Mini Taper for South Downs 50

Well the past few weeks have raced by and it's only a few days until the start of the South Downs 50 mile ultra. I can't actually believe how quickly time has passed. One minute the dark mornings were still with us and now the clocks have moved forward and the lighter evenings are here again.

It's been a fantastic block of training these past few weeks and as I was wanting to go into the South Downs (SDW50) race feeling strong I started to do a 2 week mini taper last week. I was unsure whether this was a good idea as I normally take 3 weeks of full tapering to account for any illness / colds etc but with the Thames Path 100 miler just over 4 weeks away I  want to test myself see how my fitness fairs and focus on recovery before my A race of the year.

So as the last of my compulsory kit drops through my letterbox I cut back my mileage last week to just 30 miles to hopefully benefit from feeling strong and focused for this Saturday. The last training block has been the most consistent for me since I cannot remember when.

The weeks read as follows 41, 57 (including Winter Tanners 30), 30, 58, 58, 58, 43, 64, 60, 59, 62, 65
Long runs over 15 miles: 30, 16, 16, 17, 17,5, 20, 21, 28 , 19.

In terms of goals for the South Downs race I have the following goals. I am fooling myself into thinking that I can go faster than this and ultimately I need this race as it's a qualifier for the TP100.

Plan A - 8-9 hours
Plan B - 9-10 hours
Plan C - Finish safe and sound

This is my first 50 miler in several years and I am looking to banish all negative thoughts I have about running this long (and longer). It's going to be one hell of a day and intend to maximize the fun factor because after all I am going to be on my feet all day!

The most important 8 weeks ever

As I closed my laptop..the deed was done..I had initiated a dramatic change of direction to my running calendar for 2015. The logic behind this decision some weeks ago..hmm well there is no logical thinking quite frankly behind this.

The damage you may ask? Well..I signed up for a hill trail 50 miler and a 100 mile trail run (mostly flat). WTF had I done. Prior to this questionable decision I was set on only doing a fast marathon this coming May with a local half in late March. This decision was purely made on the basis that I had got an opportunity that I didn't think I would get and couldn't turn down. Well perhaps I could have turned it down but frankly I didn't want to.

So first is the Centurion South Downs 50 mile trail race on April 4th which is fairly hilly with 1750m / 5,700ft of elevation. That in my book where I live is ridiculously hilly :-) James Elson puts on a fantastic race and there are countless positive race reports out there for the Centurion series. I am using this as a qualifier for the 100 miler as I haven't run 50 miles or over since 2011 when I took part in the Thunder Run event. An added bonus is that the 50 mile race has 2 UTMB points associated with it which could be useful if I complete this and the 100 successfully for some other races we all know take place in France / Italy in 2016 :-)

So with that added pressure I won't be looking for the quickest time I can get but to run solidly and come out the other side in good health in order to recover as much as I can before the 100 mile race just 4 weeks later. I am a little concerned about this as I don't think this race will be out of my legs properly before the 100 but I don't have much choice in this matter so bring it on.

Next up is the Centurion Thames Path 100 trail race on May 2nd. This isn't hilly like the South Downs race with only 300m / 900ft or so of elevation so that isn't the attraction but it is a race I have had on my radar for the past 3 years and every time I have decided I am not ready. This thought was ringing in my mind when I entered but I chose to ignore that voice and take a step forward and not look back. Again this race has 3 UTMB points and is a Western States qualifier to boot!

So many times I have backed away from these races suffering from a lack confidence and belief  that I could finish something I started. Quite frankly I let the fear of failing overwhelm me and found excuses to to enable me to withdraw from the opportunities presented. Well I say that I am still scared but I am looking at things with different eyes. This will be an adventure, one that I hope to be telling stories about for the rest of my life to all who are interested and if not then I can live with the thought that I faced my fears and whether I finish what I started I know that I have already won.

Bring on the next 8's all about the journey as there is no finishing line