Saturday, 21 January 2012

Another 3 half marathons to add to the tally, but now it is time to get really serious

I have another 3 half marathon distance training runs to add to my training log, from when I was in the UK a few days back.  The first was around Bracknell forest, with my friend Pritesh accompanying me on his bike.  That was pretty nice as there were plenty of trails to run on and lots of squelchy mud and soft pine needles.  The second was along the banks of the river Wye in Monmouth to the Biblins bridge and back, as night was beginning to fall.  On the return leg from the Biblins bridge I was rushing to get back while there was still enough light to see where I was treading, as there are no street lights along that part of the river.  It helped to spur me on when I saw an eight person rowing boat and decided to try and race it back to Monmouth.  In the end the boat won but I blame that on the large numbers of gates and stiles that held up my progress.  It was fun to run in the woods as night was falling, although a little eery too.  Then the final one is around the Streatham area of London, near to where my sister lives.  That involved doing a couple of big loops of Tooting Bec common and a few side excursions on top.  Some was pavement but a lot of the route was on muddy paths, yum yum.  It takes me around 2 hours and 5 minutes to run a nice easy half marathon, keeping my heart rate nice and low.

Now though it is time to get REALLY serious.  My plan is to do five 20 mile runs within the space of one week.  I will have to listen to my body really carefully and take note if it feels like too much, but if I can do it then I will.  The idea would be two 20 mile runs then a rest day then two more 20 mile runs then a rest day, and then a final 20 mile run followed by a rest day.

Oh yes and I will also be starting hot yoga next week too.  I find the idea of doing yoga in a pair of swimming trunks rather strange, but I will just have to wait and see how it feels when I get there.

The final part of my plan next week is to start buying more and more kit for the MDS.  I have got on well with my PT03 winter shoes from UK gear, so I think I will go ahead and order the PT03 desert shoes.  I just need to decide what size I want to order them in, as whilst my usual size is 42, you are meant to order them bigger for the MDS as your feet swell a lot in the heat.  If anyone can offer me advise on this last subject I would be grateful (Sarah-Jayne perhaps).


  1. hey Paul, you sound like you are really following a great training plan. Quick question, are you running with your rucksack already?

    As for the shoes, in 2010, i feel i made a mistake in that i went over 2 sizes bigger and used road shoes. Most of my blisters came from day one and two when my feet were slopping around, as there was too much room.

    2011 i took trail shoes and 1.5 sizes bigger (European size not Uk) so my usual 37 i took a 38.5. I still think i may have been able to get away with a 38. The most important thing is to get the right balance of electrolytes, because that is what is making your fingers and feet swell if you get it wrong. Also, you will be going quicker than me, so your feet will have more recovery time at the end of each day.

    One VERY important thing, you really need to train to walk in your shoes. I know you think you won't walk at all, but you will have to walk at some point. This is one of the biggest problems for the really fit quick guys, if they haven't got their feet/skin used to walking in their shoes (and also for the muscles) you can get into real trouble.

    I am so excited for you, you are really in a great position to get a good time. But remember, it is not about the time or where you finish, the MDS is all about the journey.


  2. Hi SJ. Thanks for all that cool advice. I am planning to go with PT03 desert shoes designed by UK gear after working closely with the British army. In light of your advice, and the same thing has been said on other MDS forums, I think I will go for only 1 or 1.5 european sizes larger than my normal size.

    I was running with my rucksack last year but now that I am upping the mileage so quickly I am worried about injuring myself. After reading your advice about training to walk as well, what I may do is a once a week walk/run with my rucksack on. I have also been working on my upper body strength by doing pressups each day and going to the gym once a week. My Pilates lessons also start again next week so that will strengthen my core.

    I have managed to get my weight down now to 73kg, so that is a good 7kg lighter than I was when I did the Zurich marathon last April. Hopefully my body can remember what it was like to run at around 80kg as when I am wearing my pack I will be just over that.

    I am not that quick at the moment but I am building great endurance. My aim will be to run as much as possible, but not necessarily to run quickly. I am sure like you said though that I will also be walking too. Especially on the sand dunes as I know that will really sap my strength quickly.

    What did you do about the heat acclimatisation? I am hoping hot yoga will help a bit. What do you think?

    By the way I saw you are now entered into another cool crazy endurance event - best of luck to you in that.