The Trigger is a 24 mile fell race with 4,500 feet of ascent. It starts in Marsden, entrants have to navigate their way over Black Hill, Bleaklow and Kinder Scout, visiting seven check points on route and finally finishing in Edale.
This year was the sixth time the race had been run and I’m sure its one that everyone who has ever taken part in it will remember. The Trigger is renowned for being one of the toughest races in the Peak District but this year it was made even more difficult by the heavy snow fall in the week prior to the race and the heavy rain through the night before. I thought about what the conditions might be like and what kit I would need and more importantly what I was going to start the race in. The biggest challenge of the day and the one that played the biggest part in 25% of the starting field dropping out came from something I didn’t even take in to consideration and that was that the streams that had risen due to the snow melting and heavy rain fall would become fast flowing icy river crossings. Continue reading
Training doesn’t stop just because it’s the Christmas holidays and with a few early mornings and juggling family commitments I was able to have one of the most ultra marathon specific training weeks to date. I don’t drink and very rarely go to the pub so waking up at 5.30am with a hang over in the holidays was never going to be a concern for me. Even our New Years Eve celebrations were far from rock and roll as we headed home just after at 10:30 pm and on New Years Day my wife got up early to run our local Park something I never thought would happen. Who know she may even make the Christmas Day one next year.
All of my training runs over the past few months in the Peak District have been done in Zone 1 (recovery), as I try to build a solid endurance base in preparation for the Ultra Marathons I have got planned. I decided to test my fitness level and some of my new kit out to see how my training was coming together and did a thirteen mile run in Zone 2 (threshold) on Tuesday morning. I was pretty pleased with the results and saw the biggest improvement on the hills were my heart rate was much more stable. This allowed me to push harder as the climb went on. At the start of my training my heart rate would shoot up on the littlest of climbs and forced me to slow down or walk. Continue reading
November saw my first block of training for the Lakeland 50 get off to a great start, with what can only be described as the perfect long run in the Peak District. It cemented my decision to return to ultra running, after spending the last couple of years running on the roads. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and talking to people with varying degrees of experience when it comes to completing ultra races about the changes I need to make to my current training if I’m going to be ready to take on the Lakeland 50 in July next year. It’s been really interesting to learn about other peoples training and to see what they think works for them.
The training plan I have in mind will start in the New Year and be based around my heart rate training zones that were set after having a Lactate Threshold Test done last year. I have four training zones but I will mainly be using two of them. Zone 1 (recovery) will be used for my long runs in the Peak District to try and replicate race conditions and become more efficient at running though the mountains. Zone 2 (threshold) which most of my mid week training will be focused around. This is the heart rate zone I would run a marathon in and can hold for around three hours. When running on the trails or in the mountains I know the pace will be completely different but by using my heart rate as a guide I will be able to monitor my effort levels. Most weeks I will typically run around 75 – 80 miles per week and plan to peak with around 90 miles per week. Continue reading
I’ve done a few fell and trail races over the years but my main focus has been road running. I never thought there would be much difference between the two, other than the obvious difference of trail races being on a marked route that you have to follow and fell races being totally the opposite. There is no set route, you chose the route you take, providing that you visit all of the check points. The actual terrain on the races I have done has been very similar, uneven, rocky tracks but still on mostly runnable ground or it may be that I have just entered the wrong or right races depending how you look at it. To finish the year off I said I would enter some long trail and fell races to try and regain my hill fitness before starting my plan for the Fellsman and Lakeland 50 next year. Last week I decide to enter Grin ‘N’ Bear it, a fell race in the Peak District starting from the Langsett Reservoir, a CL category fell race, 16 mile long with 1939 feet of ascent. The weather conditions on the morning of the race were perfect for racing but boy was I in for a shock, this was like no race other race I’ve ever experienced. The race started along the top path of Langsett Reservoir on a good runnable track, before we started the relentless climb to the top of the Cut Gate Path. I was working hard on the climb to keep in touch with a small group in front of me, probably too hard at this early stage as my heart rate was around 180 bpm. I’m currently trying to get better at running up hills as this is an area that I need to improve on. My legs were on fire by the time we reached the first check point at the top of Cut Gate . From the picture below, you can see the pain on my face. Continue reading