Friday, February 22, 2008

Training or racing?

Back on my soapbox again. This week's blogs (Marco, pacepusher, Thomas, John) have been full of comments about the 'race' last week from the Drovers Inn to Kingshouse - loads of comments about beating so and so, finishing in x position, and so on. I raised this before in a previous posting, but I'm not sure anyone paid the slightest bit of notice. So I'll raise it again and see if I get a reaction this time:

1. We are still in February.
2. The race does not take place until 21 June, almost 4 months away.
3. IMHO one of the benefits of the long training runs are to get replicate race conditions. I did Saturday's run in 5 hours 36 minutes. In last year's race I was 6 hours 50 minutes for the same section, and finished in 21 hours 11 minutes. So last Saturday I was not replicating race conditions.
4. I've checked back at the 2000 race results (it's the only one I have to hand). Wim Eskamp ran a new record that year of 16 hours 26 minutes. He covered the section from Inverarnan to Kingshouse in 5 hours 15 minutes - slower than quite a few people ran the same section on Saturday.
5. Which means a few people were running faster than 16.26 race pace. Did they appreciate they were running that quickly?
6. Running 95 miles is quite different from running 31 miles. We are training for a 95 mile race, not running a series of WHW races over shorter distances.
7. Over the years I've seen many runners who were in great shape in March but then picked up injuries. Many didn't make it to the start line; others did but underperformed.

Of course, everyone has their own training plans which need to take account of their personal circumstances. There are many different ways to run this race successfully, and I would never presume to tell people that one way was better than another way. There are almost as many training theories as there are runners. Some of the group will have realistic expectations of a 20 hour performances, and will find Saturday's training pace very easy. Others will find the pace comfortable for 30 miles, but may struggle as the distances increase.

So in summary, I'm not trying to tell anyone how to train, but I just think we all need to be quite careful about how we approach these long training runs. I'll certainly be having a good think about it, and suspect I'll give the 29 March long run a miss. I have a marathon the week before, and in any event I feel that March is a bit early in my training programme to be doing 42 miles. I'll also be treating the Highland Fling Race on 26 April with a bit of caution - a 53 mile race is a tough undertaking in its own right, and it only leaves 8 weeks recovery time until the full race.

Having said all that, I'll be giving it everything tomorrow at the National XC. Particularly if I see John K just in front with a lap to go :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Ian, totally agree with your comments. As an outsider to the WHW family I have long felt these training runs are becoming far to competitive and in my opinion there are several of the family in danger of not making the starting line come June.

Andy Kerr said...

I think you could be right Ian, I'm sure at some point there is merit to training outside your race pace even for longer stuff (yep, particularly for longer stuff) but racing is a whole different matter and particularly at this time in the season.

Is there not a Tortoise who blogs a bit who races too many of his training sessions and struggles with injuries...


Anonymous said...

Hi - totally agree with your sentiments. Horses for courses, but too far and too competitive for me for this time of year . Ok for those that want to, but there is a danger that newbies get injured or push themselves too hard to keep up and then don't make the start line.. Things change but when I read the training report I was surprised that people were stating where they finished. You, me, John Kennedy, Mark and his mate all ran last year from R'dennon to Beinglas. I was very slow, and you guys left me at the turn and made your way back quite a bit quicker than me. Did you beat me ? Yes sure if it comes down to it. But did we all have a great run and enjoy a cracking late winters arvo on Loch Lomond. Was it a great training run - absolutely !! - Cheers KH

Tim said...

I have to hold up my hand and admit that I'm hopeless at resisting temptation and get drawn into racing when I should be training. I think every runner has the tendancy to a greater or lesser degree. Smart runners no when to resist it though.

As you say, this is the time to watch out for injuries and I'm very conscious of the risks to pushing too hard too early. The WHW is a good way off yet but already I feel like I'm peaking.

Had a great run today but this is probably a good time for me to rest a bit and consolidate my gains.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian Congratulations on your 2nd win in the JK series.
Agree totally with your "racing" comments & hope everyone is listening & does not get injured.

Pity about not having a sad photo!

Brian Mc said...

One problem with ultra training injuries is that they might not appear for a few months, leaving too little time to recover, so I'd second the note of caution, but more to do with not overdoing distance than speed.

Debbie Martin-Consani said...

Some good pics from Nationals online