week it destroyed me, but in just one week my fitness has improved and as a result it was far more enjoyable. And 2,806ft of elevation to boot :-)

To get a few extra miles in on the Wednesday club run I ran 6 and a bit miles before meeting up with my running buddies. The result was just over 14 miles which is a nice mid-week distance to supplement the weekend long run. 

Shorter lunchtime recovery run around the trails of Bricket Wood including a few short sharp climbs.

The plan on Friday evening (because I had a club XC fixture on Saturday) was to get in my long run around Ivinghoe Beacon. However the best laid plans and all that... The fog was unbeliveable and I couldn't see more than a few feet infront of me despite having Petzl power! On the descents I had to take it really easy so the running benefit was nil. And after wandering around the top of the beacon for 5 minutes trying to find the right path down, I called it a day at 8 miles. Still 1,236ft of elevation is not bad.

The highlight of the week has got to be yesterday's run at the Chiltern League XC fixture hosted at Luton. I used this as an ideal opportunity to get in my weekend long run by doing a 10 mile 'warm-up' before the main event which was a 9km blast (3 laps). It was weird standing on the start line having already ran 6 laps, whilst everyone else was fresh as a daisy and raring to go. I quickly got into my stride when the horn sounded and fell into a sub 7mpm pace. This quickened to sub 6:30s as the race progressed. A very enjoyable run rounded off with a sprint finish down the home-straight passing many on the way who only had '3 laps' in their legs :-D

Saturday, 5 January 2013

WSER & UTMB Training week 1

Those of you that don't follow my exploits on Facebook you won't be aware that Santa was very generous this Christmas and put a coveted Western States 100 entry in my stocking :-) unbelieveable I know!! I'm still get over the shock of it all myself. In short what happened is that I won a contest over Christmas - part of the amazing Running Stupid podcast which was giving away a WSER place for 2013. And it seems that I was the right 'fit' in the eyes of the judges. Friggin' amazing and I still can't quite believe it that come June I'm gonna be standing on the start line with 368 others ready to take on WSER.

This makes for a mouth watering race schedule in 2013 with WSER at the end of June, Lakeland 100 at the end of July and UTMB at the end of August. :-O An insane schedule though and not one that I think is terribly sensible. I'm therefore looking to downgrade my LL100 entry to the 50 miler which will fit perfectly between WSER and UTMB. However it remains to be seen if I can find someone to swap my place with, otherwise I will be running all three as the LL100 race director will not simply let me run the 50 instead.

So with all of that craziness I have a devised a 35 week training schedule (but remaining flexible) and I've just completed week one. In summary this is what I did:

Sunday - Rest day

Monday - 15m road run. 1h55m (7:40 mpm pace)

Tuesday - Rest day

Wednesday - midday - 5m trail run steady / evening - 5m warm up run then 2.5m speed session with club. 14m20s (5.40 mpm pace)

Thursday - 60 miles on the ElliptiGO (2 x 30m to and from work). 3,500ft elevation gain in total

Friday - 45 mins (3.2m) on treadmill set @ 12% incline with heating on full blast..... trying to recreate WSER cannon conditions!

Saturday - 12m hill session on the trails. 2h02m. 2,156ft elevation gain.

Total weekly run mileage = 42 miles
Total weekly ElliptiGO mileage = 60 miles

Would love to get feedback and advice on my training leading up to WSER so if anyone has any suggestions on what I can/should do differently then let me hear it :-)

There's a great blog post my Ian Sharman (Top 10 finisher at WSER last 3yrs) all about 'How to train for Western States'. So I'm taking alot from this - As Ian says 'specificity' is the key with training for an event like this so running trails with decent climbs and descents is what will make the difference and so this is what I must find in rural Hertfordshire! The heat at WSER can also be a huge factor with it climbing to over 100 degrees in the cannon section. So heat training will be something else I need to factor in - long sauna session in the final month or two before the race will be the key here as well as over-dressing on my long runs and wearing tonnes of layers although I often get it wrong and do this anyway :-)