The training I have been doing over the last 6 months in preparation for my first ultra marathon of 100k has been a real journey. The 100km race I will be doing in 2 weeks time has over 4000 ft of elevation and is all trail and I have been running on the course as much as possible over the months to prepare myself.
What I hadn’t expected at all was that my pace would improve. I have always been a bit of a plodder, running and running at a comfortable pace, which has always suited me. On the trails in training the runs have been slow and steady, covering a couple of 50km distances and just less than 50km.
Last weekend would be my last long run on the course and would be time for tapering before the race and that is exactly what I had planned for this week.
I reduced a little, did some swimming and stretching, and on Thursday somehow managed to run a 10km PB over 7 miles and it wasn’t intentional. The following day I thought I would intentionally run a little quick during an 8 mile run and I got a 10km PB a second day in a row.
A short and gentle 5km the following day and something in my mind started niggling at me. Today I had planned a half marathon distance run and I thought maybe, just maybe, I could PB on that distance too.
I have been running half marathon distance most weeks for a long time. In 2021 I ran 45 of them and this year I am already on 32 but only one has been in an official race which was in March this year where I achieved a PB of 1:53:51. Since then I have been focused entirely on my Ultra training and continuing my run streak and not at all focusing on my pace.
So this morning, after a very long day of travelling yesterday and after quite a disturbed sleep, I woke up thinking I would just see how I got on.
It was dry, but very windy this morning. I met my trusted friend Keith, who has a half marathon PB much quicker than me, and we set off chatting along the way.
It was clear after we reached half way that as long as nothing went wrong I was going to get a PB, the pace was good and consistent. So on we went, battling against the wind in places.
And then it was done. 1:47:55. A huge PB for me! And it felt great! Earlier this year it was a push to get a sub 2 hour half marathon and having not worked on my speed at all for the whole year in the traditional way, this progress was definitely not expected. I’ve done no hill sprints. I’ve done no fartlek training. And I haven’t taken a day off in 8 months.
Whilst the research and the guidance is undoubtedly helpful to many in training for improvements, this to me is reassurance that I’m doing something right. I’m listening to my body when I need to a slowing down, pulling back, but mostly I’m just doing what I love, every single day and long may it continue.
But now I will following the recommendations. I will pull back for a couple of weeks, run gently and reduce the miles and prepare as best I can for the race I have been working towards all year.
Now, I am ready.