Ultra marathons in 2018

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Running in the sun!

I haven't written a blog entry in a while - I've become very used to talking to a GoPro and putting together vlogs. I think I like being able to show things at the same time as talk about things.

Right now I'm sat with my feet up, with my right calf on an ice pack.

For the last couple of years I've been struggling with injuries affecting triathlon training and limiting how much I can do. I think the problems stem from my lower back, and probably from getting older as much as anything else. This year I have made a change as a result - I'm going to try and run some ultra marathons instead of race triathlon. These will be big but different challenges. I think I can do this because a limited stride length has been causing my problems and for ultra running I need to run slowly, with a shorter stride length. It might work?

Training has been going pretty well. My long runs have been getting up to 4 hours and 32km of hilly trails. In fact, hilly trails are much better for me than long tarmac runs. My current calf soreness is more a result of a couple of longer runs on tarmac than anything else. I've been feeling pretty good on the long runs, and generally enjoying myself. I eat and drink very little. Sunny mornings are a bonus. I can run to the sea, I can explore new trails, I can get lost. I can fall over, occasionally. I can get muddy. I can run through deep snow. Scroll back through the videos to see all of this!

Unfortunately I've overdone it again, and the main reason I'm writing now is to lay down a plan. The first ultra marathon is still more than 4 months away, but I need a plan. If the first rule of training is "don't get injured" then I need to pay more attention to what I'm doing.

What am I already doing well?

  • Training consistently

  • Balancing training load with recovery periods

  • Losing weight, eating ok

  • Experimenting with nutrition on long runs

  • Enjoying running

What do I need to do?

  • Stretch every other day. Take it more seriously. Think like an athlete again

  • See Gareth at Swansea Health Solutions regularly

  • New shoes. More new shoes. Fresh rubber

  • Spend the next week taking it easy. Let the calf recover. Ice, warmth, compression, easy jogs

  • Stay off tarmac. Run on trails.

  • Worry about hours spent running, not km

That sounds like a plan. One error I've made is shifting from looking at the hours spent running to the km I've covered each week. I run faster on tarmac so that encourages me to run more km on tarmac. That's wrong. The ultra marathons will be on trails, so I should train on trails. I'm less likely to break myself (unless I crash) on trails.

By the way, I'm also raising money for a charity through these runs: Macmillan Cancer Support. If you'd like to donate taker a look at my JustGiving link below. Thanks!

JustGiving - Sam Webster & Macmillan Cancer Support