A couple of years ago I attempted to run in a 24-hour race held in Belfast’s Victoria Park. Sadly at the 12-hour mark, I decided to call it quits because my knee was giving out and I was worried about an injury. It is one of the two times I have not finished (read about my thoughts on DNF’s here) even though technically I got moved to the 12-hour race because of the result. This year, I thought why not have another go at it? But this time train earlier and better for it.
First off I know I am probably not going to get many chances to run more than 16 hours at a time in this training and I have no idea if that is a good thing or not. But it is my first truly serious attempt to get to 24 hours and 100 miles, and I want to be as prepared as possible.
Here is some very broad list of things that I am doing to help myself prepare for this endeavour.
Lead up races
I am lucky to live in a country that offers runners such things, but EAMS are hosting a 12-hour race as almost a training run for 24-hour competitors. So I will be taking as much of an advantage of that as possible! This will be my only serious race feeling run at this distance before the race so I need to be in a good place to get to there.
There are also a few 6-hour races and challenges that I will go through to get the feet used to run continually in a race environment once the 26.2 miles have been and gone. As I always have to remember, distance isn’t my enemy. Time is.
The year before my 24-hour attempt, I ran the 12-hour race at Mary Peters Track in Belfast. If you know this track you will know that it is a 400m track and that meant for 12 hours I was running around and around and around… The direction changed every 4 hours, but it was monotonous. But strangely I coped and I enjoyed it.
The next year I was at Victoria Park which is just over a mile loop. This for some reason threw me right off and I will be honest, I struggled hard going around that circuit. I have to believe it was because I hadn’t practised on that route too many times as previously I used a local park which had a loop of 1km to train on for the 400m track.I had thought the same again would be okay. Wrong. I know this time I will run Victoria Park a lot to get used to it and for it not to break me. I know losing the comfort of seeing your station/bag helped me get through the lap. On a mile course, you lose that. I know it is all in the head, but it does get to you for no reason!
When to walk and when to run
I am not stupid, I know I won’t be able to run for the entirety of my time on the course in those 24 hours. So I need to work out a long-term plan to make my last the time. So far I have decided upon the following, but this is likely to change the more research I carry out:
- Run 10 miles at start to make some headway then walk a lap (so 1 mile)
- Every two miles/loops to then walk for at least half a loop before going again.
I feel being regimented in this approach should keep me in good stead throughout as last time I just kept going until I was tired before I would walk and by that point, I was probably and honestly already gone mentally.
I tried to go out a little faster last time to try and lower that deficit down from my first aim of 100 miles. I got stuck in that mindset and it cost me. By the time I tried to slow down I couldn’t and my race was as good as dead I was just counting down the clock. By trying to own a nice steady race and not follow others and their pace I hope not to fail… As badly. I want to run comfortably for as long as possible and spend a considerable amount of time on that pathway.
Setting a distance goal
It’s 100 miles, without a doubt, if I go past that, then great, but I want 100 miles. It is one of my best chances to get to 100 miles without worrying too much about the course (unless it somehow becomes easier somewhere) I am going to set myself marker distances to aim for and not to be too upset when I struggle for them.
I do this in a Bronze, Silver and Gold breakdown. So my Bronze target is 62 miles. I want to beat last attempts distance and once I know I have done that then I can progress on and take it in little intervals at a time! Silver is 80, I mean who doesn’t think running over 3 marathons in one go is awesome?! If I can get past 62 miles then I can try for that. Gold is the big one. I want to get to 100 miles, It is the big, bit aim and I think I have it in me. But it will take a lot to get there. I will try my best!
Come back in two weeks for my training plan and how I hope to have a nice breakdown of all of the next few months running! Until next time.
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