Throwback Thursday

Posted on: 22 Jan 2021

Afternoon all

So, a couple of runs to update on.  I believe Throwback Thursday is a thing in social media circles, and there seems to be a bit of that about this blog too for three reasons.

Firstly, it’s a throwback because I am blogging at all.  I have spent some time reading back through old entries from Januarys gone by and there are some good words about some even better running; so often January is a foundation stone for a year of running – lay the foundations right and there is a far better chance that the rest will follow.  There are never guarantees of course, but you improve your chances – and when you throw your lot in with the devil of trail and ultra-running, that’ll surely have to do!

The second and third reasons relate to a Zoom meeting that I attended on Monday night.  It was hosted by Centurion Running, and tied in with their One Love weekend of running; this is scheduled as virtual running (obvs…sadly) across Valentine’s weekend.  If you entered the 50K event as I did then you were invited to a series of Zooms, the first of which was Monday.  It was very interesting indeed and expertly hosted.  What I took from it was the idea of marginal gain – my sense was (and I may be wrong) that many of the attendees were stepping up to 50K for the first time and so it was a lot about doing more of what was happening and going well already for those at marathon distance.

For me, with historic long distances behind me and long runs being normal (well, as “normal” as this crazy world of trails and ultras ever gets!) it struck me that a lot of what was being mentioned was stuff that I used to do years ago but have let fall by the wayside. 

So, yep, marginal gains – if I do want to achieve my extremely optimistic goal of 2 100 milers this year (Thames Path and Cotswold Way) then perhaps I need to change.  God knows what I have been doing the last couple of years has failed me in the last two attempts at CW102.

So throwback number two was on Tuesday.  Into the teeth of Storm Christoph I went.  The Zoom guys had talked of the importance of hill work.  Now, of course I do hills when I am out on the trails, but they are walked (my first rule of ultra running!).  What I needed to do, what I used to do when I was marathon training all those years ago, was something more like Kenyan hill reps.  So, to Coldchange Hill I went; a frightening hill (can’t you tell by the name).  Reps were done – 2 mins up, 1 min down.  Then a couple up and down to the Monument, and then a few more up and down Bath Lane’s climb.  7 miles all told, and I felt good for it.

Throwback number three was Thursday.  Oh my, well they say absence makes the heart grow fonder.  When it comes to intervals/thresholds/whatever, it’s quite the opposite.  As I ran into the headwind on a number of reps, all I could think was absence makes the glutes grow weaker, the hammies grow tighter and the language more colourful!  I ran to the relative shelter of one of the roads through Badminton estate, a wonderful tree-lined avenue.  I decided on 20 x 2 min “bursts” – well, I can say they got done.  Not in any tidy order, not at any great pace compared to what I used to be able to churn out, but they got done.  Here, I was thinking how much I miss Park Run – that was my only speed work really, with the added pull of running alongside others and being able to push myself with a bit of healthy competition as a result.

So, my resolution is to try and keep these two sessions going on Tuesdays and Thursdays wherever possible, freeing up the weekends for the traditional “time on your feet” type of long run.

Marginal gains, marginal gains…

On a yard, one and all!

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