SALLY FAWCETT: Run Diaries I
Each month, Team Montane Athlete Sally Fawcett shares an insight into the world of elite
fell running. This month demonstrates race-specific training, and the benefits
of planned flexibility when it comes to writing programmes:
Training for the first part of the year had all been geared towards High Peak Marathon. This was an event I was really looking forward to as it’s a team race, 4 of you run together through the night, 44 miles around the Derwent Watershed from Edale. I was in a team with Sabrina Verjee, Carol Morgan and Mary Gillie, a really strong team and recces had gone well. However, it was a shame when the ‘Beast from the East’ caused the race to be understandably cancelled. This did mean training could now look towards the Trail World Championships in Penygolosa on the 12th May.
The TWC is 85km with 5000m ascent, the profile shows you’re either going up or down, lots of short/ sharp climbs, some as much as 30% incline, with the only flatter section being between 10-15 km!
With the estimated winning female finish time being around 9 and a half hours, for me I think 11 hours with a top 20 placing is a realistic and achievable goal. That works out at an average pace of just under 5mph, which means there will be a lot of fast hiking involved! This is a part of training often neglected, in mountain ultra marathons there will always be large sections where you will be walking so it’s important to train for this. My local hill for decent hill reps in the Peaks is Win Hill, also convenient as I pass it on the way to work. At only 463m it’s not the highest compared to other areas but with 330m gained in a little over 1.2km on the steepest route, it averages at 25% incline which replicates the Penygolosa trails well. There are several options up as well, so some reps can be done as a run, where as others are definitely a walk!
Win Hill 5 Ways:
Parkin Clough, although this photo doesn’t really do the steepness justice!
So here’s how the training has gone so far:
Week 1: Win Hill reps 14 over 4 sessions, weekly ascent 5189m
Week 2: Win Hill reps 16 over 4 sessions, weekly ascent 5218m
Week 3: Win Hill reps 20 over 6 sessions, weekly ascent 6900m (inc. a long run in Wales)
I am combining the hill reps with a longer run each week, but the bulk of my training is the hill reps. I have a few things on over the coming weeks such as a course recce and trips to the Lakes but that’s a total so far of 50 Win Hill reps. With 7 weeks to go to the TWC I should get well over 100 reps!”
As it’s ascent I’m training for, the weekly mileage is down on previous training, but with working full time, we have to be realistic as to how much it’s possible to fit in. I do think though, the leg strength gained should see me the most prepared I have been for a TWC, this is my 4th. I’m looking forward to the outcome in May!