It has been a massive motivating kick up the mule ass and a helpful reminder to live each day in pursuit of achieving something that is within grasp. Entry to the UTMB - Ultra Trail Mont Blanc - is determining the shape of the training year ahead. Being successfully drawn in the ever increasing size of the ballot was met with a yelp of joy and a clenched fist. 7861 applicants for 2650 starting bibs. Yes, I was happy and excited. Today, as excited and happier than 2 weeks ago.
Training is accomplished with consistent growth in stress, planned rest, simulation weekends, strength and conditioning, mindset practiced, equipment testing, healthy nutrition and ensuring it is not the priority in the weekly cycle of life.
Training was successful in 2017 to achieve the qualifying standard with this approach and plan. The results it reaps can be championed and celebrated, and yet there can only be sense in trying when day to day life is being navigated successfully. That's why previous DNF results have never been too painful to reflect upon. There were positive achievements to turn to immediately that easily remind the inappropriateness of taking these races too seriously within the overall framework.
The next 3 weeks moves on from the last 3 weeks put in place. Mileage is not be the be all and end all. There is a lot of climbing and that will be completed at a strong marching pace, one of the positive physical skills I have in my possession from being a Royal Marine. Alongside this comes the strength, flexibility and endurance required to remain functionally mobile during the multiple 1000-4,000+ ascents.
February will remain balanced with an increase to some 60-70 mile weeks and vertical gains increasing to 10,000ft in a week cycle. Sitting alongside and supporting this will be continuation of strength, flexibility, developing conditioning on a turbo trainer, nutrition and rest. Most importantly will be a daily reminder that everything in life from day to day is more important and will be one of the key factors that delivers a successful UTMB result.