Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
I’ve not really been writing consistent training updates since July, because as we get deeper into the season, racing comes to the forefront, and the training has been fitted around the racing schedule.
Aside from preparing for LIM, which I did mainly just off the work I had put in for Le Mans, the skate wheels have been swapped for my (shiny new) running shoes… for the rest of the year I want to focus on becoming a better runner.
The plan was to sign off my skating with the 135km Rhine On Skates at the end of August as a final skate event. Sadly it did not happen due to a total brainfart on my part – let’s just say that Rayner’s Lane is not on the way to Heathrow… gutted, because from all accounts this year’s event was a stunning day blessed with great weather (not always a given). I’m prioritizing this one for next year, goddammit – I WILL do RoS eventually, no matter how many hoops I have to jump through!
So, stuck in London over the bank holiday, my misery was further compounded when the LFNS Sunday Stroll was cancelled due to too few marshals being available to run it safely (it’s very rare that this happens), and then completed when the rain arrived on Monday just in time to cancel Markus’s traditional August bank-holiday skate. Thus, a weekend that was meant to be filled with skating ended up with none at all… c’est la vie.
So, instead, I put on my new Merrells and ran. It was always my intention to pick up the running volume in the back end of the season, so I took the chance to do so head-on and launched into a mini running streak – 1.5hrs a day, 4 days in a row. I had never done so much running in such a compressed period of time, but I have to say that it felt damn good. Of course, I took it steady and my legs never felt too heavy the next day. As I wrote about in my last post, short walk breaks during your runs really works wonders for how much soreness you (don’t) feel the next day, especially if you are suddenly ramping up the mileage by a large amount.
The following week we went on holiday to the charming seaside town of Tropea, Italy. I didn’t get a chance to run on the day we flew out, but thereafter continue with my 1.5hrs/day for 6 days straight. This also gave me a good chance to gain some heat-adaptation, as well as throwing some hills into the mix.
Incidentally, am I the only one who sees going on holiday as a chance to go running every day? Going running around a place while on holiday is the also perfect chance to look around and get to know it little!
Being away on holiday I reflected on the advantage that professional athletes have over the weekend warriors – with a chance to get away from the stresses of a busy city life, every day I slept in late, went for a long run, relaxed on the beach, swam in the sea, and ate great food all the time (though a little too much pasta than ideal). I honestly felt that I could train and absorb a lot more than usual without digging myself into a hole. It’s such a massive advantage to how far up the athletic ladder you can climb if you do not have to juggle work and life stresses, but very few of us are in the life position to do so. I guess the irony is that being a professional athlete has its own stresses that come with the day job of being a pro.
I figure I must have ran almost 10hrs/week for a couple of weeks, averaging 60-62miles/week. For me, that is a lot, and certainly a new run volume record.
One thing that stood out was the effect that the heat was having on my heart rate during my runs – with the temperature anywhere between 27 – 34 celsius, my heart rate was elevated by anything from 5 – 15bpm for what I felt like were my easy. To bring my heart rate back down to my usual aerobic zone (140-150bpm), I would have to knock off as much as 90 seconds/mile. It didn’t surprise me, but there was a time when I would have scowled at having to slow down to account for the heat (what do you mean I’m not a special snowflake?), but now older and wiser, I just happily take it all in my stride.
Anyway, the heavy block of running left me in great shape to tackle the upcoming races that will cap the season for me, which are:
This will be treated more as a build-up race rather than a goal race. Nonetheless, it’s run on trails and features plenty of elevation, and is said to be typically 15 minutes slower than a fast marathon course. So don’t plan for or expect anywhere near a PR.
This is a 20km run/77km bike/10km run – and I’ve never even raced a bike race before, never mind a Duathlon that involves 7 laps of Richmond park. Frankly, I’m (literally) bricking it; I’ve done absolutely sod all cycling lately, so I think it will be more a case of just surviving the bike leg and hoping that my running carries me through. When I signed up to do this I had visions of me becoming a decent cyclist – perhaps getting drop bars fitted onto my road bike, and actually putting my shiny clipless shoes on. The reality is that cycling hasn’t featured at all for me over the summer and I’m probably going to suffer a near death experience up the brutal Broomfield Hill after a couple of laps. At least drafting is allowed, so I just gotta hope that I can find someone kind enough to tow me around… and wait for me on the hills and technical bits.
50 miles is a long way to run, and a lot further than I’ve ever run before, especially with a few thousand ft of vertical thrown in. I’m terrified, but also immensely looking forward testing myself on this – it’ll be “a #2 kind of fun”.
Each one of these is a tough challenge by itself, but the thought of all doing all 3 within a 4 week period is one that scares the bejesus out of me. However “do the race that scares you” is an ultra mantra, and one that I have taken to heart.
Bringing things full circle, this time last year I was in the last stages of training for my first marathon in Berlin, which was a great experience, and to see that I’m stronger and more ambitious one year on is positive affirmation that I’m continuing to grow and enjoy what I’m doing.