JDF Training Update

Today is the end of my fourth week of sticking to my training schedule and it has been going well so far. I have had a tiny niggle in the back of my mind over the last week after experiencing some slight calf pain during my 15.5km run last weekend and have also been feeling pretty tired (hardly surprising having run every day for the last six weeks with increasing distances!) but my body was definitely telling me something. In preparation for my long run today I had a slightly easier day yesterday than planned and made sure I had a couple of really good nights sleep.

18km is the third furthest distance I have ever run and today I did it carrying water and some gear, which is something I need to get used to as the 47km goal will be run unaided. I was extremely happy with how the run went today – I felt fit and didn’t really get tired. I didn’t experience any pain in my legs… so much so that I didn’t want to stop!

I was running around Seal Bay (PDF 2.44Mb), a local nature park which is home to a great mixture of thick forest and pebble beaches. The trails are mostly flat with the exception of the beach access and nature alongside the winding trails is beautiful. At one point I checked my progress on my phone (I use MapMyRun for GPS tracking) to find I was around half way into the distance which made me happy – not because I had covered half of the distance but because I had half of the distance still to enjoy!

Beach views from Seal Bay

And enjoyable it was. Last week, at the same park I was feeling tired after around 10k and was concerned about my calves, I finished with something left in the tank but not much. Today I felt like I could keep going and going which was exhilarating. While injury is still at the back of my mind I am feeling really good about my fitness and today was a big boost for my confidence about the challenge ahead. I’m not getting carried away though – the run today was less than half of the distance of the JDF and was almost flat compared to the JDF’s constant ups and downs. I am under no illusion of how much work I have ahead of me but I am also excited for it.

I mentioned that I carried gear today. Over the last couple of weeks I have been carrying some, but not a full load on two of my runs a week. This is to get used to running with the extra weight and my new pack.

My new running companion – a Salomon Skin Pro 10+3

The bag is designed for ultra marathons and has pockets for just about everything and after much research I bought it in preparation for the JDF run and hopefully many more big runs during my road trip later this year. While I certainly notice the extra weight I am extremely impressed with how comfortable it is and how little it bounces. I am planning on writing a review about the bag and some other bits of kit when I get the chance.

Today was also my first run where I ate an entire meal whilst running! For the big run instead of stopping and having ‘lunch’ I am planning on eating a little often. Today’s lunch was rice balls – rice with miso (and a little wasabi – my own addition) covered in nori (seaweed) which was a recipe I got from the legendary ultra runner Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run book. It was a slightly strange sensation eating on the move but the soft rice balls were only a few bites each and went down smoothly. I actually think that these really gave me an extra boost on my run today so where I normally plan my runs around eating I look forward to eating more on long runs. I am still learning though so more to come on this topic.

While during the week I am running mainly on the road my long runs have been all on the trails. Canadians like to be outdoors so people don’t bat an eyelid when they see me covered in mud and drenched in sweat during their weekend dog walking. I sometimes run into people at odd/scary moments: I had a brief (and slightly awkward) conversation with a snow biker in Cumberland when I ran past him mid urination, after having seen no one all day. I had a very close call with a high speed mountain biker coming the other way on the Northeast Comox woods which resulted in him pulling an impressive skid. Today I ran through (literally) a group of two women and a man while one was breastfeeding her baby on the trail – who were a little embarrassed!

Lots more training to come so stay tuned.


Naomi Claire

about 7 years ago

Brilliant :)
So inspiring Joe! I can see these trails in my head too, imagine you chatting awkwardly with the pee-er !
Can't wait to hear more about your big run!



about 7 years ago

Do you carry a puncture repair kit in that there bag?? ;-) good work chief!


Jessica A. Hawes

about 7 years ago

I'm not sure about that eating "on the move". I wouldn't have thought it was good for the digestive organs. Sucking a sweet or chewing gum maybe but rice balls - enough to make you choke. Worryng old Grannie



about 7 years ago

Yes lots of outdoors people here to blend in with! Though I have recently read a book about fell running the in the Lake District and those guys really are crazy! Thanks for your concern Gran, I had my doubts too but it went surprisingly well. The run could take as much as 8 - 10 hours which requires so serious food intake and stopping and having a proper meal would be too time consuming, hard to run on and could cause legs problems. So eating little and often seems like a better alternative. I am still learning though so baby steps.



about 7 years ago

Sounds like you've found a country full of people just as crazy as you!


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