I can’t work out how to do these posts back in time, so I’m just going to carry on…I thought I’d better just quickly fill you all in on what I’m doing and why I’ve started this blog.
Well. The guys at The Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica, called me up while I was sitting (very glamorously of course) at my desk working on Trail Running magazine and said, “Do you want a free place on our epic 6-day 225km race along the Pacific coastline?” and naturally I said, “FLIPPIN’ YES PLEASE! THAT’S A ONCE IN A LIFE TIME OPPORTUNITY AND IT WOULD BE AMAAAAAZING.” Yes, I really talk like that. You should meet me one day. Maybe sign yourself up to this awesome race and we can run together. Or enter our competition in Trail Running magazine, on sale 4 Sept, to WIN yourself a place, wouldn’t that be fan-blimin-tastic?
The Coastal Challenge guys then hooked me up with coach Rory Coleman, who has done the Marathon des Sables a head-shaking, eye-widening 11 times and not burnt himself to a crisp nor sandpapered the soles off his feet (he says he didn’t get a single blister on his last one, golly, this man is worth listening to).
Rory and I met in Cardiff where he’s based at Aspire Gym on Sanitorium Rd, and he made me do all sorts of energetic things that I’m usually way too lazy to do. All in the gym. As a trail runner and all-round outside bunny, I hate gyms (sorry Aspire!). It was a gorgeous day and I hate being inside when it’s nice, but I soon forgot feeling sorry for myself as Rory showed me how close I was to being an elite athlete on a scale of couch potato to average Joe to Paula Radcliffe (I’m sure he was using a weeny bit of artistic licence here, but psychologically it made me perk up my ears). Apparently I am way better than I think (excellent, thanks RC), but I need to be 9 stone to run faster and not be too hot in Costa Rica. At 10.5 stone right now that’s a ma-hoo-sive drop and I love food, so I think eating less is going to be harder than the training plan! Very exciting to think that if I was carrying less fat I would go way faster, so I’m going to give it a go. RC said, “Your next beer is after the race,” Hmmm. Not sure I can cope with that one, I love real ale! So he said, “Okay you can have one beer every Friday, as a treat.” Gotta love that man.
The most thrilling/horrible part of Rory’s assessment was a 12 min run as fast as I could go, which obviously started off excitingly and then soon got horrible. Very hot, breathing hard, felt sick, thought I was going to fly off the back of the treadmill. You know, that kind of fast as you can go. But it was necessary to find out my VO2 max, which is 50 (don’t get excited, Paula Radcliffe’s is about 80). Rory says it means I am capable of a 1:30 half marathon and 3 hour marathon. Wow! Well I never!
A pretty exhausting bodyweight whole body circuit session then happened, where my areas of feebility (plank and arm raises) were revealed, then we created a training plan. I’ll be sharing how to create your own multi-day race training plan based on Rory’s coaching in the next issue of Trail Running magazine, on sale 4 Sept, so get a load of it – it’s actually way easier than you think. If I can do it, anyone can.
After coming to terms with the initial 9 stone bombshell and lack of delicious food that entails, I am (strangely for me, I hate people telling me what to do) now feeling an almost religiously fervent dedication to Rory’s fuelling and training regime.
Since meeting Rory on Wednesday I’ve been eating less food, mainly plants, lean meat and pulses and have found a friend in fizzy water (more exciting than normal water but no kcals). And it’s not as hard as I thought. But it’s only been a 4 days…I will probably start whining about my ‘Banned Substances’ in a future blog entry…
Claire Maxted, editor of Trail Running magazine is being whipped into shape for the 6-day Coastal Challenge, Costa Rica this February by multi-day race specialist Rory Coleman. Find out more here >rorycoleman.co.uk >thecoastalchallenge.com