It has been sometime since my last post. This is the time of year I dislike the most. The depths of winter are still to come and whilst its not exactly deepest, darkest Russia here, the lack of daylight does make training more difficult and sometimes miserable. Five days a week the only daylight I see is from my office window. The other two days it is hard to justify four hours plus away from the house, wife and kids to run in the daylight.
So, I am running early in the mornings and after work. No earlier or later than I did in the summer, but it feels a whole world away.On Saturdays I am leaving the house at 5:30am to run with a headlamp for the first hour and watch the sun rise later and later each week as I move from road to trail.
I only moved to Bath in the spring of this year so it has taken time to discover the best routes to run. In the summer I did a lot of road work, but after the beating I took at the NDW50 in August I am doing a lot more trail running and feeling so much better for it. As part of this move I have discovered the Cotswold Way, a 103 mile footpath which starts in Bath and travels north through the Cotswolds. This is my news training ground and I am really enjoying it. A typical Saturday run involves road from Batheaston through quiet country lanes, climbing until I reach the hamlet of Cold Ashton. I then join the Cotswold Way and follow this 13 further miles into Bath and back home. This total 18 mile loop takes me around three hours currently and is stunning yet tough, with constant climbing and descending across boggy fields and muddy track.
As I build up to the Endurancelife Dorset Ultra on Saturday December 8th, I am feeling quietly confident. This is a 35 mile run along the steep jurassic coast, climbing over 7000ft. This weekend I plan to cover 36 miles as I do two loops of my traning run for the first time. This will be the longest I have run since August and I hope to make this a regular monthly fixture. If I was single I would do it every week, but I know it will wipe me out and take six hours plus which isnt fair on my family.
So, with one month to go I am hoping to complete the Dorset Ultra in less than 7 hours. This will put me on track for a 9:30 running of the NDW50 next year which is on an unchanged route but in May rather than August. This year, I will qualify for Western States in 2014 (but subject to lottery whether I get in or not still) and I will be running my first 100 miler in the USA next September. More details on this coming soon