Trail Marathon Wales – One Month and Counting

So it’s just under a month until my first marathon, “Trail Marathon Wales” at Coed-y-Brenin, Snowdonia and I’m starting to get excited and admittedly a little anxious as well.

Will my training have been OK?
Have my previous injuries fully healed?
Have I planned and practiced my fuelling strategy well enough?

These and a thousand other questions will no doubt enter and leave my head in the coming month but as each one has surfaced, so far I can confidently say, Yes. I am as ready as I want to be although that doesn’t stop me worrying just a little, which I guess is only natural for my first marathon.

lancashire-hills

My training plan is light compared to some but the vast majority of my running has been on trails on or around some of Lancashire’s muddiest hills in weather ranging from water logged to parched (last weekend) and even though training is something I’ve had to do I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve seen areas of Lancashire during this spring that I would otherwise have missed and it has reinforced my love of the local area.

The plan has consisted of building long runs / distance every other week with the intervening weeks alternating as progression runs (faster towards the end) or rest / cross training weekends (in my case cycling). For the statisticians out there, or for anyone who would like to know what seems to have worked for me, the plan, and what I actually did, is at the end of this post.

I’ve still one more long run to go in about a week then after that it’s ease off a bit and recuperate ready for the big day. I’m a firm believer that as trail running is a hobby not a vocation or job, then I am going to enjoy it. That includes any races, training or just getting out there and running. There is no doubt I could have pushed my training harder to maybe get a little bit fitter or a little bit better at hills (up and down) but that ’little bit’ for me, isn’t worth ruining the fun of the run or risking all for the sake of a few minutes.

Another development is a studio offering Yoga classes has opened up in the village, Cat and Cow Studio, so we’ve started doing Vinyasa Flow Yoga once a week, initially just as a way of stretching. Vinyasa is a style of yoga where the poses flow from one to another, synchronised by your breath. It is quite active and gives a good workout as well as helping flexibility and stretching. It’s amazing just how inflexible I am but apparently it’s fairly common in runners. I’m definitely feeling the benefit and think I am actually improving, all be it slowly, and I look forward to the Monday night classes where I know I’ll be pushed a little more each week and end the class feeling invigorated and at peace with the world in general and within myself (I’m sounding like a hippy… time to move on…)

llanddwyn-island

While we were on Anglesey a couple of weeks ago as well as doing one of my long runs around the coastal path which was fantastic, we went over to Coed-y-Brenin (where the trail marathon is being run) for a quick look and ran the 8.5 mile (13.7km) Goldrush trail which was brilliant and gave us a taste of what the paths are like. The area is beautiful and running along the forest roads and single tracks through the woodland and bluebells was amazing. It is, as we expected, a little ’bumpy’ but rather than worry us it just made us want to run the area even more.

coed-y-brenin

Who’d have thought it…
I’m going to run a marathon…
In some mountains..

I sometimes wonder where the person I used to be has gone because who (and where) I am now feels amazing.

Long run schedule and what was actually done. Amended 16th June

Weekend Miles (km)
Mar 9 12 (19.2) did 10k as knee was still a bit sore
Mar 16 6 progression did 12 (19k) instead to check knee
Mar 22 14 (22.4) 13.5 done, the Rivvy half route plus
Mar 29 Rest or bike done – rest
Apr 5 16 (25.6) 27.9 done due to navigational errors in the fog on winter hill
Apr 12 8 (12.8) progression run round the bank twice
Apr 19 18 (28.8) 29.96 done, dodgy calfs towards the end but all OK
Apr 26 Rest or bike 42k bike done, Parbold and back via back roads and hills.
May 3 20 (32) on holiday on Anglesey 32.17 done. Great run to Llanddwyn and round Newborough forest. Gentle outward pacing with faster later on. No pain just expected tiredness.
May 10 10 (16) progression round the bank a bit further, twice
May 17 22 (35.2) 31 done. Cut short due to heat but still good run, prob do this distance as next long one rather than push further and risk it.
May 24 Rest or bike Did Liverpool Rock n Roll 1/2 Marathon for fun. Ended up feeling great and getting new 1/2 mara. PB of 1:45:30
May 31 24 (38.4) 22.6m (36.2km) done around Chorley hills. The full distance run from a couple of weeks ago, felt good.
Jun 7 12 (19.2) 12 ish (19km) done round the river bank at good pace in the rain. Great run
Jun 14 8 (12.8) 10 ish (15.5km) up and down a very uneven local canal path, good steady pace. No issues, all good.
Jun 21 Race
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