I said in my UTA 2017 write up that I wasn’t going to even think about doing UTA in 2018. That turned out to be incorrect—I am thinking about it. I haven’t bought an entry and I’m not going to buy an entry before April. But loads of my running friends are doing it, and it would be great to join them!
To that end, I decided I’d start on the Hanny training plan again in December. That went well for a couple of days until I felt like I’d fallen off the back of the training plan and I never really caught back up. There are two big problems for me this time around: my motivation doesn’t feel as high, I’m just not ready to spend six days a week training; I don’t feel able to do the amount of running without injury—my Achilles was definitely causing me some grief in January.
I started at a new gym at the tail end of 2017, at Endure Performance in Bowen Hills. It’s not the most convenient gym for me, but I can pop in on the way to work or the way home from work easily enough, it’s a 20 minute detour on foot. I’ve also found that from work to the gym can be walked in about the same time as it takes by train, so I do that now unless it’s very hot. I asked Dale, one of the two coaches, if he would come up with an alternative training plan for UTA 100, and that is what I’ll be using for the next 15 weeks.
The training plan is two strength and conditioning sessions, a cross training session (I do stretch and core at the gym) and then one to three runs a week. This is very low volume for me, but as I’m enjoying the gym more than the running at the moment, it’s not really a problem, as long the plan works. It’s not really saving me much time—I’m just spending five hours a week going to the gym (including travel time).
I still don’t plan on doing UTA unless I meet my personal goals—if I don’t think I’m capable of achieving the silver buckle (14 hours, half an hour quicker than last year) then I won’t go. Hopefully the plan will pay off, give me confidence that I have the base speed, and if all goes well, I’ll pick up a spare entry in April.
If my results are good, that’ll show that the plan works. If the results aren’t good, it could be the plan, or it could be me having a bad day, or doing nutrition wrong or any of the other countless contributors to poor performance. But I’m keen to try a different approach and hopefully the worst that will happen is a slow day in the beautiful Blue Mountains.
I’ll start thinking about other goal races once I know what’s happening in May—if I don’t feel ready, I’ll do a later race, but I may well do a later race too. I’d love to get my body back to being capable of doing a marathon justice again too, I’ve struggled with long flat runs since late 2015, hopefully all this strength and mobility work will get my body back to being prepared for that.