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 :)