100 miles – ultra fit

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I want to be able to run 100 miles in under 24 hours. There. I have said it. It is out of the bag. 4 years ago I didn’t know that it was even possible to run that far. A marathon seemed impossibly strenuous. Now that I can happily (fairly happily) run a marathon distance in training and have run a couple of ultra events I can concede that running 100 miles in a day is not only possible in general but possible for me.
I do though have some serious work to do. Last summer I badly damaged both ankles falling down the stairs and barely ran until Christmas. In that time I went from “could do with losing a few pounds” to “Seriously. Put down the cake”. It also means that my running isn’t quite as good as it was and my core strength is pitiful.
So I have given myself 14 months to prepare. The Centurion South Down Way 100 in June 2015. With a wife who loves running and exercise even more than me and no other commitment than a pesky job and some ultra running dogs that should give me plenty of opportunity to train.
Step one – get my weight down. I need to get in top of my nutrition. When you look at diets that are found to be healthy the one consistent thing you find is a lack of processed food. Whole food seems to be key. So that will be my goal. This isn’t something I find very easy and have actually found harder since going vegan. It isn’t the meals – those are always home cooked from scratch and packed full of whole grains and vegetables, but rather it is the snacks and treats. You see a slice of cake marked vegan and think “Wow! Vegan cake! How often do you see that” and have a slice. Living near Brighton you can see that every time you turn round… And so you turn rounder.
Going vegan and giving up animal products was easy. It was an ethical decision so if I see a food that contains animal products I just leave it. Giving up processed food is less easy. Firstly it is less clear up. What counts as “processed”? Unless I am growing everything I eat then everything has been processed to an extent. Secondly there is always the knowledge that one bag of crisps won’t matter. It isn’t an ethical decision where each and every item counts. One unhealthy snack really isn’t unhealthy, it is the pattern that is unhealthy.
So – a plan. Like meals I will make snacks and treats from scratch. Apart from once a week when I will allow myself something shop bought. This should make sure that they are both healthier and far less frequent while at the same time being sustainable.
Step two – while I am getting my weight down through working on my diet I will also improve my base fitness. I tend to pick up injuries quite easily so I will build mileage very slowly while building in more cross training in the gym and start body weight and free weight exercises.
I’ll keep you posted 🙂

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