|28th May||Rest Day|
|29th May||Rest Day|
|30th May||Rest Day|
|31st May||Rest Day|
|2nd Jun||Rest Day|
|TOTAL||650.36||1046.61||5 days 03:06:13||14,521||14,479||70,984|
It was my wife's birthday last weekend so we went over to Manchester to take advantage of the bank holiday Monday, with the added bonus that Hans Zimmer (her favourite composer) brought his 2016 tour to the Arena.
While I do like quite a lot of his movie soundtracks I wasn't quite sure how they would come across in a live performance, and I have to say they were amazing!
There were a couple of scores I didn't know, for example one of his early ones from 'Driving Miss Daisy' (Morgan Freeman/Jessica Tandy), and there were a couple I knew but didn't realise were his.
The highlights for me were "Now We Are Free" (Gladiator), "Chevaliers de Sangreal" (The Da Vinci Code", "The Dark Knight Rises" (Batman) and "The Electro Suite" (Spiderman).
His final encore was of course "Time" (Inception) which was absolutely amazing.
With being away for the weekend I got out for a 'Half Marathon' on the Friday night. One of my regular Baldwin loops is 11 miles and is easy to extend to 13.1 by walking alongside the reservoir pretty much up to the bottom of the (very) steep climb (takes you to Druidale) and back again.
It's quite a hilly route so was very pleased to average 11:35 pace while staying in Zone 2.
Even though I have put 28th/29th/30th as rest days they were far from it! According to my iPhone I clocked up just under 9 miles walking around the shops on Saturday, and another 7 on Sunday! I was exhausted after the first 10 minutes on Saturday! I think it's the slow pace and standing around that makes it so tough. If I could just keep walking I would be fine.
The 11 miles I did on Wednesday were some of the hardest I have done for a very long time. With the roads being closed for TT practices I decided to walk down from Onchan towards Port Jack and then I completed 3 loops of the Onchan coast road, Groudle Road and back down again (past where Molly's Tavern used to be).
Each loop is 2.7 miles. Even though the sun was shining it was still a very windy evening which made the coast road hard going. I knew the route was hilly but was surprised to see the elevation of 414 metres when I got back, which is one of the highest of all my training walks so far.
I was determined to keep this a slower Zone 1 pace, which I did, so I was really surprised I struggled so much. My legs were burning, shins were painful, hamstrings tight, quads heavy etc.
When I finished I honestly thought if I felt like this on Parish day I'd be lucky to make it to Rushen before throwing the towel in.
I'm putting that one down to spending most of the long weekend on my feet standing/walking around the shops, plus the almost constant headwind. Funny how you rarely get a tailwind....
So we are now into the final 2 weeks before the big day. By now you should have tested out pretty much everything. Clothes (all conditions), trainers (worn in but not worn out), food and drink etc.
The most important thing is not to try anything new on the day.
If you have encountered any 'hot spots' while training, such as areas prone to chafing or blisters, then you should be thinking about how you can avoid them, and ideally you should have tried all of those methods in training.
Prevention right from the off is definitely the way to go, BUT you have to try the prevention methods in training. The last thing you want to happen on the day is to find out that the strategically placed blister plaster, vaseline application, tape etc causes the problem to get worse.
Everyone is different and what one person suffers from regularly another person may have never encountered (even blisters!) so you need to find what works for you. Here are the main things that I do:
- Compression shorts to prevent chafing and also help support the glutes, hamstrings and quads.
My preferred brand are "Time to run" (£10.99 on Amazon). I have tried the more expensive Skins and didn't really find much difference.
- Nipple plasters. I just use standard plasters but secure them with zinc oxide tape to ensure they don't come off. If you are brave you could just apply the oxide tape directly! One advantage of direct application is it will take your mind of your aching feet for a few seconds when you come to rip them off later....
- Vaseline. Reapplied every few hours (more frequently in the heat), ideally before the chafing even starts. I only use this on the longer events/training sessions, say anything over 4 or 5 hours.
I'll leave it for you to figure out where it gets applied..... for now I'll just say don't ask to borrow mine......
Oh, again only in the very long sessions, I will apply some vaseline to my feet before I pop my trainers on, especially all around my toes.
- Blister plasters. I apply 3 to each foot, but only on the very long races such as end to end, Parish walk, 100 miles. I'm usually okay on anything up to about 50k.
1 plaster goes on my heel to prevent the back of the trainer rubbing, however for the past few years I have been using lighter trainers such as the Saucony Fasttwitch which barely touches my heel so I'm pretty sure I could get away without this one. However.... prevention is better than cure.
The other 2 plasters are on front balls of my feet. The 'big toe' side wraps around the side of my foot to give some extra protection from the side of the trainer rubbing. The 'little toe' side is flat across the ball.
My top tip for applying these blister plasters is to do it the night before. Apart from the fact you don't want to be stressing about them in the morning, I find that in the morning they are pretty much welded to my feet and have minimal chance of working loose once I start walking.
It's probably worth wearing a pair of thin socks overnight though just to prevent the plasters catching on the duvet etc and coming loose.
- Taping feet. I find wrapping some zinc oxide tape around my big toe and little toe help prevent the outside edges rubbing against the trainers, especially the big toe as your feet start to swell after a few hours. I sometimes apply half a blister plaster on the outside of my big toe and then tape over the top to secure it as this gives me an extra layer of protection.
Again do this the night before, and protect them by wearing a pair of thin socks.
- Hilly twin skin socks. They don't work for everyone, but they are my 'go to' sock of choice.
As with trainers you need to make sure these are worn in but not worn out. After a while of constant use and washing/drying they can start to feel a little 'rough'.
If you feel the inside of a brand new pair they are really smooth and even cool to the touch so I will always start the very long races with an 'almost' brand new pair, i.e. worn 3 or 4 times.
So just to recap on the feet. The night before I will apply the 3 blister plasters and tape my big and little toes, then protect them with thin socks overnight.
Next morning I will apply vaseline around my toes (all over the top of the zinc oxide plasters ( I use the really thick and very sticky fabric ones, not the thin type you can buy in town)), and then finally I will slip on an 'almost' new pair of hilly twin skins.
Oh... don't forget to cut your toe nails before hand! I tend to do this 3 or 4 days before race day, ensuring I cut them as close as I possibly can.
Don't forget to bring spares too! Even if a particular T-Shirt is not giving you any problems it can just be nice to put a fresh one on, especially if it's been a hot day.
It's better to pack too much into your support car than not enough.
Ah.... I just remembered one more important item of gear you should have tested by now. If you are planning on walking into the night then make sure you have a good head torch and also a light source that is clearly visible from the rear, and any other reflective/flashing bits and pieces you feel necessary.
Training really should be winding down now, but not stopping completely. Just make sure you stay extra safe over TT week and avoid roads with no pavements as much as possible, which isn't that easy unless you like walking around town centres.
In my next blog post I will write a little about the food and drink that I use.
And don't forget, the second part of my challenge is to try and raise £2,016 for Finley's Tracks and all donations are welcome here. A big thank you to everyone who has already sponsored me online or offline, and to those who have pledged to donate later.