Stuart McClelland – March Update

Until last week training had been almost boringly plain sailing since my last update. I still haven’t run any races this year but training was ticking along nicely in a familiar pattern. No injuries and no drama.

Last week I had planned a lower mileage midweek just to let my body recover a bit before a final push towards my spring racing goals. I had a bit of a cold so this was welcome and ended up being a near zero mileage midweek. Saturdays plan was to go and recce the most technical section of the Highland Fling route and, despite still not feeling great, I travelled through early morning and hit the trail. It was, to put it bluntly, a disaster. I was very quickly aware I was struggling and by 9 miles I was very fatigued. This is a tough route with a lot of ascent and descent, single track trail and gruelling clambering over boulders but my tiredness far exceeded my effort.

My plan had been to run 13.5 miles out and then retrace my steps for a total of 27 miles but at the 9 mile mark I about turned and ran (and when I say ran, I mean staggered) back. For the next 3 days I was floored and didn’t run a single step. My confidence was totally shaken and that annoying voice at the back of my mind started nagging away that I was behind where I should be. Thankfully as I started to feel better I was able to get a couple of decent, and quick, runs under my belt and get back on track. I suppose if there is a lesson there it is to listen to your body and take a day off if you need to.

Overall though training has been good. I’m feeling in good shape, my running has generally been strong and I am getting good miles under my belt whilst mixing things up with regards to pace, terrain and distance. It’s inescapable that my busy spring is almost here and the John Muir Way ultra is now only 3 weeks away. This is relatively short in ultra terms (31 miles) but still represents a real challenge, I am looking forward to it. Following that it is, of course, Kilomathon. The debate in my head is currently whether to race or just to run. It has always been in my head this was part of my training, a good distance for some speed work for longer events etc etc. However we all have a competitive instinct and I’d like to finish as well as I can. It’s inevitable I’ll end up racing.

I’m feeling fit and confident and, as I said above, training has generally been good. This stage of training is always one that sees paranoia about injuries and illness set in. Working out what is real and what is in the head is the tricky part. The last few weeks of training, they are meant to be, but it’s also a measure of how far we have come.
I’ve got a few tough weeks of training ahead and I’m really aiming to push on. My long run will be 25 miles this weekend, a few year ago running close to a marathon in training would have seemed insane to me and I would have believed it impossible. It’s not become any easier to cover that distance, I’ve just got better. That’s the thing to remember in training, it’s all about making you better.

Good luck to everyone in your training and races in the weeks ahead. Kilomathon race day is almost here and that’s something to be excited about.