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Find out just how quick you can be

by Robert Britton
Wednesday 13th August 2014
Tags  Robbie Britton   |   inov-8   |   Team Centurion   |   Font Romeu

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team Inov-8 and Team Centurion, has learnt a valuable lesson during his 2014 season

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team Inov-8 and Team Centurion, has learnt a valuable lesson during his 2014 season

Now I love to race as much as the next person and still get giddy with excitement building up to race day, be it for the Canterbury 10 or UTMB, but, for ultra runners for sure, racing makes you slower.

I've had some great opportunities this year and a couple of months in La Palma, building up to the epic TransVulcania race, felt like a dream come true. Added to getting UK Ultra Runner of the Year 2013, another chance to run for Team GB and joining Team inov-8, I had a great year coming.

After training for two months solid for a 10 miler in January, I then forgot how important it was to train and build up and got carried away. A 28km mountain race, a mountain marathon in Turkey and 46km at the Wings for Life race, all within the month before TransVulcania and I was still wondering why my legs weren't right going up that first hill alongside Timothy Olsen. Well, apart from the fact that I shouldn't have been alongside Timothy Olsen, not just yet anyway.

Big noises were made before the race and I shouted about a possible top ten finish. It ended up with me looking a little deluded when all didn't go to plan, but whilst running up the first 21km in a recce I had felt much better than on race day. There just wasn't the power, the push in my legs, but what do I expect after getting carried away and running 46km the week before? (Sage Canaday did the same Wings for Life event elsewhere but had stopped about 3km in - a much wiser man than I)

That still didn't make me wise up. I had a result I wasn't happy with, so when a chance to run Zegama two weeks later came up I jumped at it. Maybe I can prove that the training is working, even if I have a rather swollen ankle from TransVulcania? What a wally. I was exhausted from the get go and well out of my league on the rock hopping tops, even with the fantastic crowds alongside each climb.

So after that I rested. Then actually got some training in before the West Highland Way race.

What people seem to forget is that while you are tapering, racing and recovering you don't actually get any training in. You just damage yourself at races and apart from some benefit from losing a bit of fat, you eat into your muscles and become weaker. You might be maintaining fitness if you're recovering well, but you're not building. We're not 100m runners who race into shape!

Run247 columnist Robert Britton, member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad, Team Inov-8 and Team Centurion, has learnt a valuable lesson during his 2014 season

So I have spent the last three weeks in Font Romeu in the Alps, just solidly training and recovering and it feels great. It has reminded me that waiting for something makes it all the more special and I am very excited about racing at UTMB again soon.

I haven't gone mad out here with long mountain days & 10,000 metres of vertical each run, but I have instead stuck to the quality training and hard resting. I've watched all of Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Luther and started on The Wire, plus read all about how to take drugs and ride a bike, eaten a lot of banana pancakes and found out just how useful five years and a GCSE in French really are...(Not very)

Too many people race too much, although ultimately it comes down to why you run. If you want to join the 100 marathon club then good on you. Personally I always get asked one question "Yeah 100 miles, great, but how quickly can you run THE London marathon?", so peaking for a couple of races a year is the way forward for me. Maybe I'll even do a marathon one day so I can stop telling people that I've not officially broken three hours for the Olympic distance yet.

I thought this year was going to be about some awesome races but it has actually helped to remind me that I do love training. I love getting faster and it is a reason why so many enjoy running, the personal achievement of a new PB, being a better runner than you were the day before, the year before. The exciting thing is, I've got a long way to go yet.

As Pre said "To give anything less than your best is to betray the gift" so why not find out just how quick you can be instead of just existing from race to race. Everyone is competitive, just not always with the chap at the front, so, time the course, the clock or just yourself.


About The Author

Robert Britton

Robbie is a 100 mile runner who is a member of the Great Britain 24hr Running Squad and Team Centurion and likes to run ridiculous distances as quickly as possible.

To provide enough food to feed a monster running habit, Robbie coaches other ultra marathon runners through www.robbiebritton.co.uk and is also a member of the coaching team at Centurion Running. He likes to dabble with a bit of writing so that others can learn from his mistakes and enjoy the sport as much as he does.

Robbie is also a is a Profeet ambassador.


"Pain is inevitable, suffering is just part of the fun"


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