So how did it go? Well, here are the stats:
Week 1 = 57.8 miles
Week 2 = 70.2 miles
Week 3 = 36.6 miles
Week 4 = 72 miles
My total for the entire month = 251.1 miles!
My highest monthly mileage prior to march was 206 miles so I'm really pleased to have smashed right through that barrier. Unfortunately in week 3 I didn't manage to get as many miles as I had originally planned but a major family trauma put paid to that, and also put running into stark perspective. However, my average weekly mileage for the 4 full weeks works out at just over 59 miles so I daresay I met the weekly target in a round-about way.
I'm sure many (most?) ultra-runners reading this will consider these stats as pretty paltry and my 70 mile weeks would be akin to a recovery week for them. But it's all relative to the individual. Some people swear by high mileage, some by lower mileage. For me, I think mileage gives me a mental boost. It makes me feel like my legs are more capable and if you can believe in your legs, then you can believe in yourself as a runner. Unfortunately my output during March is simply not sustainable every single month.
We all try and squeeze in the miles where we can, and the lengths I found myself driven to have just been daft. A normal running week for me involves me running once the kids are in bed of an evening which basically means I can get out running by 7:45 or 8pm, which gives me time for around an hour's run as still have things to do once I get home. If my other half is at a club run then I run on the treadmill with 2 child monitors, on full volume, in front of me. We try and do one club run each per week so that we have the opportunity to run with others. I only do this one evening per week however as I don't like to miss that time with my kids and I always feel bad when I have to miss their bedtime.
A great way to work miles into your day is to do the run-commute. Unfortunately this is out of the question for me as I have 2 kids to drop at nursery and preschool, and then negotiate my way across town in time to get to my work in time (always a challenge as the timings are tight in the morning, and even tighter on the way home!). I did do a test-run whilst I was still on maternity leave but the timing just wasn't practical. Also, there are no showering facilities at my work, and there wouldn't be time to use it even if there was.
I did try a few lunchtime runs in March but they really were the pits! I get exactly 45 minutes for my lunch, and not a minute more. This gave me time to change, run 2.5 to 3 miles, get changed again and get back to work. It was really a ridiculous amount of effort for very few miles. Plus, with there being no shower I had to resort to baby wipes, dry shampoo and excessive amounts of deodourant! Not very eco-friendly and I felt disgusting for the rest of the working day.
I didn't enjoy this option at all so I thought maybe I need another strategy - a pre-work run. Well, back in my pre-child days it was manageable, but my kids already get up at silly o'clock, and their sleeping habits are not early morning running friendly. Sleep is and has been a real problem for us over the past 3.5 years (as I have discussed before). For a few weeks though, we were getting solid sleep between 11pm and 6am! And to take advantage of this I set my alarm for 4:45am to be out the door at 5am to run 5 miles easy, get back home and showered before the kids started stirring at 6am. It was hard going but it really does feel good to get those miles in early (and I am NOT and have NEVER been a morning person!). Unfortunately poor Daniel has been having a very rough time of it so far in 2015 and so his sleep has become, yet again disrupted. He's been so unlucky, my poor wee boy, but he's such a tough wee thing, and his spirit is always shining through. I'm sure things will settle down again in the future, and maybe some where down the line, we will start to get full nights of sleep on a regular basis.
|Milngavie with clubmates|
|There was some weather.|
During March I really tried to increase the length of my long runs too. This meant setting off very early doors so that I could be home before lunchtime. it is important that a long run doesn't take up too much of the day as weekends are not just for running, they are for family time too. With two runners in the family it takes major time management skills to make sure we can fit a run into a family weekend - hence a lot of early doors running when most people are still in their beds on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Twice this month I have also had to be away for a whole day to travel all the way up to the race route, do a recce run with club-mates and get home again. 3am alarms are not for the faint-hearted!!! I feel so guilty being away from my kids on a weekend day and I miss them constantly while I'm away. I suffer from major parenting guilt! But I know that I am doing it so that I can do my best in the race and to teach my kids the importance of hard work and dedication. I want them to be proud of me, and to understand that having a passion for something is a good thing. I'm so dedicated that I even took a day's holiday from work to run what was probably the most unpleasant 31 miler I have run in a very, very long time, just so that I wouldn't have to spend another of our weekend days apart.
So March was pretty bonkers. I was literally running myself into the ground. I had no time for anything beyond work, kids time and running; sacrificing even more sleep than normal (of which I had none to spare). I have been worried that I would burn out so I have been taking some blackcurrent supplements that I saw reviewed in one of the UK running magazine last autumn. They are called CurraNZ and use New Zealand blackcurrants. They are supposed to help you recover faster and therefore make you able to train more. I think they helped as I managed to run all those extra miles and I don't have any injuries beyond what I had to start with.
So I made it through March and now it's time for a constructive taper/peaking period to get myself as ready as I can be for April 25th.