With the next marathon 3 weeks off I felt the need to put in some hill-work in preparation. I have been scoping-out a couple of potentials - one of which I cycled last week on the way back from the Brutal, and decided that I would combine a 12 mile run with some hill reps.
On the abandoned side of the canal near me there is a grassy hill that gets pretty slippy and muddy, so I went out on my normal XC 10k route on to the canal and instead of the turn for home, carried on to the abandoned side and did 10 reps going up the hill working on my technique: small steps, high knees, work the arms.
By the end of the 10 reps I was pretty creamed, but as much as I was feeling good for doing it as I jogged-on with the rest of my route, I don't think the hill is long or high enough to really be worthwhile using as a mainstay of training.
After reaching the end of the canal I joined the road taking me over the motorway and passed the Andwell Brewery before crossing the A30 at the bottom of 'Scures hill'... Whilst the hill is not an off-road trail, it does climb a good hundred feet over around 3/4 of a mile, and up I went it to the village of Newnham.
This may well be the hill I use for my reps as it is a reasonably quiet road, so putting a good 5 or 10 reps on this will certainly get my legs going and better used to the rigours demanded on the XC marathons, as I lose a lot of time through my lack of pace up the hills at present. Even better if I have run the 7 miles or thereabouts to get there to drag my semi-knackered arse up and down again several times before stumbling across the golf course, the fields and home!
|The view at the top of those hill-reps... Makes them all worthwhile :)|
Something I have been doing more of this week is looking at other races for the forthcoming year. With the 5 rounds of the CTS coming early-on the immediate part is already taken care of, but with a gap for the month of April, and from June onwards there's nothing booked.
I have decided that I will go for a road marathon in April - with Blackpool, where I have run plenty of times along the beach and on the promenade being the most likely candidate. June may well see me go for the Classic Quarter as my first ultra... So potentially my marathon calendar could be looking like this:
Jan: Anglesey CTS
Feb: South Devon CTS
Mar: Sussex CTS
May: Pembroke CTS
May: Flete CTS
Jun: Classic Quarter
Jun: South Downs
Aug: Salisbury 54321
Sep: Farnham Pilgrim
With Blackpool and Portsmouth both being road marathons that'll be 1/5 of the way to satisfying that part of the 100 marathon club, so potentially by the end of 2014 I could be on 30 qualifying marathons already!
There's another couple of runs I've seen that I like the look of - The Wall, a 2 day ultra along the length of Hadrian's Wall & City to Summit - a 2 day ironman or duathlon if you don't like the swimming where you start in Edinburgh and end up on Ben Nevis, and the Fandance - a replication of the SAS selection run up and down Pen-Y-Fan.