With all of the ultra distance events I have planned for the year, I really need to be putting the miles (and hills) in and I have been doing exactly that for some time now, with almost 2,400 miles of running and 82 miles of ascent/descent last year. I'm looking to carry straight on and do more of the same this year. I run at least once every day, occasionally twice, and in the week I have to fit my runs in with working (godammit!). An added complication is that I work in (fricking) Leeds, 42 miles from home, which usually means getting up at 5:30 am, leaving for work at 6:30 am and not getting home until 6:15 ish in the evening. Then, pretty much as soon as I’m home, I quickly chuck on my running togs and I’m off and out of the door with Harry heading for the local hills, obviously armed with my trusty headtorch at this time of year. I always look to run off road and never, ever run on tarmac if I can help it.
Its a bit of a generalisation but I try and put in around 20 miles of running during the working week and then tack on longer runs at the weekend, aiming to average somewhere between 40 and 50 miles pw overall. Average climb is important too and, gauging things by last year when I put in 435,000 feet of climb overall (the 82 miles mentioned above), that works out at getting on for 8,400 feet of ascent/descent each week. This week for example I have run 9 miles up and over Whernside on Monday (in driving rain and hill fog), 3 miles over Loughrigg in the Lakes on Tuesday, 4.5 miles in the local hills (and hill fog) on Wednesday night, 3 miles last night (in even foggier fog) and another 3 tonight, making 22.5 this week so far with a total climb of almost 4,400 feet.
It has to be said all of this hill fog running, especially after dark, has been especially good training as it makes moving over the ground and navigation that much more tricky, even on the local hills here in Settle which I know like the back of my hand. Its also surprising just how much the fog slows you down after dark, largely because its hard to see anything beyond the small cone of light from your head torch aimed where you're next plonking your feet; and thats before factoring in any difficulties of pointing yourself in the right direction and not losing the way. In a nutshell bad weather and making sure I cope with it is what all of my big events this year are about really - the actual running should be the easy bit!
Anyway here's my most common view for much of my evening head torch running this week....