Saturday, 5 December 2015

Return to Oz

The next segment of the run around the world will start in just 147 days time. In preparation for the 3400 mile run across Europe from Lisbon to Istanbul I've recently undertaken a few testing training runs. What is to come, however, will provide a really tough test and give me a good indication of how well my training is going and how well prepared I am for next year's epic run through 14 European countries.  

I recently managed to run 5 half marathons in a week. The first was done on my favourite route across 6 of the Tyne Bridges. Support man Carlton kept me company for that one and it presented no problems at all. The next 2 were up in Glencoe Scotland where it absolutely lashed down with rain. The conditions were miserable but, again, no problems were encountered.

The final 2 half marathons were from Aviemore up to the Cairngorm Mountain Railway (pictured below) in freezing conditions. This route was the steepest that I'd ran for a very long time. The scenery was incredible and this really helped the miles pass by quickly. I'm hoping the same will be said in Europe next year.

So on to the next training challenge. I can think of no better or worse place to do this than in Australia. The sheer thought of pounding the roads that caused my feet so much damage in searing temperatures surrounded by thousands of flies fills me with absolute dread. The plan is to travel to Australia just before Christmas and attempt to run 250 miles during the 2.5 weeks that I'm there. It's an unrealistic target of miles but then again so is the 3400 miles in Europe to be run in just 100 days. If I manage to hit that target then the rewards for fitness and confidence will be massive.

Training in Australia will give me an opportunity to test out a number of things. Firstly, the insole that was specially created by Podiatrist Alison Meldrum at The Cradlewell Clinic. I've been wearing it in my right shoe for the last 4 months. It corrects my running style and makes me a neutral runner again following my ankle break in 2010. I'll be testing a larger than usual pair of Brooks Glycerin running shoes. I've gone half a size up which should help with blisters when my feet inevitably swell in the heat and due to the high mileage. Finally, I have various types of socks to try out. Choosing the correct type of socks for the run across Europe is massively important.

So that's how I'll be spending my Christmas and New Year. It's pretty much how I spent that same period back in 2013 when I approached the final stage of the run across Australia. As per usual, I'll be keeping my Facebook page and Twitter and Instagram feeds up to date. So watch this space for details of progress down under. Please take time to watch the video below which is a reminder of how tough my Return to Oz is going to be.