Below is the next instalment from RunWithIan Member - Ian Beasley which further documents his Ultra Marathon preparation. Ian will take on a 40+mile, off-road course in Warwickshire around the infamous 'A Coventry Way' this May time. I hope you enjoy the read!
I was flabbergasted when the email landed in early February. Bound to be a scam I thought. But then it sunk in – I’d only gone and secured a place in the ballot at one of the world’s most prestigious marathons. For avoidance of any doubt here, we’re talking London, not Worcester.
Of course, my first instinct was to think ‘I’m gonna win it!’ Then I remembered that in a time before The Covids, I was frequently overtaken in fun runs by parents tethered to toddlers, pensioners wearing inflatable fancy dress costumes and even the occasional three-legged canine. I’m also certain that Captain Sir Tom (god rest his soul) could quite literally have given me a run for my money around his garden last year. So, all in all, it was more reasonable to assume that I would finish outside of the top ten, maybe even a little further down the field.
Although snatching a place at London is a dream come true - and I may have told every single person I’ve encountered about it ever since - it somewhat scuppers my plans in relation to the ultramarathon I had already slotted in with Ian Baynes towards the end of Spring. While London isn’t taking place until early October, the start of the training plan for The Big One would clash awkwardly with completing, and more importantly recovering from, the ultra.
Fear not my friends, for Coach Baynes had foolishly given me his telephone number and address when I signed up to the ultramarathon training plan at the beginning of the year. And after he failed to return 48 of my telephone calls (to be fair it was around 5.30 on a Sunday morning), I pitched up outside his house, battered down his front door with my puny fists and begged for help. OK, so I may be stretching the truth a little here, but between you and I, he may well have ‘wiped away’ a few of my tears during a Code Red Zoom call.
The online catch ups with Ian come as part of the training package for the ultramarathon to ensure that everything is ticking along nicely. I had somewhat overlooked the importance of this side of things, but it soon became apparent that reviewing key aspects of data including running performance, and other vital stats such as weight, VO2 Max and resting heart rate, is essential to monitor progress. To be frank, I was finding the training load, along with work commitments and being at the beckon call of three females in the Beasley household, all a bit too much. A bit of miracle work was required by Ian to get me back on track.
In just a few hours, Baynesie had worked up a solution. First of all, he adapted my training schedule by stripping back the original 20-weeker and fast-tracked me ‘snakes and ladders’ style to the final third of the plan. Another crucial adjustment was to my nutritional goals. Ian had noted my symptoms of fatigue and also that I was losing a touch more weight than intended, so it was time to crank up the carbs and take some well-earned rest. We also decided between us to pencil in some specific training runs including a tasty little 20-mile trail followed by Not the Venice Marathon a week later.
So, panic over and with about six weeks to go until the ultra, I am about to sit back and enjoy a perfectly timed recovery week and consume my own bodyweight in Easter treats. Vegan of course. What’s not to love?
Ian Beasley, 3 April 2021