Friday, 5 April 2013

Making the most of Cross Training

My training plans for the Highland Fling came unstuck in March, a calf injury early in the month was followed by illness mid March followed by a foot injury, nothing was going my way so I've been forced to put my efforts into Cross Training to get in shape for the Fling.

Two years ago when preparing to run the Kielder Marathon I was forced to cross train due to a achilles injury spending 6 weeks training on my bike.  Three weeks before the race I got back into running but found it really tough, my legs just weren't able to cope with the eccentric loading during the first half of stance.  The lack of running training meant that my quads and hip flexores were totally fried in the last 8 miles of the race.

Clearly just cycling for cross training isn't going to cut it when preparing to run 53 miles of hilly trails with many thousand of feet of ascent and descent that the Fling entails.  My approach this time is to mix cycling with hill walking, specifically cycle to hill, quick march to the top then run down, then cycle back home.  The quick march up has been getting my HR up to where it is when doing a marathon paced run or even tempo run when up really steep slopes.  The descents while a bit tough on my injury forefoot and really stressing my quads ability to handle the eccentric loading.  The hill walking/running also provides a workout for a good range of muscles and ranges of motions that the bike just can't provide.  While the bike riding provides an good aerobic workout.

Fingers crossed this combination will allow my foot to heal whilst keeping myself fit for running long distances.  With just over three weeks to go it's rather nerve racking though, my longest training run of 30 miles with 5000ft ascent/descent was planned for this coming weekend.  Instead I'll be cycling, walking and a best tackling a short run if my foot feels OK.

One up side of the new Cross Training approach is that it's getting me up some great hills and mountains in the Trossachs:

Monday I cycled 19 miles and went up Ben A'an overlooking Loch Katrin
Monday a short cycle then brisk Ben Ledi, the approach to the Summit quite appropriate for Easter!
At the summit two the wind was 40mph+ yet two thrill seeking crows battled it out, my camera phone was blown from my hands several times.
Just before my un-gloved hands froze I got this last photo looking west towards Ben Lomond
Tuesday I cycled 14 miles and walked/ran the trail above Brig O'Turk
The trail at Brig O'Turk takes you briefly above the loch at Glen Fingless.
Wednesday I took it easy and just walked from the house up the Callander Crags
Thursday I cycled 21 miles and went up Ben Shean above Strathyre

Today (Friday) I did a 27mile tour of Trossachcs on the bike, at 7:30am I heading out with the temperature at 0 degrees, but beautiful sunshine.  The route took me from Callander to Lake of Mentieth, to Aberfoyle, up the Dukes pass, down past Loch Achray, to Brig O'turk then home to Callander past Loch Venacher.  It's hilly route but views were ample reward.  The sunshine didn't compensate for the low temperature early in the morning though, despite two sets of socks my toes were frozen for the whole 2 and half hour cycle.  As I was keen to get back to see our family guests I didn't hang around and take photo's today.

After putting in more than two hours of cycling/hill walking/running per day this week my legs are feeling quite fatigued.  I usually just manage a hour a day on average when running so it's quite a big jump up.  Fingers crossed it'll give my fitness the kick up the butt that it needs to compensate for all the lost running that I had planned for March.

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