So it is not long now until my biggest Ultra of the year (from a mileage perspective that is!). Not a long one to some of you, but the longest distance I will be running! (I don’t know why Ultra-runners apologise for the distance they are running….’I am only running the 50 mile event’, or ‘it is just a 30 miler!’ I am as guilty as anyone for this!).

The event is the Hardmoors 55 trail Ultra which runs along the first half of the 110 mile long Cleveland Way in the North of England (North Yorkshire to be exact!)

This weekend is my last long training weekend before a short taper to the event itself.

My high mileage weeks are not as big as some people do (there I go apologising again) but for me they are fine. I like to make sure I get my long runs in (greater than 20 miles) and this weekend is a back to back weekend so my mid week training has been reduced to avoid overloading my body and giving me time to recover!

My training so far this year has been building up to this, with one race at marathon distance (the Hardmoors Saltburn Marathon as covered in my previous blogpage) and a couple of shorter races to work on my speed as well.


In previous years I haven’t worked so much on speed, more on distance, but realised that I couldn’t run fast when I wanted to. My body was tuned in to running long slow distances so I struggled to increase my pace on shorter runs. I was a donkey, that can plod away for hours on end, trying to speed up, rather than a racehorse trying to run longer.

As far as the speed training is concerned: There is a local series of 10k events for local clubs starting in April. I would like to get back to the form I had four or five years ago for these and compete in them rather than complete them. I have been monitoring my running ‘metrics’ on Garmin Connect to see if there is anywhere to improve my running form and style. I cannot say I truly understand all these and their impact but my cadence is an area to work on. If I don’t think about it, my cadence on a training run would be between 155 and 160 steps per minute. During a couple of shorter distance races this has improved to around 165. I feel this is still too slow. I would like to get nearer 170!   Contact time on the ground is an area that, I guess, links into this and the metrics occasionally show a disparity between my right and left feet during slower training runs. On the faster runs it is good.

Screen shot from Garmin Connect showing run metrics…I don’t know why cadence and stride are so random though!

It would be interesting to see how I can work on this (after the Hardmoors 55!)

I have also been working on my nutrition as well. For the Hardmoors 55 this will be the key between burning out and having a tough day, or enjoying the race. My plan for the race will be to ensure I start eating early on and later in the race fall back onto Shotbloks. I will practice the hydration and nutrition at the weekend during my training runs.

Meanwhile….back to the build up for the big one!

A couple of questions you can maybe help me with:

  1. How can I improve my cadence so it becomes natural?
  2. Any of you guys use the Garmin metrics to analyse your performance?

6 thoughts on “Not quite a racehorse yet!

  1. I’ve managed to lift my cadence by concentrating on taking shorter steps running slower. I do a group run once a week that is about 60 to 90 seconds slower per kilometer than my regular training pace. If I just ‘ran slower’ I would drop my cadence and ‘bang’ my foot every step I made. However, by concentrating on keeping this slower pace by taking shorter steps, my cadence improves without me picking up the pace. After a while 175 to 180 steps per minutes feels about normal, and now when I run I keep my cadence up around there no matter what the speed I am running. Good luck in the ultra! 🙂


  2. I decided I needed to improve my form, and specifically focused on the tilt of my hips (tuck your bum in under your hips, “run with your bum” – that is, push off from your gluts; foot plant should occur under your hip). Accidentally, my cadence picked up. In other word, it should happen naturally, rather than be forced.


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