Lowe Alpine Marathon Training
Giles Trussell, Instructor at Glenmore Lodge
I began my training for the June LAMM through the winter on my single speed road bike and with many kilometers in the local swimming pool. Having had a prolapsed disc in December and the operation to fix it in February I had been advised to give myself time to repair before running. Biking and swimming were fine…although no mountain biking. Cardiovascular fitness was good as a consequence.
The runs began as soon as I felt ok and although the first few were awkward as I hobbled on an ineffective leg and my regular 13.5 km run was a good 20 minutes slower than usual I persevered, surely things could only get better? Fortunately they have.
During April I made a good transition from the road and pool to the run and the hobble slowly improved. One of the run highlights was a race at work of runners versus bikers from Glenmore Lodge to the Coire Cas Car Park, uphill only. Myself and Nigel Williams, Head of Training pitted ourselves against the rest – road and mountain bikers. Who would win? The bets in the office – which had spawned the idea – were non-committal. Pushing myself reasonably hard I won in 22minutes 5 secs, 50 seconds ahead of Jon Jones on his road bike. Nigel ran well too although did not beat Bob Kinnaird the Boss on his bike. A Sub 20 minute time is on the card for either mode…
I had a few runs home from work and from home around our local woods. I also put in a few runs after work up Meall a Buachaille opting at first for the straight up and down short approach which goes in under 40 minutes, a great workout.
The following may not appear to be an intense run schedule and it was certainly designed to increase the distances with rest between an important part. The distances were intended to end up being greater and harder than what will be experienced on the LAMM and if I felt ok the next day that would be a good indication of being able to sustain two LAMM hill days. I also had to fit them around an understanding and busy family and full time employment. They feature quality runs but not too much quantity. I am also starting from an established fitness base built up over years of hill and trail running.
Thursday 8th May
LAMM training run with Ian after work. Up Cairngorm from Glenmore, 18km and 960m ascent. Good time to think about raising mileage for LAMM.
Having an Elite entry to this year’s Lowe Alpine Mountain Marathon (our 3rd Elite entry) my running partner Ian Stewart and I thought we should get a run under our belts in preparation. We have both already been putting some miles in and it was great to stretch the legs with him. As it was we chose a direct ascent from Glenmore Lodge to the Summit of Cairngorm via spot height 1141. We did not quite do it in under an hour but were close and I am sure with a few more runs we could do it. We chose to run up the path then a pathless run off the mountain which was just fantastic, with soft supportive terrain. It was a perfect hit and we ran the 18km and 960 meters of ascent in just over 2 hrs.
For this run I was wearing a TNF Men’s Medium Baselayer Long Sleeve Crew with HyActive technology.
Sunday 11th May
Recovered well enough for 4 new Munros for me today, 61 left to do. Good LAMM training with 32 km , 2000m ascent in 5.5 hrs.
A great solo day out and a hit on the hills to the North of Loch Mullardoch. The weather was fairly benign though cool with hail and while the way up and west along the hills was chosen to give me wind on my tail the return run low down along the loch-side was arduous with an inability to get a regular pace going due to the terrain which even though it was on a path was not conducive to flow. I thought I may have made a mistake when faced with a river crossing which meant a detour and a search for a safe point to cross. Any higher in flow and the safest option would have been to swim in the loch. It rained solidly for the last hour of the run in which I had to put most of my clothes on, keeping the TNF DNP Hoody in reserve.
Again wearing TNF Medium Baselayer Long Sleeve Crew and also the Bed Head Beanie and an older pair of Ultra Runner’s Gloves.
Wednesday 14th May
Walked 13.5 km and 900m ascent with group around Northern Corries then ran 13.5 km home. (Total for day 27km.)
Friday 15th May
Walked 16km and ascended 1200m
Saturday 17th May 2014
Today’s match stats. South Loch Mullardoch Munros today, left home at 0500 and started running at 0700 to get 41/2 hrs in good weather and 41/2 hrs in good Scottish ming. 8 Munros , 49km and 3870m of ascent.
