Guest Blog: My Favourite Run by YHA’s Alastair Boyd
We asked Alastair Boyd, Manager of YHA Castleton in the Peak District, to share his…
This summer I’m racing the full Threshold Sports Trail Series:
I love running in beautiful places and taking on new challenges. We run on many of the National Trails and I love the journey through places and history that they take you on. I’ve also heard great things about the races and really wanted to try them out for myself. Jen ran Race to the Stones last year – she really enjoyed it and highly recommended the race, and the buzz when we met her at the finish was infectious – I wanted to run it too! When I discovered there was a series over a five-week period it seemed like the perfect challenge.
We have to plan our races carefully as we’re full-time parents as well as writing and training. Any challenges we take on have to fit with each other, our work schedule and the kids. It’s also incredibly important to us that we’re active as a family, and that our children see us both taking part in sport as they grow up. Having the three races close together – and all relatively local to us – means I can peak for all of my key races at once and don’t have to be away for long. Life’s busy but it’s fun – it’s all about the balance!
Threshold’s race formats are brilliantly inclusive. You can run any of the races non-stop, or split them over two days with camping and food provided at half way. They are friendly, well-supported and fully waymarked – perfect whether you’re a seasoned ultrarunner looking for a fast time or just taking your first steps into the world of ultramarathons. Each race has regular feed stations, including a marquee with a hot meal at half way. There’s also plentiful parking available and coach transfers to/from the start/finish.
I’ve raced several ultras before, including the Classic Quarter, the Lakes Sky Ultra, and some of our own invention, but all three of the Threshold races are further than I’ve ever run in one go. I’ve also never had such a short gap between long runs. I’m really interested to see how my body and mind cope with the races and the recovery between them.
I’m currently running between 40 and 60 miles per week but I’m steadily increasing this. I don’t follow a fixed training schedule as our weeks vary from one to the next and I want to fit my training around our other commitments as much as possible. I’ll grab any opportunity to run as it fits into the day. In general I try to fit in one long run and one medium-long run each week, plus a hill session and some speedwork. I’ll normally run between six and ten miles on the other days and take a rest day when ever I feel like it. I’m slowly increasing the length of the longer runs in preparation for the races.
I’m experimenting with eating on the run, taking real food with me and fuelling as I go, working out what works best for me. I’m also a total gear freak so I’m looking forward to testing out and finding my perfect race day set up.
I’ll be blogging about my training as I go and also reporting back on the races and the series afterwards. I’d love to hear from anyone else who’s running any – or all – of the series. And if you’re not yet, sign up here.