Northern hilly long run
The route for my long run this weekend has been planned for several months! I like to run at least once when I visit my parents in Lancashire, usually with my sister. I enjoy the challenge of running up some impressive hills: it makes a change from the relative flatness of Bedfordshire.
In 2011 and 2012, my sister and I used to run between 5 km and 10 km together. The 10 km route we run is a loop of Great Harwood, Clayton-le-Moors, and Rishton that is an undulating course; there are three distinct hills that are either steep or long. Tough, but good for training.
A few times in 2013, when my sister was training for her first half marathon, we started running a different route, a 9 mile hill loop through Great Harwood, Read, and Sabden that takes in the lower part of Pendle Hill. There is a huge climb at the beginning of the route, but that means there is a lovely downhill stretch at the end. We've never run it all the way though, my sister doesn't appreciate the fine art of running all the way up a hill ;-)
I got chatting at a Christmas party with my sister's husband and his friend (who are both cyclists and fellow Strava fans) about creating the hilliest running route local to them. They both said that the Sabden route was hilly, but running up Whalley Nab from Whalley to Great Harwood (Moor Lane/Shawcliffe Lane) would be really testing, and I knew I wanted to try it next time I was up north.
This weekend I visited my parents, and I was really looking forward to finally trying out my hilly training route. I had to run about 18 miles, so I planned to warm up with the 10 km "undulating" route (with my sister), then to run the 9 mile route on my own (all the way up the huge hill without stopping!), and finally to add on a 3 mile home run over Whalley Nab.
I was very happy that I ran up the hill to Sabden all the way, only having to stop for 2 cars on a narrow lane. The run down into Whalley was great, and I was feeling good (14 miles in). But I could see the hill I had to cross looming large. As soon as I put my foot on the incline I knew I would be crazy to attempt to run it as my 15th mile! Not crazy in that I would injure myself, or it was impossible to run, just that with 14 miles in my legs it would be as fast to walk it. So I walked up the Nab, and enjoyed the recovery time, then ran the rest of the way home. Including up one final hill (Bowley), which is steep but short.
Total elevation on the run was approximately 1700 feet! Total mileage was 17.7 miles (half a mile was run before my Garmin picked up satellites). I ran out of water on this run, but not until mile 16. I also tried SIS caffeine gels for the first time, pretty yukky compared to the High 5 gels that I'm used to, although they did the job. One happy Sarah.
At dinner that evening, my brother-in-law challenged me to run over Pendle Hill, rather than just the lower part of it. Perhaps he will cycle behind me :) I WILL run over Pendle sometime this year, and my sister and I have decided we will run to Whalley and back over the Nab, all the way NO STOPPING ;-)
Lots of running last week, my weekly total was 36 miles, which I think is the most miles I've ever run in a week. I'd completed 10 miles by Tuesday evening, then I ran 8.5 miles on Thursday at run club (including 5 miles on the Greenway in the dark), followed by my long run on Saturday. Not much cross-training though, circuits was cancelled and I missed Pilates because it was half-term. I wanted to swim on Thursday while my kids had their lessons, bu work stressed me out and I finished too late to get myself organised. So I grumpily sat and watched them instead.
Next week's training plan...
Monday: Interval run (5 miles, alternate 0.25 mile fast/slow)
Wednesday: 8 miles @ marathon pace
Thursday: Running club
Friday: Rest day
Saturday: NHRR First Saturday 5K
Sunday: 18 miles