running

Entering the world of back to back runs

This weekend marks the start of back to back runs each weekend as part of my training for the ultra.

It’s been ages since I’ve done back to back runs, in fact the one and only time I’ve done it was when I completed the Virtual Race To The Stones in July. I did double runs for four days and then two days of one run a day.

The difference this time is that the mileage I’m doing is significantly more and I’m deliberately including hills in at least one of my runs.

Here’s how I got on this weekend.

Saturday

My first run of the weekend was a hilly 10 miler. I plotted the route out in the Footpath app. It’s an awesome app and even on the free version you can save a limited number of maps. I’ve not used my Garmin for directions as I’m also using it to schedule alerts (more on that in a tick).

Before I started training I hadn’t completed many long runs and I tended to use the same few routes. Training for the ultra is proving to be a real opportunity to explore Cardiff and the surrounding area, and go a little further afield. I’m really enjoying finding new places to run. It’s giving a sense of adventure to my training rather than just churning out the same routes all the time.

Today’s run was up Wennalt Hill (also known as The Wennalt or Wennalt mountain although it’s not actually steep enough to be a mountain), which is in North Cardiff. I stuck to the road rather than the trails in the woodland as my run today was (only) supposed to be 10 miles. As my weekend miles increase I’ll definitely look to explore more.

The aim on my longer runs is to Jeff as much as possible (run for 3 minutes, walk for 30 seconds) and the hike the hills that are too steep to run. Hence the alerts on my Garmin to remind me when the walk and when to run so I don’t have to think about it too much.

Whilst the road up The Wennalt doesn’t look that steep in the pictures I hiked quite a lot of it. It’s deceptively steep compared to the picture.

I also tried a new gel today. My husband picked the SIS Go Isotonic Energy gel up from the supermarket. It was much nicer than the one I tried last week, and in date which was an added bonus! The texture was thicker so it felt a bit more like eating jelly rather than some slimy mixture. Plus the blackcurrant flavour was much nicer. Even with a steep down hill straight after I had the gel my tummy felt fine. I’m going to try some other flavours and bulk buy them I think.

I’m running without headphones at the moment as I’ve not felt like I’ve really needed them yet. I’m still enjoying just being out and exploring although I’m sure there will be a time when I start to feel I might benefit from them. Until that point I’m aiming to run and just enjoy being around nature and exploring.

My legs are feeling the hike again this week so I’ve foam rollered in the hope it’ll help for tomorrow. I had a little company on the foam roller from my youngest whilst he enjoyed Peppa Pig.

I ended up with a small blister between two of my toes after the run (the joys). It happened as I’d not cut my toe nails short enough. Lesson definitely learned for the future. I hadn’t even realised it was there until the evening when my foot felt a bit sore.

Sunday

Today’s run was 5.5 miles to bring the weekend mileage to 16 miles.

I think the foam rolling did my legs the world of good as when I went out today my legs didn’t feel heavy at all.

I added one hill to the start of the run but the rest was either downhill or flat.

Today’s pace should have been easy but when I looked at my Garmin I was actually fairly quick for me.

I know there’s a reason why the weekend runs are supposed to be easy so I’m going to have to make a conscious effort to slow down. I don’t want to burn out but also the runs are at an easy pace as it’s better for my body to get used to a slower pace so I can cover longer distances.

Fortunately my blister didn’t bother me and has pretty much sorted itself overnight so I had no problems which was great news.

I ran after lunch today but I’m not sure that was the best idea. We only had a light lunch and during the run it didn’t bother me at all but when I got home my tummy felt a little heavy. I’ll need to try to work out whether I can fit the run in, in the morning next week and see of that makes a difference. Also it was quite busy out this afternoon and whilst people were observing social distancing rules I still prefer it to be a bit quieter.

I’m already looking forward to next week, I can’t believe I’m saying that! I’m not sure it’ll be like this every week!

I’m re-planning my strength and conditioning session for Tuesday later. I’m so lucky that people have pointed me in varous directions to different workouts so that I can pull something together that works for me. I’m off to find out about compound exercises (not combined as I said in my post the other day!).

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