Wednesday, 20 May 2015

One step at a time

The UTMB is now only 15 weeks away and I cannot wait for that. Having said that, there are 15 weeks of intense training ahead and I already feel a bit stressed. 

Training for an ultra is pretty much like running an ultra, both mentally and physically. During an ultramarathon, there are moments - better said "hours" - that you enjoy running. You move forward effortlessly. There are also hours of struggling and pain. There are moments that you seriously question if you can go on, you wonder if you can climb the hill in front of you, sometimes you just thinking of how to take the next step. 
“I always start these events with very lofty goals, like I’m going to do something special.And after a point of body deterioration, the goals get evaluated down to basically where I am now – where the best I can hope for is to avoid throwing up on my shoes.” – Nuclear Engineer and ultrarunner, Ephraim Romesberg, 65 miles into the Badwater Ultramarathon
When you are training for such an event, you have to get out six or seven days a week and run. If there are times that you cannot move forward due to fatigue or an injury, if  you miss a couple of training sessions because of your busy schedule, you probably feel stressed. Then you need to think about the race. You won't run a 100 Miler easily, there are for sure moments of pain and fatigue. You have to be prepared for the physical and mental torture.Everyone has good or bad days. Learn to push yourself as hard as you can on your good days, and to embrace the failure when bad days come.

I've got a couple of long runs planned for this weekend. The first proper back-to-back long runs of the season. Hopefully I'd cover 50km and 3000 meters of elevation. 15 weeks to the UTMB and 8 weeks to the Eiger! There are loads of training to do.

I'll post a weekly update on my training from now on. Take care and stay tuned.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

UTMB, 19 weeks to go

My training for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc started three weeks ago. The first few weeks of any training plan has always been quite hard. This one was no exception. I started my training on 21 March which is the first day of the year in Iranian calendar. Twisted my left ankle on the second day but with a short rest I recovered quite fast and could manage to cover 140 km in my first two weeks. I also had another problem on my right foot. It is called Bunionette, and that is when the end of the toe got swollen and it can cause pain in different shoes. I visited a doctor and figured out that the only effective cure is an operation that requires a few weeks of recovery. But hopefully I can keep on training and leave that for after the big race.

So I had an easy week of training and now I'm ready to get back into my training plan. I would rather increase the weekly mileage slowly than risking overtraining and injury. I'll keep you informed about my training every week. You can also check my training log using the link provided on "About / Contact" tab. Please let me know your opinion about my training. Any advice is appreciated.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc training

2015 is going to be an exciting year. I was successful in the UTMB draw and will be heading to Chamonix in August.

UTMB is definitely one of the most amazing ultras in the world. 170 km of trails and 10000 metres of elevation gain demands loads of training. It is far more difficult than what I've done in the past. I am now trying to set a training plan. The race is six months away but it's never to early to start training. There are a couple of races which I want to run in preparation for the big one. Eiger Ultra Trail in July and Swissalpine K78. Eiger is going to be my main training race and I'd try to run it faster than last year. I have also got a couple of long routes to train on.

If you have ever run the UTMB or any similar races, please let me hear about your experience. I'd appreciate any training advice. I'd try to post my weekly training here so you can track my progress. Also you can have a look at my movescount page.

Stay tuned

Friday, 5 December 2014

Lessons learned from the first DNF

Last October I tried to run the Cappadocia Ultra Trail and it turned out to be the first race that I didn't reach the finish line. 

There were a few reasons behind that and a few lessons to be learned.

Give your body proper rest after a (or a couple of) big races. I ran the Eiger Ultra Trail E101 in July and the Swiss Irontrail T81 in August. Looking at my training diary there is a significant difference between the amount of training I had prior to the Eiger (April, May, June) and before the Cappadocia Ultra Trail (September, October). During summer I had a massive goal of getting all qualification point for UTMB and I trained so hard for it. In late August just after the Irontrail, I was quite week and need a good recovery. I didn't run for a few weeks. Then I start training only a few weeks before the race. But the amount of effort I made was nowhere near what I should have. I should have respected my body more and gave it a good rest. 
Never Underestimate a race. After this DNF, I'd never underestimate a race again. 110 km is not a short distance to be underestimated. What made me thinking it was easy, was the elevation profile. Although it was 9 km longer than the Eiger, the elevation change was almost half of that. So I thought it won't be a problem finishing this race -- and it wouldn't been so if I trained well. There were no massive ascent comparing to the Eiger, but there were  some technical parts with no path and you had to climb the mountains. 
Know where you are racing, get as much information as possible There were also some problems with the course marking and because it was a small race, you could easily get lost. In terms of support it was not quite efficient either. In my previous ultras, there were medical tent next to food stations and there were some volunteers along the way, especially during night to make sure you pass different areas safely. The organizers made a good effort during the Cappadocia Ultra Trail, but given that it was its first year running some issues seems to be inevitable. I might have finished the race and pushed myself further if I was sure about the support along the way. 
DNF hurts. When it happens, do try to accept it. So if you find yourself in a situation that going on might cause severe damage to your health and keep you away from training for a while, it's better to give up and come back stronger next time. It does hurt a lot. It's more difficult to convince yourself to give up than dragging yourself to the finish line. My left ankle hurt a lot after 41 km and I eventually gave up at 77 km when it got worse and I also experiences hypothermia. I could probably endure the pain for the rest of the race, but it could weaken my ligaments badly and I did not want to be away from running for months. As runners we tend to  live outside our comfort zone, but we should know how much is to much.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Runner's World article on 2-hour marathon

This is definitely worth reading. Runner's World article on the possibility of running a marathon under two hours. It says a lot about the course, temperature, age, height and the other important factors.

That reminds me of  The Perfection Point by John Brenkus (Check out the Reading list page). He predicts that the fastest time anyone can ever run a marathon is just under two hours.