Last Sunday saw me run from Castleside to the 1750 ft summit 6 miles south of Stanhope on the B6278. The picture to the right was taken at the 9 mile point on the run. The road in the foreground takes you to Crawleyside Bank and into Stanhope. If you look carefully, you'll be able to make out the road out of Stanhope. Further in the distance to the left is the summit.
I spent almost the entire 03:21:53 of this run questioning my training schedule and tactics. At least it made the time go quicker! I was cursing the fact that I had put in a couple of PB's last week and the effect of these was possibly evident as I climbed up to the summit. I think the real reason for the difficulty of this run was not the quick runs during the week. It wasn't the fact that I'd already ran 53 miles or that this course has 1453 ft of climbs and 1371 ft of descents. No, I think it was down to the strength of the relentless head wind. Apart from 10 minutes shelter in Stanhope I suffered a right old battering from the wind. This made an already difficult run even more so! The extra effort needed just to keep the pace at a reasonable level was considerably more than I'm used to at this distance.
I couldn't help thinking that it was a pity that I had saved the most difficult run until the end of the week when I had already run over 50 miles. I was far from fresh! Mind you, it won't do me any harm to tackle such a course as this with tired legs. Indeed, one of the principals of my training schedule is learning to run with little rest or recovery. Given that I work full time and have school run duties, I don't think I'll get the chance to do a course like this during the week when I'm not as tired. It would be nice to have that option once in a while. So guess what! I'm going to tweak my training schedule ever so slightly to give me the option of doing a longer run with fresh legs on a weekend. To allow me to do this, my training week will now start on a Sunday! The first one being this Sunday!
Next week's running target is 80 miles. I'm taking it easy this week with a few Spinning classes in the gym and some short runs just to keep me ticking over. It's hard to believe that I've now been training for 6 months. Where has the time gone? There are 24 months of training left and a few thousand miles to run before I set off across the USA. Here's to the next 6 months. May they be as injury free as the first 6!