The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, so said Robert Burns. Now I’m not sure if Mr Burns was a runner. I know that he was a prolific and celebrated writer who coined the above phrase which in short states that you can plan for everything but the unexpected. Over the last week I’ve learnt that, often than not, this statement by Mr Burns is so true!
As you may or may not know I am preparing to run over 1800 miles across Europe. I hope to do this in 30 days and achieve something that nobody else has done previously; at least not with Parkinson’s. However, like the best of intentions, things don’t always go to plan. At the beginning of last week I was seriously on form. Training was going well. In fact, my training is not what you would think that I would be undertaking in view of the incredible run ahead of me. No, for me training is a mixture of swimming, bike and short runs, with a mixture of weight training thrown in for good measure. These sessions would to build me up to a training weekend (this last weekend to be precise) where I would run 80 miles on the Friday, 40 miles on the Saturday and a final 20 miles on the Sunday. A session of back-to-back runs in preparation for what is yet to come.
However, Monday came and with it I fell ill with a virus. This thing knocked me for six and I spent the best part of last week getting over it and getting better. It’s left me feeling slightly like the wind has been knocked out of my sails. But if you know me, that only makes me more determined to make up for lost time and get myself ready. After discussing the issue with my co-runner Dave Clamp (World Deca-Ironman competitor and former team GB triathlete) and other Ultra runners, the thinking now is not about fitness (which I will work on in any event) but more about avoiding injury, staying well, and being rested. As a result, instead of doing massive mileage prior to the race, I’m going to run to work and back three times a week (60 miles in total), bike to work and back twice a week (40 miles in total) and run a 30 mile Trail run on the weekend. I aim to intersperse these sessions with circuit training and swimming, whilst reducing the 30 mile run by 10 miles per week.
So what have I learned? I know understand the value of rest. As they say, it’s the most important part of one’s training. I also have taken on board the realisation that as much as you plan there’s always something that can throw your best plans into disarray. I need to factor this into my mentality when approaching my 1800 mile run. I will do everything in my power to realise my thirty-day target. However, the flexibility in approach that I have utilised to continue my training with only three weeks and five days left until I start the run is something that I need to remember if the timeline steps out; Also, to remain optimistic and positive whilst keeping an open mind will be a must.