Nikki Love

Why train fast to run far

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Run fast is in the tough basket for me, for the past 3 years I’ve been concentrating on running at a cruising pace that allows me to cover the distance without overstretching myself so that I can get up and repeat the process day after day on my shorter adventures, week after week for my mid-range length adventures, and month after month on my longer adventures.

However, I always talk about knowing and understanding your WHY to help you continue through the tough times.

I’m currently training to run my longest daily distance, 40 miles (60 kms) over my longest adventure length time 63 days, so why am I training on my speed? Well its all just simple maths really, but the underlying WHY is that I want to get through this adventure … and me getting faster is going to help me go further.

Let me explain the logistics of the run.

I’m starting in Perth, Western Australia on the 1st July, 2020.

It’s winter at that time of year in the Southern Hemisphere which means that the days are shorter, the nights are longer and the temperatures are lower – they dip to 17/18 degree average. Now for most Australian’s (this comes straight out of my Australian family’s mouth) this is quite cold, but quite frankly I’m quite looking forward to those temperatures – they’ll often be warmer than a British summer’s day.

The balmy temperature aside, by July, the number of daylight hours dips to only 10 of them – from 7:15am to 5:30pm. You can add another 30 mins of dawn lightening and 30 mins of dusk darkening to that time. So essentially I’ve got 11 hours of running in some form of natural light.

My current running cruising speed has been approximately 6kms per hour, and that quick maths calculation brings my 60km daily target to 10 hours of running. If I have a bad day, and I had plenty of those during my 63 marathons in 63 days, then I haven’t got a whole lot of wriggle room to be able to stay running in the natural daylight.

I guess the next question is, “well why do you need to run in daylight?”. The answer is pretty simple in my mind – safety!

I’m not keen to be running on roads in the dark when the creepy crawlies and the bigger animals come out to play. If I’m about to cross paths with kangaroo, I want to see it coming my way. If a snake wants to cross the road, then I want to make sure that it gets right of way. Then there’s the big trucks and I’m talking big, long, train-trucks – I want to see them clearly, but more to the point i want them to see clearly. And if I have to jump off the road to make sure I’m no where near a passing vehicle or truck, then I want to make sure I ain’t jumping onto anything that could kill me with its bite, rather than with its wheels.

My number one adventure rule is to “don’t die during an adventure” and I intend on following this one through right til the end of this adventure.

Then there’s the recovery time – I needs my sleepz when I do these big runs.

As tired as I get, it still takes me a couple of hours for my legs, my body and my mind to switch off and get into sleep mode. I get fidgety, grumpy, hangry, over-tired and depending on where I am in my menstrual cycle, I get hormonal. I’ll write a separate post about my menstrual cycle, but just to finish this paragraph off, I’m in the perimenopausal phase of my life, and knowing where I am in my cycle has completely gone out the window. All I’m really aware of is that I get extremely emotional and a little bit irrational when my period is about to start, but the timings are totally unpredictable. I range from having a 3 month cycle to a 3 week cycle.

Even though running fast is tough training for me, I’m choosing my hard. I’m putting in the effort now, so that hopefully I’ll be able to cruise a little faster when I’m running across Australia.

It doesn’t make the training any easier but it sure keeps me motivated – I know my WHY.

x Nikki

PS. There’s plenty of ways that you can be a part of this adventure, please do pop over to my home page and take a look at how you can get involved. I know I can do this, with a little help from my friends.

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