Since Duncan and I decided to enter the elite class I've been fouling my little lycra leggings. We're gonna be rocking with the big boys so I thought that I should at least try to train properly. From my experience, success in mountain marathons is based on three things: route-choice/navigation, tactics (when to push, when to slow, what kit to use) and hill fitness. The first two of these come from race experience, practice and a logical approach. The latter comes from lots of hard work, and it's this that I'm concentrating on. Fortunately I've got an OK base-level of fitness to start from so I've simply been stepping up my running (frequency, distance and speed). Working a 9-5 week, I've attempted to split training into longer hill runs on weekends and shorter runs in evenings, balanced with regular bouldering and climbing sessions on nights off and one or two rest days. The plan is to keep increasing the workload until a few weeks before the race, when I'll start to taper it down and rest.
My longer runs have been:
- Glen More - Loch Avon - Beinn Meadhion - Bynack Mor - Glen More: 27km, a bit over 4hrs
- Glen More - Ryvoan Bothy - Strath Nethy - Coire Raibert - Cairn Lochan - Coire Cas - Glen More: 24km, 4hrs.
- Sugar Bowl car park - Larigh Ghru - Derry Lodge - Coire Etchecan - Loch Avon - Coire Cas - Sugar Bowl: 37km, 4hrs45.
- Loch an Eilein - Glen Einich - Sgoran Dubh Mor - Allt a Mharcaidh - Loch Gamhna - Loch an Eilein: 21km, 2hrs40.
- Forest Lodge - Meall a Buachaille - Forest Lodge: 13km, 1hr30.
Shorter week-night runs have generally been around Aviemore, up Craigellachie, round Loch Morlich or Loch an Eilein, the Challamain Gap or Burnside circuits. I've also started adding faster runs to the mix, either doing intervals of hill sprints on Burnside (sprint uphill 30 secs, walk back downhill for 45 secs, repeat to the top of the hill) or fast rounds of Loch an Eilein (5 km, P.B: 19mins51). So far, so good.
The next step is doing the Pentland Skyline Race just outside Edinburgh this weekend, then I'll try to speed up round Loch an Eilein in the week, then a small run on the weekend, followed by a week of pasta, resting and quaking in my boots.