Preparation to Suffer
I have now done my final training run before attempting the Eden Valley Ultra Trail on Saturday, so all that is left to do physically is rest my legs, sleep as much as possible, and make sure I’ve eaten enough carbohydrates to have maxed out my glycogen stores by the time I’m at the start line. I feel reasonably fit, definitely the fittest I’ve been since being in London, and certainly more physically prepared than I did ahead of the NDW marathon, but my mental preparedness is severely lacking in comparison to that race. Back then, my perceived lack of physical fitness meant that I spent the week or so leading up to the event readying myself to push through a lot of pain, to endure something truly gruelling, to have to tap into some dark place within me in order to get the race finished. As it turned out, it wasn’t as painful as I had feared, and that compared with some solid training runs and an unexpectedly quick Big Half have meant that I haven’t spent as much time making preparations to suffer on Saturday… and that’s bad.
Fifty kilometres is like, a really long way. It’s going to take me a really long time, and barring some kind of miracle, it’ll be the most time I’ll have ever spent on my feet running. I might have just got lucky on the North Downs Way; all kinds of things could go wrong. Having any kind of complacency ahead of my first ultramarathon would clearly be a huge error, and so that’s what I need to spend my next few days and nights doing; visualising things getting really tough, imagining how I’m going to feel, pre-empting the doubts and excuses that’ll inevitably come to mind, and formulating a plan to keep putting one foot in front of the other, regardless.