24 weeks until the Trail of Herts – 55miles

Last year Robert, my brother-in-law, suggest we run a 50mile ultra marathon one day. He’d recently finished a half-marathon so, whilst beleiving it possible, I didn’t really think he was serious until the New Year when he raised the question again.

He also asked that I train him for it, which pretty quickly led me to offering to run it with him.

Which brings us to today and now, exactly 24 weeks until the start of the inaugural Trail of Herts, a 55mile trail run from Berkhamsted to Central London, via most of Hertfordshire.

This will be 30 miles further than I have ever run before, and therefore is not a project to enter into lightly. I will be using this blog to detail my training, thoughts, and things that I learn on the way.

Whilst this is not a normal event or everyday challenge the process and preparation can be applied to any goal.  It is important to fully understand what you are aiming to achive and the difficulties you may face. 

The initial obstacles to overcome are

  1. Fitting in all the training round an already physical job and busy family life
  2. Maintaining the right nutrition and sleep levels to optimise performance
  3. Training at high volumes whilst minimising injury risk
  4. The mental and logistical aspects of the race, what to carry, wear, eat, drink, pace, strategy etc.

This first blog is about the first point!

1.Fitting it all in.

Training successfully for anything be it losing weight or running 55miles, requires a certain degree of preparation and planning. The first step for both Robert and I was to ensure we have full support and buy in from our families and partners. Endurance events can place a huge toll on friends and partners as they are left on their own for hours at a time with the kids, or have to cope with your fatigue following a long run or cycle.

Thankfully my wife is fully aware of the demands these things take as she trained for and completed the London Marathon last year, as well as having completed two Marathon walks. She also knows that I try to to get my training done either when she’s at work and the kids are at school, or before everyone else gets up.

Fail to plan, and you’re planning to fail.

Cliche, but true. Once we knew were doing this event, first stage was to write the training plan. Without a plan you can’t possibly foresee any problems with training or truly appreciate what it is that you need to do. I wrote the plan based on a couple of plans in the excellent

and also using Hal Higdons multiple marathon training plans for the weeks inbetween the two Marathons that were included in the schedule.

Once the plan is written it needs to put into the family calendar so we can quickly identify clashes or problems such as it’s unlikely I will run 24miles in the middle of a trip to Vegas! This gives you the ability to move runs around to fit in with real life rather than having to bin them at the last minute due to poor planning.

25 Week Training Schedule
Training Schedule

This is very much a work in progress, and includes the following.

23rd June – Herts Hobble 26.5miles on trails.
Very much a training run with full kit and using planned run / walk strategy of 5mins run / 1 min walk and walking hills. testing nutrition and hydration plans. Target time 5:30

17th / 18th August – Enigma Marathons
we need to be doing longer back to back runs to prepare for a 55mile run. This is probably too much, but Ive chosen it because it is near us, consists of running 3 mile laps round a lake which will be flat, and have aid stations every 3 miles. Also on day 2 when we struggle we will never be far from the car, and may have to bail out after 10-13miles, still a great achievement the day after a marathon. These will be run walked again with a target time of 5:30

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