The Hoka Highland Fling: Training week one

Originally posted on Runner’s World

Can an average runner take on 53-miles in the Scottish highlands? Our Online News Ed Rhalou starts the first week of her training.

West Highland Way

Week one of my official training for the Hoka Highland Fling and admittedly I didn’t fling myself into my running with wild abandon. Having completed a marathon in November, I was hoping I’d maintain the momentum from my training and segue comfortably into ultra miles, but sadly it’s never that simple. After pounding 26.2 miles of pavement in Istanbul, my glutes decided to stage a mini protest and demand a couple of weeks rest. I then cut my mileage down significantly over the Christmas holidays in favour of cheese and wine, and so I entered week one of my 53-mile schedule feeling slightly unprepared.

My training plan called for 35 minutes easy running, a 6-8 miler, a 60-minute run and then an 8 miler at the weekend, which sounds easy enough. I managed the 35 easy minutes without a hitch, but during my midweek run my entire right leg started to ache after just four miles, which knocked my confidence. With 53 miles on the horizon this was not a good start, so I called upon the experts for a bit of a leg up.

A seasoned triathlete, marathoner and level 2 BTA coach, Chris from Bodylab sounded like the perfect sports massage therapist to help with my weary legs. He incorporates different techniques including trigger point massage and examining the way the body moves. With his experience and enthusiasm for extreme sports, Chris instantly put my mind at ease.

After an examination and thorough rub down I was relieved to learn that there was no good reason why I shouldn’t fling myself head first into ultra training. Chris taught me a couple of glute strengthening exercises and sent me on my merry way feeling considerably more confident about the task ahead. Like most runners, I tend to seek help when I’m injured rather than as a regular MOT, so as part of my training I’m aiming to get regularly massaged so I stay in good enough shape to conquer 53 miles.

A couple of days later I hit the park with my friend Ruth with renewed enthusiasm. My legs felt fine and even when it started to bucket it down I was unperturbed and kept on running. What’s a bit of rain when you’re planning to run an ultra over the West Highland Way in Scotland? Now all I need to do is increase the miles and replicate those hills. Route suggestions gratefully received, tweet me @Rhalou.



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