When your ‘easy’ runs are over 12 miles!

With just under 2 weeks to go until my longest ever race, the Lakeland 50, apart from a few recent blips in the long runs (I’ve sorted them now) things have gone well and as it’s long overdue (again) I thought it time to put down some notes on my preparations and what I’ve done for the past 3 months.


Well obviously I’ve been doing a fair bit of running with the weekend back to backs gradually increasing in length until they reached 12 miles on day one and 28 miles on day 2. I’d never have thought that a training run could be longer than a marathon in distance but it’s amazing what the human body can get used too with gradual increases.

I had a couple of wobbles a month or so ago where one weekend the weather was rubbish so I decided to do a couple of loops past the car which was a big mistake as on the first pass the warm dry car was far too much of a temptation so I stopped. The second blip was when my car broke down on the way out to the Lancashire hills so I ended up running along the local river banks in the afternoon in 30 deg heat which in hindsight was a mistake. I cut this one short as well as I just couldn’t keep running in the heat, basically I was dehydrated… lesson learned.

Great trails with good friends

Thankfully I realised these were just minor setbacks and the next long run I did with a couple of good friends, took it easy and talked rubbish for 24.5 miles over some of Lancashires beautiful hills which just what I needed to get back on track.

My last long run was a week ago, around the 28 mile distance and although flat the terrain wasn’t all easy as I wound my way round the South Western tip of Anglesey, through Newborough Forest and Llanddwyn Island. I great run but I’m glad these long distances are all over apart from the big event. It’ll be nice to get my weekends back.

The mid week runs have also got progressively longer (up to 12 miles) and have gone well but I’ve cut out my bike ride to a from work for the past few weeks as my legs have been a bit tired and we’ve moved work premises so the distance too and from work is now a bit longer.

Pampering and Maintenance

Once a week I’ve been practicing Anusara Yoga after work with Simone at Chakra Studious in Penwortham which has been great for keeping aching muscles and stiffening joints moving and maintaining a bit of flexibility plus it’s always great to take a bit of time to relax and unwind.

A new (ish) thing I’ve added to my preparation is a sports massage the day after my long runs, every three weeks. This has been brilliant with Heidi (HEA Sports Massage Therapist) spotting issues before they occur and making sure everything is in working order. I’ve one more session five days before the race to prepare muscles for the trials ahead then the next session will be when she tries to rebuild me…

I’ve no doubt that the combination of these two things, yoga and massage, have helped me get to this stage in training without any major injuries.

Food Glorious Food

Well not so much glorious, more like necessary. I’ve continued with my fuelling strategy of a Mountain Fuel drink every couple of hours (approx. the time between checkpoints in the race) and half a Torq or Mule bar every half hour which has worked well.

It’s not as nice as cake but I haven’t found a half decent way of transporting any type of sandwich cake yet.

In theory this will leave me a bit short in of calories/carbohydrates but it give me the option to eat some different snacks at the checkpoints such as sandwiches, jelly babies or soup without being to specific or having to carry anything extra. I know I’m OK with what I have but during the SBU35 Ultra I got to a checkpoint, spotted a spicy onion baji and instantly craved it… sometimes I wonder about what goes on in my stomach.

Gear and Stuff

I’ve not really gone into the gear I’ll be using for the race as most of it is bits and pieces I’ve purchased over time. There is a fairly extensive list of kit that needs to be carried for the LL50 all mainly self explanatory with a few ‘in case of emergency’ pieces thrown in.

The pack I’ll be carrying everything in is the same one I used a couple of years ago for SBU35, a slightly battered Salomon S-lab 12. There are newer more fancy models but this one does the job well. I’ve changed the water bottles to the newer speed softflasks which makes getting the mountain fuel drink powder easier to get in. Waterproofs will be the Montane Minimus jacket and pants which I’ve had for a while and have served me well.

The other bits are extra base layers (top and bottom), extra emergency food (a couple of mars bars worth calories equivalent), first aid kit with plasters etc, a compass and an extra for me is my Swiss Army knife.

On top of this, unlike my other ultra, I’m going to be using a pair of Leki Nordic walking poles which when collapsed are irritatingly too small for the S-lab vest to ‘hold’ so I’ve purchased a ‘naked running band’ from the States which has been brilliant, the two loops on the back hold the poles very well and the extra pockets all round come in very useful for other bits and pieces.

Shoes will be my ‘go too’ trail shoe of choice, Brooks Cascadia, currently version 12 which seem to be a lot more durable than the previous two versions, both of which were good but had a design flaw where the top would wear along where the front of the shoe bent with my toes. I’ve tried other brands, Salomon, Scott and Inov8 but I always come back to these, they just seem to work well for me.

Final Thoughts

Today was the last of my back to back runs, an easy, relaxing run of about 10 miles around Newborough on Anglesey, it gave me a bit of time to mull things over, how has the training gone, etc.

Training and preparation wise I’m fairly sure I’m as ready as I’ll ever be, I feel fitter and more focussed than I have for any race and I’m genuinely looking forward to the getting underway in a couple of weeks. There are a few dodgy sections navigation wise but I’m pretty good with a map and the section from Ambleside to Coniston which is probably going to be during the night I ran in January in the dark so that should be OK.

We’ve got accommodation sorted out (camping is provided but I wanted a decent nights kip before and after the race) and a meal for the Friday night so that’s two more things taken care of.

The only things left now are a couple of short runs, a last massage and yoga session then it’s time to put it all to the test.

50 miles at 50 years… who’s daft idea was that? Oh, it was mine…

Best get on with it then!

Lakeland 50, 2017 – Training Plan (weekends)
Amended 16th July

W/end Miles (km) Activity Route(s)
March 18 16 (26) Up and over Winter Hill Over the hill
March 19 6 (10) Local river bank loop
March 25 6 (10) Local river bank loop
March 26 18 (30) Rivington Pike, Winter Hill, Tockholes loop Hill and more
April 1 4 (7) Parkrun Southport plus a bit
April 2 8 (13) Coed-Y-Brenin Goldrush recce
April 8 20 (32) Extended Rivington Pike, Winter Hill, Tockholes loop Extended Rivi Loop
April 9 8 (13) Patterdale, Angle Tarn, Hayeswater Loop Angle Tarn Loop
April 14 20 (32) (Easter weekend – runs moved forward a day)
Extended Rivington Pike, Winter Hill, Tockholes loop
Extended Rivi Loop
April 15 10 (16) Local Tracks & River Bank
April 22 10 (16) Goldrush 8.5m race plus cooldown Goldrush
April 23 6 (10) Local river bank loop
April 29 10 (16) Local Tracks & River Bank
April 30 22 (35) Cerrig y Barcud to Llanddwyn and Newborough Forest Loop CYB Llanddwyn Loop
May 6 10 (16) Local Tracks & River Bank
May 7 22 (35) Green Lane Loop plus local tracks – on road ūüôĀ 22m Road Loop
May 13 10 (16) Local Tracks & River Bank
May 14 6 (10) Local river bank loop
May 20 24 (39) 24m of the Rivi Marathon Route  24m of Rivi Mara
May 21 10 (16) Local Tracks & River Bank
May 27 24 (39)  24m of the Rivi Marathon Route Рv. hot and humid  24m of Rivi Mara
May 28 10 (16) Local Tracks & River Bank
June 3 10 (16) Marshside Gym 16k River Loop 16k Gym Loop
June 4 8 (13) White Coppice and Resi’s 8m Loop Resi’s Loop
June 10 26 (42)  2 x Rivi half Рbailed after one due to weather Rivi Half Loop
June 11 10 (16)  16m of local trail ;oops
June 17 26 (42)  To Southport and back, stopped short due to heat  To RSPB Marshside
June 18 10 (16)  Local Tracks & River Bank
June 24 8 (13)  Swapped due to night out Local 8m road loop
June 25 10 (16)  10m Chorley Trail Top Lock > Nab
July 1 12 (20)  local tracks and river bank
July 2 28 (45)  New bits of Lancashire with good friends  Lancs hills
July 8 12 (20) (switch runs round due to holidays) local tracks
July 9 28 (45)  Newborough, Llanddwyn and bits  SW Anglesey
July 15 8 (13)  Road loop from Cerrig Y Barcud
July 16 10 (16)  Newborough commonwealth trail plus bits
July 22 10 (16)
July 29 50 (80) RACE DAY – Lakeland 50

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