How its going: October 2023

I sound old. I can’t believe it’s November already. It goes so fast and yet so slow, kinda like running an ultramarathon really!

According to my Garmin, October has been my biggest running milage month of the year so far with 330 km run. That’s even with the extra rest day I took yesterday (the 31st) because my quads are still tender to touch from Rollercoaster on the weekend.

In the past 10 years, I’ve only hit that sort of distance once before, Just 2022, with 340k.

It felt like a pretty solid training block. Nothing fancy though, I have just been adding on a little bit to each run to bring up the total distance. Slowly taking out the run/walk intervals or making them longer to make sure I don’t do any damage (I’m still a bit worried about this hip/knee/bum issue that has been plaguing me all year).

I’m still not doing hill workouts or speed work, just easy stuff, long runs and the occasional tempo type run.

My strength training has been pretty consistent, with a session with weights at home at least once a week, and a few post run mountain leg sessions as well. Not as much as I would like, but better than nothing or so I keep telling myself.

I still haven’t worked out why my bum doesn’t seem to be helping me get up hills so at the recommendation of my coach (whose plan I rarely follow) and friend, Ali, I might try some pilates type things to see if I can make it fire as it’s meant to.

I started and finished the month with a few big work days that added some unplanned rest days, but I have learnt that it isn’t worth adding in a 5k on those days just to make myself feel like I did something. I think it ultimately does more harm that good.

There was also a week off work in the middle which allowed me to get in a decent amount of running as well as a decent amount of rest. I ticked all those annoying boxes that I can’t do during a work week like get my eyebrows done and my car serviced. My usual car service run home added a nice 20k mid week long run to that week which always makes me feel like I was extra productive.

Once a month or about every 6 weeks on my training plan there is usually a Super Sunday long run which I love to do a race for. It’s usually a 4-6 hour effort depending on the race you are training for so a trail marathon or 50k is a great way to get that in, as long as you remember that it’s a training run and not a race so you don’t cook yourself and wreck the next weeks training.

Rollercoaster 46k was a great event for that. It gave me a chance to practice all my race day things for my next big race whist epically hazing my quads and calves! (race report here)

A lot of September was about recovering from the effort and success of Surf Coast Century. I was proud that I listened to my body and didn’t push it by getting back to running too soon but I think I’ve given it enough and it’s time for me to get back into more consistent workouts and focus on the little things like mobility and strength work a bit more.

The biggest lesson I’ve learnt this month is not get caught up in the running of it all and make sure you look after your body as a whole. Just adding in a little bit of strength and making sure you get that post run protein shake has made a big difference this month.

I think the thing I’m most proud of this month is letting go of the ego of it all, especially with using run/walking and strength work. It’s so easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing, especially if you are like me and consume an insane amount of trail and ultra running podcasts who only talk to elite athletes who seem to put in an insane amount of running, both distance and vertical gain. It’s like we are having a retro moment and bringing back the overtraining of the 2010’s. It’s easy to get into the trap but I have to remind myself sometimes that I am not a professional athlete, not even remotely close. I have a stressful, full time, shift work job with a 3 hour daily commute. It’s not fair to compare and I wouldn’t compare my running pals to the elites, so I shouldn’t compare myself either.

This November is the last build month before Ultra Trail Kosciousko in December. I’m going back to complete the course I originally set out to do last year before the unseasonable snow got in the way. I’d love to turn around and protest and boycott UTMB after the stunt they pulled this month but unfortunately I’ve already paid and already committed to this years event. If I pulled out in protest the only one that would loose is me because they still get my entry fee and I would forfeit my accomodation (for me and my dogs at daycare) and entry fee. I look forward to boycotting them in the future though if they don’t improve their practices. Since I’ve started on this train, my two cents, growth and improvement is good, being a bully is not. There is a right and a wrong way to conduct yourself in this space and I don’t believe UTMB is doing it the right way.

Anyways, what are you the most proud of this month? Just surviving, hitting that goal, maybe having that breakthrough moment? Comment below!

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