The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 3

The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 3

Hi, I’m Millie and I’m going to try to run an ultramarathon. The ultramarathon diaries follow my journey from a sometimes runner to an ultra-athlete (just kidding) over a year and a bit – join me won’t you?

Last week my trainers fell apart and I fried in the sun. This week has been a lot cooler and I’ve got myself some new kicks so, all in all, it’s been a good few days. Plus I ran my longest distance so I’m feeling a tad proud.

The Trainer Saga: Newbies

To be honest I’ve been tempted to buy new running shoes before my old ones fell apart anyway. There are so many to choose from and they’re all so colourful and complicated – so they must be good, right?

Every so often an email drops into my inbox from Vitality hinting that my life will be complete if I only go and buy some new trainers. Hat’s off to Vitality, we took out a life assurance policy with them that works on a reward basis – the more you work out and stay healthy, the cheaper your premiums are and the bigger discounts you get.

Part of their reward scheme is 50% off trainers from Runners Need. You have to use the code instore rather than buying online but it was worth the visit.

For anyone who’s not heard of Runners Need (I hadn’t before I started running …) they’re part of the A S Adventure group that includes Cotswold Outdoor and Snow & Rock. They carry big brands like Nike and specialist running gear like fell running shoes from Salomon. But the best thing about them is their staff. Sometimes in the outdoors world buying new kit can be a little daunting, there’s more or less gear for every known eventuality in the outdoors, so where do you start!? Well at Runners Need, they’ve got your back.

Brooks running ghost 11 trainers

As an inexperienced long distance runner I wasn’t really sure what I needed. I’d be running on pavements during the week and trails at the weekend. I wouldn’t be going off-track in the upper fells and I’m not too keen on running in bogs or on loose ground.

I figured all of this out after a little interview about my running style with a friendly guy called Matt. Before you get to try on any shoes, the Runners Need team try to find out as much as possible about what you want to achieve with your new trainers. For customer service, this is top – because no one wants trainers that are going to hurt and stop them getting their PB.

I tried 5 pairs on, walked around in them, went on a gradient and ran on a tread mill. We changed sizes by halves on many, went from men’s shoes to women’s and looked a lot at grip. After about 40 minutes I found a pair of Brooks running shoes, Ghost 11s to be specific. They’re Men’s because I needed a longer size 8 (who knew that mens and womens sizes weren’t the same length?!). And they’re a flourescent blue and yellow colour.

And they are super comfy.

Castleton to Bakewell via Limestone Way and Monsal Trail

Training This Week

I didn’t want to head off for a long distance run in my new Brooks straight away so I did three shorter morning intro runs this week. One up onto the edges around Buxton and through woodland and two around the park and the cricket pitch. They’re comfy, a bit like running on a tiny pillow. It’s a bit odd to not feel every bump in the trail where the cushioning has worn flat but it’s quite nice.

The forecast had given it clear for Saturday, so I wanted to do a longer run in the morning. I ended up doing 16 miles from Castleton to Bakewell along the Limestone Way and the Monsal Trail.

Running through cloud inversion in winnats pass

My average mile time was 14.36 p/m which I’m pretty chuffed with. I stopped to take a lot of photos of the cloud conversion and walked up Cave Dale because the wet, the gradient and unsteady foothold made it almost impossible to move quickly. I also stopped for a 30 minute break at my parents’ house for snacks (paused my watch for that though) and picked up time on the slightly monotonous Monsal trail. It’s slightly downhill from Millers Dale to Bakewell on the trail and the surface is smooth which was a relief but I felt the impact more on my legs.

I’ve realised that I’m going to have to devise more circular routes started and finishing at home because getting lifts back is going to be tricky. I quite like the idea of running some of the long distance trails around the Peak District like the Limestone Way, The Derwent Valley Heritage Way, The Dane Valley Way and the Peak District Boundary Path. Has anyone walked these or run them before?

My total miles this week was up to 25 this week, a personal best for me!

Thanks for reading this edit of the Ultramarathon Diaries! Check out week 4 here. You can follow my progress on my insta page millie.ferns

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