Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Back in the game

Summer is finally on it's way in Chamonix (well, as long as you ignore the snow forecast for tomorrow) and it's now 4 weeks since the Annecy marathon. 

To be honest there has been more eating, drinking and merriment going on than running over this period, but I think we earned it, pounding those pavements?!

My recovery was slow, as expected.  No knee or muscle pain, which was pleasing, but very tight around the upper legs & buttocks, even after a few weeks and my lungs were knackered for the best part of a week.  I ran at the end of week 1, then in week 2 I was feeling great and aimed for a 8km x 2 return hilly trail run, only to turn back after 6km and walk most of the way back.  Too much too soon.  Week 3 was better and I managed my planned 4 sessions including 18km at the weekend, but hills still felt hard.  To be fair this could be due to my lack of hill running prior to the marathon, so I shouldn't be too tough on myself.  Last weekend I did 22km on the trails and was loving it, but forced myself to turn around so as not to overdo it.  Just as well I did because 8km from home the heavens opened and I nearly got washed away!

The weather has been really unpredictable here recently, though that's nothing unusual in the mountains.  Huge winds brought down lots of trees and the trails were more like an assault course for a while, which me and the dog thoroughly enjoyed.

There are now only 6 weeks to go till my next race, the Chamonix marathon, which has 2.5km of vertical climb and 1.5km of descent.  It struck me today that although I am feeling really fit compared to previous years, I haven't done nearly as much trail running as I would usually have under my belt for mid-May, so I need to start cranking my training up a bit.  I'm following an ultra-training plan from Trail Running magazine which suggests 2 x 60 min, 1 x hill intervals, 1 x long run, with core strength, weight training and rest days in between.  The long runs are supposed to build up to 7-8 hours at their peak, but to be honest I've not been able to increase at the rate I'd like to, so am a bit behind, but then I probably didn't do 5 hours+ until July/August last year.  I am also doing intervals/speed work for one of my sessions, to add a bit of interest and to attempt to increase speed over distance - despite my best efforts I am really not a fast runner.

My two best running buddies and I haven't hit the trails together much yet.  Ali is having far too much fun horse-riding in Montana and Nikki is still struggling with the injury that stopped her from running in Annecy, but we should all be back on track before long.  After the Cham marathon, Nikki & I are doing the Trail de Ticino in Switzerland in August, watching the UTMB for inspiration at the end of that month (ready for our CCC attempt next year!), Nikki is doing the Trail des Aiguilles Rouges at the end of September and I am aiming for a 60km+ race in either Italy or Switzerland in October.  So we had better get our skates on and get training.  Come on the Birds with Altitude!

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