My First Ultra

I’ve done it! I’ve just entered my first ultra marathon and I’m so excited. Honestly, I’m like a kid at Christmas and with two young girls in the house and it being nearly Christmas the excitement level in the Gardner household is nearly at squealing level, poor Kev…

My first ultra: Race to the Stones

A couple of days ago I entered the Race to the Stones, and I’ve signed up for the two-day event. As much as I would love to do the 100k all in one option I’m playing the ‘be sensible card’. Race to the Stones is part of a larger plan to do the Comrades Marathon in 2016 so Race to the Stones is as much about learning what I don’t know about ultra running and taking that forward as it is about completing the challenge. It’s important that I don’t bight off more than I can chew especially when it comes to fitting in running around work and family committments. I also worry that jumping straight into a 100k risks picking up an injury and/or not doing myself justice. Completing the ultra isn’t enough: my first goal is to finish Race to the Stones feeling happy and strong.

I know that when it comes to ultras there is no correct way of doing anything: what has worked for one person, won’t work for someone else. But on this journey I have Emily Harrison to guide me so all I really need to do is follow the training plan I’ll be given and pick her brains about nutrition and mindset – if only it was as easy as that. Over the next several months we’ll see how training progresses and will fine tune some time goals I have in mind nearer the time, and it’s a real confidence boost to read Emily’s comment,

“…being more of an endurance monster I expect you will respond very well to the ultra training.”

My main problem at the moment is that my first ultra marathon race is over seven months away in July, and I want to get started on the training now! I think perhaps Emily is going to have to do some work on curbing my enthusiasm and making sure I don’t overtrain.

But back at the current plan, we’re working on my weak areas which is speed over short distances and that’s the way the plan will stay up until Christmas when we’ll start the combined ultra and Greater Manchester Marathon training. I’m hoping to get 3:49:59 or faster at the Greater Manchester Marathon, which would give me, a London Marathon Good For Age place. That means knocking 3 minutes and 42 seconds off my marathon PB, it sometimes seems a big chunk to knock off but I believe it’s achievable.

So that’s two projects for 2015: Race to the Stones #ProjectRttS and Manchester Marathon #Project349. I’m really looking forward to the journey that training for my first ultra will take me on.

This week’s training:

  • Monday: 30 min easy run – not on the plan but testing out some new Adidas Boston Boost running shoes
  • Tuesday: 50 min easy run
  • Wednesday: Nine miles at long run pace
  • Thursday: Intervals
  • Saturday: 30 min easy run by myself and then MK parkrun with Daughter the Second (she got a course PB!)
  • Sunday: 10 mile long run

Until next time…

Kassia Gardner