Training for an Ultra – no Substituting Distance

The replacement of my right hip (following Lyme’s disease) in June 2021, has led to a drastic reduction in my weekly running mileage. Yet, I have continued to run ultras (three post op) and set myself the goal of competing in Dragons Back this September. But I had a problem.

13.5 miles per week

Last autumn and winter, my weekly average mileage was only 13.5 miles per week and I knew this would not be enough to complete big events. A piece of advice from my surgeon which has stuck with me was that if I continued running 40-50 miles per week, then I should expect to replace the hip again. Subject of course to a decent life longevity, which I don’t take for granted. Hence the lower weekly mileage.

But I think I have come up with a plan! 

I need a solid training block to prepare for Dragons Back, so I figured if I kept my weekly mileage low for January to March, I could run hard April to the event early September. Then run a reduced weekly mileage until the end of the year, so my overall mileage for the year would be around a very reasonable 1250. Sounds obvious now, and nothing too onerous for the hip hopefully ….

Benefits after 6 weeks

During April I averaged 32 miles per week and the first two weeks of May 35 per week. It will not come as a surprise to you, but my running has improved so much! I started a run-streak 1st April with low mileage morning runs during the week and a long run at the weekends. My resting heart rate has dropped from 55 to 49 and I generally have so much more energy. I stretch regularly and so far, have remained injury free.

Cross training

I have temporarily reduced my rowing (on the WaterRower) whilst I build up muscle strength by wearing a 20kg weight vest whilst I walk our dog. Once I feel my fitness plateauing then I’ll continue with the weight vest and reintroduce the longer rowing sessions, in order to maintain progression.

Crib Goch

I am slowly getting my head around the idea of Crib Goch and will try and get up there over the summer to eliminate any surprises on the event. I have done some hikes around Mont Blanc which I am hoping will provide a good grounding for the view and some of the hairier parts of the route. Remember, always three points of contact 😊

I wish you well with your events this season, happy trail running


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