Couch to Ultra… WHAT!?
If you read my last post, then you’ll know that I was feeling a little bit out of sorts on my last run. I’d been feeling a bit low and had hoped that the run would have given me the lift that I needed, but it didn’t. So, I decided that maybe what I needed was to find myself a new challenge.
Now that I can run 10K, the next logical step would be to train for a half-marathon or maybe even a marathon. But as the Brighton Half has been and gone, entries have closed for the Brighton Marathon and I’m running 10K on marathon day anyway, I decided to opt for the next obvious alternative – a 100K ultra marathon from London to Brighton.
Ok, I know. It sounds crazy. I’ve not been running for all that long and the furthest I’ve ever run is 12K, but it’s not as crazy as it sounds.You see, the London 2 Brighton Challenge isn’t really a race; it’s more like an incredibly long sponsored walk that people can choose to run, or jog, or walk, or some kind of combination of the three.
Either way, it doesn’t matter now. I’ve paid my entrance fee, and since it’s only nine weeks away, I figured I’d better get on with some training.
The route itself will be divided into four stages, so I figured that rather than attempting to run a whole 100K, I should start training to run/walk each stage and then take it from there.
So, this morning I decided that I would try to up my distance by running 15K at a very slow pace, something in the region of 7:30 to 8:30 minutes per kilometre. This, however, wasn’t easy and the average pace for the first 5K was coming out at around 6:45, which is fine for 10K but I knew I wouldn’t be able to sustain it for 15K nevermind 100K.
In the end, I decided that I would try some walk/run intervals since that’s what I planned to do for the race anyway. I started my 6th kilometre by walking for 250 metres and then jogging for 750. This seemed to work quite well and I soon realised that I could probably keep this up for a bit more than 15K if I wanted to. So I kept going.
I felt relaxed and in control, and the walk breaks were helping me to recharge my energy. Round about kilometre 18, however, I noticed that the ache in my calf muscles was becoming more intense. Normally they don’t hurt until I stop running but, with the walk breaks, the pain had been there for a while.
Still, with only 2.5 kilometres to go until I was back at my starting point, it would have been a shame to stop. I was feeling pretty strong apart from the legs, so I took a couple of extra walk breaks and kept going until I reached 21K. Well, I was hardly going to stop at 20.5 was I?
Of course, had I realised that another 100 metres would have made it a Half Marathon, I might have kept going for that too. But I can’t complain. It was a lovely run and just what was needed to lift my spirits.
As for the London 2 Brighton Challenge? I guess, we’ll see what happens!