Sunday Run Fun

With five months to go until my next Ultra, I figured it was time I started getting some miles beneath my feet.

At the moment I am trying to get back into running again but it’s a slow process, so I figured that the least I could do was go for a nice long walk today, and maybe jog a bit if I felt like it – the key was to spend time outdoors and get the old legs moving again.

My plan for today was to go out for an hour and a half, using a route that included a variety of surfaces as well as some decent inclines. Running along the seafront is fine for most of what I do, but as the South Coast Challenge is going to involve some pretty varied terrain, I wanted to get as much variety in to these early runs and walks as possible.

The area that I live in is fairly urban and, although there are some nice parks, most of the paths aren’t that much different from the road or pavement surface. So, I decided to head for a small trail between Woodland Drive and Woodland Avenue that I had used before. It’s only about a kilometre or so, but it does have a nice incline and the surface of the path has a good mixture of mud, stone, shingle and exposed roots to keep things interesting.

Although my plan was to walk this section, I couldn’t resist breaking into a little jog here and there, just warm up the old leg muscles and get them used to running uphill again – well, the less steep sections anyway.

The trail ends at a main road, which is a bit annoying as it means having to stop before crossing the road, but I think my legs were happy for the rest to be fair.

As I headed across the road to the open field that would take me to the next trail, I noticed that the wind was picking up a bit and it was starting to rain. This was good. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed a bit of rain to cool me down mid run, although I was pleased that it didn’t come to much.

The run across the field was nice. I ran the downhill and some of the flat sections until I came to the gate that would take me into Coney Wood, which I had only ever ventured into once before, but remembered that it had some nice narrow trails and plenty of downhill sections to keep things interesting.

This part of the run was a lot of fun, with much more downhill than I remembered, and plenty of hazards like fallen trees and more exposed roots to keep me on my toes – literally! This was really good practice for downhill running and I tried to remember to land mid foot and avoid braking with my heels too much.

It was a bit disappointing when the trail came to an end and I emerged from the wood on to a residential street, but as I had completed over 4K, I decided to keep running and see what my 5K time would be. As it turned out it wasn’t bad at all, considering the uphills and walking, and I ended up with a time of 42:15 for the first half of my run.

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Of course, now I had to turn around and do the whole thing in reverse, which meant a lot of walking to get myself back up the hill. But I did run some of the flatter sections and a bit of the field, before running the whole downhill section of Woodland Ave/Drive. That took me back to the park, so I continued walking and jogging until I had completed my hour and a half, which took me to a bit over 10K.

By the end of it I felt pretty good and was tempted to turn into Hove Rec for an extra couple of kilometres, but in the end I decided just to keep going until I had finished the 11th kilometre and called it a day at that. My final time for 11K was 1:33:11, which was pretty good for what was originally just going to be a walk.

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I think that my 1K a day since Thursday might have helped a little bit as well – if not in terms of fitness, then at least in terms of feeling motivated and ready to get this training started.

A Gentle Reminder

Look what arrived in the post! My new training t-shit, and a gentle reminder that I need to get my arse into gear before the ultra training begins.


It’s still six months before I embark on my second Ultra Marathon, the South Coast Challenge 50K, but if I’m going to have a real go at running this one, then I need to get moving.

The only other ultra that I have ever attempted was the London to Brighton 100K, which I ended up walking for most of the route, but this time I’m hoping that things will be different.

Firstly, this one half the distance, which should make it more doable. They do have a 100K option, but that would mean running past my front door (ok, two streets away from my front door) at the half way point, which I’m not sure I could cope with – especially as public transport from Arundel to Hove isn’t that great; my house, on the other hand, is about a 5 minute walk from the 50K finish line, which will hopefully motivate me to keep going.

I live on the street below and to the left of the train station. The yellow house symbol is the 50K point.
I live on the street below and to the right of the red train station symbol. The yellow house symbol is the 50K point.

Secondly, even though I was in better shape before I started my 100K training than I am at the moment, at that time my training mostly involved very long walks and not much running at all. Also, I only started training nine weeks before the event itself. Yeah, I know, it’s a miracle that I didn’t die, but it gives me hope that with six months to train for the 50K, I should be able to do much better this time around.

So, with all of that in mind, and having taken a couple of days annual leave from work, I hopped on the treadmill this afternoon for a nice easy 30 min jog, covering 3.09 km with no walk breaks. Still slow, I know, but it will do for now.

How’s your training going? Have you ever had to run past your house during a long race? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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?

21K Map 2014-03-23

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!

Happy running!