A great day of contrasts and reliance on some great kit. The beginning was sunny and fair, cool again high up. I had a plan A if things were going well to put in a big 50km day, if things were not so good this would be reduced to about 36km. So great running conditions for the first 5hrs as a result I went for the bigger distance. I had planned a few route options but as usual in the field some choices seem more obvious than on the map. As I was on the return route from my farthest point the weather began to change forcing some quick decisions which still seem right even now. As the rain came in the waterproof jacket, windproof trousers, hats and gloves went on. I should also have put one more thermal base layer on, as a result of not doing this I got quite cold in what became driving rain. 6hrs into the run my TNF DNP Hoody was pulled out and pulled me out of my predicament giving warmth and comfort almost immediately. I then ran in this for the next 2hrs with a waterproof jacket over the top. It was a great feeling to have finished the 49km and with a notable amount of ascent. I had needed to use much of my experience and great concentration and care was required moving through the slippery knife edge ridges near the end third of the run (this terrain in the wet and windy conditions slowed me down considerably). I ran on bearings and ate at regular 1 ½ hrs. intervals rewarding myself with jelly babies and wine gums only when there were a few km of good track remaining. A memorable run for all the right reasons.
Tuesday 20th May
Ran 13.5 km home after work.
Wednesday 21st May
Single speed 15 miles into work.
Friday 23nd May
Steady Meall a Bhuachaille run 9km and 550 ascent.
Moriston River Race. Another training weekend was interrupted with my commitment to the Moriston River Race. My third time competing in the event with the main goal to reach the final. Last year I had been 5th. With the recent back operation even a place in the final was hopeful. I made it to the final thanks to a fast second round run which would have placed me third had it been my final run. Unfortunately while going pretty well in the final I was off line and ended up capsizing and swimming. There’s always next year and getting to a top 20 place out of over 100 kayakers was a great result.
To maintain the TNF theme I did opt to wear a sporty pair of TNF Hyasa running shoes in my kayak with the insoles removed!
Monday 26th May
Reduced Munro count by 1 today with 37km bike and an 11 km run to summit Ben Avon from Tomintoul. Approx 1000m ascent running. Had been there twice before on summer mountain leader assessments and failed to summit due to high winds and then ice.
It was great to finally summit this peak and having done so I definitely made the right decision on those Summer Mountain Leader Assessments.
TNF Bed Base Layer Crew, Bed Head Beanie and Ultra Runner’s Gloves worn during this day.
Thursday 29th May
Hard and fast Meall a Buachaille run at 9km and 550m ascent, ideal temperature.
Friday 30th May
Steady Meall a Buachaille run at 9km and 550m ascent, very warm.
Bit of a mad day, climbed a 4 Star 250 metre route called the Steeple on the Shelterstone Crag, E2, 5a, 5a, 4b, 5c, 5a, 5b, 5b, in 7hrs with Jon Jones and Nightwatch Tom. I then ran solo to Beinn Bhrotain and back via Braeriach in 5 ½ hrs. Total time for day including walk in, climb and run, 14 ½ hrs. 2400m ascent, 40km Hardest single Munro I’ve ever done. One less now though.
Well kitted out with TNF Base Crew short and Long sleeve, DNP Hoody, Bed Head Beanie and Ultra Runner’s Gloves. Also worn during climb were Men’s Satellite Pants and Men’s Hybrid Tights which maintained a good temperature for me.
TNF kit arrives…
Very excited to receive some kit in which to run and trial with feedback for TNF:
GTD Running Shorts Medium – great fit, very light and comfy.
GTD Tight Medium – fits really well and feel good.
GTD Jacket Medium – seems like a great piece, most of the jacket fits really well though at medium it is short in the arm.
Better Than Naked T Medium – great fit.
Better Than Naked Cap – fits well and comfy
Featherlite Storm Jacket – feels great, question mark over the around face bagginess of the hood – one more draw cord elastic possible? Hyvent 2.5L, stitch free construction.
Featherlite Storm Pants – great fit and can get on and off over running shoes so the zip is sufficient to let this happen.
Ultra Guide shoes which although I will not be using these for the LAMM will work very well on my 13.5km run commutes.
Event location announced.
Met with Ian Stewart to plan and organise final things to do with race.
Packed and ready to head to Strathcarron for the weekend event…news to follow…