As sunrise gets later and sundown earlier I find myself a runner of the night all of a sudden! It's that time of year again when one becomes a 'townie' runner again, confined to the lit pavements of urban areas to get the miles in before and after work during the week. On occasions the headtorch will come out to hit the local trails in the dark although it's a bit of a waste of time with vision limited to a c.5metre radius. It's also mentally a tough time of year. My training routine hasn't changed at all, but the daylight hours have, and all of sudden it's dark when it used to be light, and my body is telling me it's not the right time to run.
I do however enjoy running in the autumn and winter months save for those days of extreme weather. On Monday morning of this week I opened the curtains to find the first decent frost of the year and a murky fog lurking out in the darkness. So the running tights were dusted off, so too the beanie and a long sleeve top. Suddenly my usual 6am 5 miler had a completely different feel to it, and I loved every minute of it. I was well wrapped up - nice and warm - which brought about a nice feeling of comfort and self-satisfaction, particularly knowing most folk were still tucked up in bed.
It got me thinking about the timing of races, and when the best time to peak for a race is. For example many people say they don't like running the London marathon in spring due the winter training required. Personally I prefer to train when it's cooler so for me a race in spring or late autumn is fine and probably preferred. Training is never easy whenever/ wherever it's done, I know all about that at the moment.
I'm now in my peak training weeks for the 100km World Cup in November with two sessions most days, the majority on the roads. The biggest challenge has been improving leg speed after Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a race which seems to do the opposite. Having said that, there is no better motivator than the chance to run in a GB vest, so every session i'm putting everything in to get in the best possible shape. I appreciate just how fortunate I am to be able to do what I do, so I have to relish the opportunity.
A lot of people ask how my training is going. The answer if probably the one that most runners give pre-race, a bit up and down really. But thinking back, there are very few races I have run where the build-up has been perfect. It doesn't seem to work like that with ultra running. Training to become fitter and to run faster seems to be like walking a tight-rope, it's very easy to topple over by over doing it. So day-by-day it's a case of keeping well, avoid colds, bugs etc, and putting in quality training with clear purpose. It's easier said than done, particularly with family, friends, work and other 'normal' commitments. But if it was easy, then I probably wouldn't be doing it...........
Happy night running!
- Jez Bragg
- Welcome to my blog which I hope to develop with some interesting material on ultra running both on the trails and road including reports on races and interesting training runs, views on kit and equipment as well as anything else I find of interest. I love running for adventure, opportunity and well being. Enjoy!
Friday, 3 October 2008
Here's a link to The North Face athlete's blog which includes some further thoughts on my UTMB experience this year: