Tom Flavin training diary part 2
Posted by Connor Ratcliffe on April 09, 2016. 0 Comments
Month 2 of blogging and I'm almost at the peak of training for the ultra marathon in may. This month has been a bit of hit and miss with regards to running, I've had various things happen in my life causing distractions or inability to train, but everyone experiences this and it's being able to get back to work even with all of this on your mind and juggling everyday life. I try my best to be as organised as I can and fit everything in but most of the time it doesn't work out, so I now try to go with the flow.
This brings me onto a topic which lots of people lose countless nights sleep over, as I know I have done in the past and that is sticking word for word to your training plan. These gospels we follow to the letter in the hope that they will take us to the finish line and conquer our challenge. I'd be interested to see how many people actually complete every single workout planned in an intense endurance program. Whether it be injury, general life or just plain old "I'm too tired" all of us have missed a workout and then for me personally, I spend weeks thinking about that one session I missed and how I'm never going to finish whatever event I'm going out for!
I know I'm still young and would say still very inexperienced in ultra-endurance racing, but after speaking to lots of people and reading around the topic, there are stories of people doing minimal training a month before a huge ultra endurance event and still completing it. I know these are extreme cases but I've found that these programs are designed to get you to the finish as comfortably as possible. Missing sessions but completing maybe 75% of the program will still enable you to finish however the mental strain will be far greater. I'm not saying this is something you should do, just that missing a few workouts isn't going to make or break the race, do bear in mind though that missing 1 workout every other week will rack up substantial time over a 6 month period! Another point that should be noted is this is for people looking to just complete a challenge whether it be a 5km run or an ironman triathlon, if you are looking for specific times then missing workouts will be very detrimental to your performance especially missing 25%+ of the whole program.
Onto my training for this month and it seems to have really ramped up! my longest weekend was a marathon on the Saturday and then 10 miles on the Sunday totalling 36miles for the weekend. This was tough, the only other marathon I've ever ran is on the end of ironman, this was totally different. Mentally it was horrible as there was no support, or people cheering, it was just another training session for the log, no medal or t-shirt at the end. I ran the whole thing down a canal path it was outrageously mind numbing, but this was my intention as that's what these events are about, however its never enjoyable at the time. Following the bends of the river Trent for miles, I just stared at the water, kept my legs going and remembered to fuel. I can now go into a sort of autopilot, just drift off in my head as the pain numbs then occasionally I come back to reality and have to fight a bit to keep going, but its just an endless cycle of that. It sounds horrible and no one will really understand it until they do it but for me its quite therapeutic as I have masses of time to think! Then when I complete a goal the high is unparalleled to anything I've ever experienced, hence why I keep going further. Well at the moment that's the excuse I'm using to keep entering stupid races! I would like to say if i complete the double then I'll stop, but truthfully I cant see that happening, I continue to think that if I've done a challenge i want to do the next thing, because what's the point in doing something you know you can do? Obviously times are another area to work on but for me there's something far more appealing in doing something that you have never attempted in your life and then coming out on top.
Over the next month i have my longest session of a 28mile run, then i can start to taper for my race! My body is just about holding in there and i'll make sure my head is there on race day too!