It could be said that Rossendale was fairly muddy. Yes that is me in the swamp.
A week behind….but hey ho….So last Saturday (03/12/16), i ran the last of the Red Rose Cross Country , completing the full series and my introduction to cross country, completing with by far the hardest of the four races. With the series getting harder with each race, i am thinking the order of the races is intentional….
Learning from the previous three XC races, i set off on a fast start aiming to get as far up the field as I could before we hit any narrow sections which I was sure we would do, based on the other XC races i have done and sure enough we did. After a steep hill climb (see below) we reached several sections, most of which also involved going uphill, that very narrow making it difficult to go past other runners.
None of these people are me.
There were three laps of this mud and hills, but there was one section of open flat grass and it is this section where I worked my hardest, saving myself on the hardest hill climbs as the energy spent there would have resulted in me becoming fatigued later in the race, as I did in my first cross country outing. It was a tactic that worked and despite almost slipping over several times and having to use the odd tree to prevent myself running off course on the woodland hill descents. Rossendale ended up being my best performance of the series, finishing in 33rd place.
This meant that despite finishing in the mid-sixties in my first two races, this finish combined with my 47th place finish in the last race, meant i finished the series in 31st, which isn’t great but given it was my first go at cross country i am quite pleased with myself and a couple of places higher up and i would have broken the top 30.
Rossendale is a tough course, with my people comparing it to a fell race. But it is a great one to do, it’s very challenging but it’s set in a fantastic landscape and completing it is quite rewarding.
Marathon training begins
In other news, last week, i began my marathon training program, which as ever starts with the endurance phase. So far i have completed all but one run, a 10 miler which i dropped as i was feeling exhausted and i decided running it would do more harm than good. As always, i have started training two weeks early to take some of the stress of any potential injuries away and should i manage to go injury free, it will give me the option of tapering for one or two of my practice races.
In terms of what training i am doing, i didn’t manage to build up my mileage enough to move up to the 85+ a week training program as planned. So instead for the third year running, i will be running the 70-85 miles per week training program from the Advanced Marathoning book. Its got me two sub3 mararthons so far, so why not…
In regards to what i will be doing that is new….well last year was the introduction of regular speed work, which took 2 minutes from my PB and this year, i guess will be the test of what difference following the five S’s and introducing at least one off road run a week will make, as well as all the XC races i hope to do. They say that off-road running makes you better runner well…..time to find out.