I'll hold my hands up, I've looked at the official Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones training plan once, maybe twice, which doesn't sound ideal when there are less than three months until the 100km challenge.
The good news is that the training plan I already have in place for my marathon at the end of May is not all that dissimilar. I still need to run regularly (5-6 days a week), which I have been doing with a mix of slow and steady runs, interval training and a couple of big Sunday runs left before the big race.
The Race to the Stones plan also suggests throwing in a cross training session a week, which I've already been doing adding in a swimming session to break up the pavement and treadmill pounding.
Psychologically though, the thought of running 26.2 miles twice for training and sacrificing a few more of my Sundays to cover those miles is something I'm still trying to get to grips with. I know I don't have to do it if I'm not attempting to run this, but the stubbornness in me means I'm definitely going to give it a shot. From a tracking point of view, I don't have to make any drastic changes with the wearables that are keeping me on top of things.
The TomTom Adventurer is suited to trail and road running
My TomTom Spark 3 is the GPS running watch I normally use for running, but with the tougher terrain to tackle, I've decided to upgrade to the more outdoor-friendly TomTom Adventurer from Currys PC World. It's essentially the same watch in many ways but it does have a few cosmetic design changes and couple of extra tracking modes that should prove more useful for trail running and hiking.
It's pretty much as slim as the Spark 3 and that's a big deal because I'm not the biggest fan of big, bulky outdoor watches. The waterproofing and swim tracking makes it a decent pool companion as well and being able to upload routes means I won't have to cover more miles than I need to for a training session. I don't rely greatly on heart rate based training at the moment, though I do check in during runs to see how hard I'm working. TomTom's watches have some of the best heart rate monitors in the business, so I'm in good hands if I do want to integrate training that focuses on intensity as opposed to pace or distance.
I've already got long distances under my belt
I've manually uploaded my plan to Google calendar, but the only really annoying thing about TomTom's watch is that it doesn't double as a smartwatch or offer any smartwatch-like features. So I don't get a buzz or a message flash up when I need to remember to squeeze in a 6 miler or get prepared for a slow 300 minute run. It's not a deal breaker, but you definitely miss little things like that when you've been using a smartwatch or running watch that does support it like the new Garmin Forerunners or Suunto's latest collection of multisport watches.
Of course this is not just about running and there's a couple of other key areas I need to make some improvements on and those are strength training and nutrition. The first is pretty important because I appreciate the kind of impact that amount of running is going to have on the rest of my body, particularly my core. I know this having spoken to someone who has already done the Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones, so I need to start throwing in some weights sessions into my training plan. It's gradually happening, but it's not exactly my favourite thing in the world to do.
As far as nutrition goes, well, if you've been reading the site recently then you'll be familiar with my food tracking diary hell. I love food, all of it, but I know that when I'm training for something I need to adapt my diet or introduce some new things to it. I'm not doing another food tracking diary or using an app to log my meals, but I'm making use of a cook book for runners that I got given for Christmas to make sure I eat the write things pre and post running sessions.
I'm taking nutrition really seriously, to make sure training stays on track
Also, after laughing off the whole NutriBullet, smoothie fad, I'm now a convert and I've been blending everything in sight. Oranges, pineapples, cashews, apples, you name it. My personal favourite right now is a milk, peanut butter, chocolate protein powder and ice combo. Trust me, it's like drinking a thick chocolate milkshake from a McDonalds, only a lot better for your insides.
So, I'd say my training for Race to the Stones is going okay so far, but I know that I need to keep on running for pretty much an entire week, enjoy the rest days (or day), continue eating the right things and not shirk the strength training. My focus is still on race day in May, but I know that July isn't that far away and there's still tougher training sessions to come.
The thought of doing another marathon run just in training is something mentally that still I need to deal with, but I'm definitely not shirking the challenge. I remain motivated by fellow runners who are taking on similar challenges like Wareable contributor Kieran Alger who completed 100 miles of running in 26 gruelling hours.
If you're looking for some advice on the best smart tech, here's how to choose the right fitness tech for you.