The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 4

The Ultramarathon Diaries: Week 4

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 an bit – join me won’t you?

Last week was a week of highs, I got my new shoes and I hit a new distance personal best (16 miles whaaaat?!). This week hasn’t really lived up to that and has been pretty hard; it’s basically been a damp squib.

Running Away From Problems

I think that I’m an upbeat person. I’m definitely an optimistic person, the sort of person that verges on the slightly unrealistic in terms of looking ahead and sometimes has to be brought back down to earth.

For me running makes me feel happy because I’m pushing myself and working towards a goal. I started to train for an ultra because I’d finished studying with work and wanted to do something healthy that was going to challenge me. I hadn’t really thought about the impact it was having on my mental health apart from this little niggle that I’d get if I couldn’t get out on a rainy day.

This week it rained. And I felt miserable. I got a very slow and steady 4 miler in after an outdoor swimming session but my legs were heavy from the 16 miler weekend and my heart rate stayed low. And then it rained almost continuously for the next four days. I felt like I had cabin fever from staying inside. We managed to get a bike ride in one night which was a really welcome break. So, I’ve now resolved to buy a running waterproof!

Looking over Goyt Valley from Shining Tor
Looking over Goyt Valley from Shining Tor

I’m also experiencing some problems with my day job. Normally I section this off so it doesn’t impact my home life but after a series of really demoralising events over the past 2 weeks it sort of came spilling over. Often if I have problems at work I’m able to work through them on my run or running makes me feel like there’s a lot more to my life, especially if I can get out in the mornings. But this week it was just too much.

And because I’d not been able to get out to go running I felt like I was off-plan and letting myself down. So I finished the week with a half day off work and a walk around my childhood stomping grounds with my Mum – I mean how great are Mum’s for solving problems?!

Can You Replace A Run With A Hike?

Can you replace a run with a hike ot get miles in!? Yep. I think I can, it’s my training plan and I keep telling myself that I won’t achieve anything by feeling guilty about not going for a jog. I just couldn’t muster the energy to go running in the rain this weekend so swapped in a hike instead and got to try out my new Acai trousers. It was good to go into the hills in the wind and luckily the rain held off. I felt a lot better for just being outside and was quite glad that I hadn’t pushed myself too far by running it. How can you be miserable with views like this over the Peak District?

Errwood Reservoir, Goyt valley
Errwood Reservoir, Goyt Valley

The rain continued into Sunday morning so I hit the gym. I’ve been neglecting the gym in favour of sun-filled runs but my good old weights, stretch, cycling, reading vogue session made me feel strangely comforted and a lot happier. Then I went to eat my weight in pub lasagne and sticky toffee pudding.

Training This Week

I felt like training this week kind of sucked. I did a total of 12 miles at about 22 minutes per mile – because I’m subbing in my hike miles. I also did a wild swim, a slow jog, a 90 minute bike ride and an hour gym session to boot. Next weeks goal: add some miles and take steps to feel less stressed and happier.

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

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