Sep 2011

Lessons learnt/master plan

There are a couple of small positives to take away from this year’s UTMB experience:

  • 1) At least the bad weather coincided with a year when my preparation hadn’t been great.

  • 2) My descending was (marginally) better than at CCC two years ago. I was actually managing to net over-take on the descents. Although this probably says more about the woeful descending skills of a lot of the rest of the back-end of the field.
3) The original cut-offs early in the race aren’t impossible for me. Even with the muddy descents I was gaining time on them (albeit very slowly...).

However chasing cut-offs for 46 hours would be tough (physically and mentally), so I need to aim to be a bit further inside them (i.e. 30 minutes at Contamines, building to at least an hour). The master plan for doing this is:

  • Faster descending.
  • Faster climbing.
  • Faster running on the undulating bits.

i.e. faster pretty much everything! For descending the first step is to strengthen my ankles, and then practice and gain confidence. Climbing wise, more weekends of ‘Snowdon repeats’ and mid-week stair climbing sessions should make a difference. Finally I took my eye off the ball with respect to flat-ish running and somehow managed to lose fitness/speed over the Summer. Keeping up regular undulating mid-length runs should help this.

In the short term, I’ve got the High Peak 40 and Round Rotherham 50 to round off the year. It’d be nice to take something (i.e. a new personal best) away from one of them. High Peak 40 is probably the best bet as I’ve struggled a bit both times I’ve run it (despite the
2nd senior woman medal in 2009...) whereas the 2009 Round Rotherham was one of the best runs I’ve ever had.  Failing that, the goal is to run the ‘gently rising road of doom’. I did have a quick look for another 100 this year, but the only one I could find (Ceasar’s camp) was full, which is probably for the best.

After that a couple of weeks rest (or at least a break from running) would be a good idea. And then the plan is to get into shape for the usual early season ‘races’ (Haworth Hobble, Hardmoors 55, Calderdale, Fellsman), with the goal of being a bit less cautious with my pacing and seeing how much faster (if at all...) I can go.

After that Hardmoors 110 is a more challenging alternative to another LDWA 100, and better preparation for another, better prepared, shot at UTMB (or the Lakeland 100 if I don’t get in).