Training Specificity – Bennachie Hill Training


Following on from my shock PB at the D33 last weekend, the working title of my follow on post had been ‘Everybody Was Kung-Flu Fighting’, a clever (by my standards) play on the events of the week after the D33, starting with the first family visit to the cinema (Kung Fu Panda 3), and followed by battles against the flu.

However, given that I somehow, miraculously managed to escape the flu, it just didn’t seem appropriate. I’m almost as surprised at dodging the flu bullet as I was at the PB if I am being honest. You see, the arrangement that we have in our house is that the wee fella takes whatever bug is on the go amongst his friends into the house, recovering almost as quickly as he succumbed, mummy soldiers on without even getting a sniffle, and daddy gets some full blown, extended version of whatever nasty flu/cold/etc it is. That’s just the way it is (cue Bruce Hornsby song playing in head).

This was particularly true last year when, on the Sunday immediately following the D33 I felt ‘below par’ and, by my return home from work on the Monday, feeling even worse, I was starting to exhibit the signs of full blown Chickenpox, something that I had somehow managed to avoid my whole life. Within the space of a few hours, I went from having a few spots to being able to complete a body wide join the dots! Thankfully, I somehow weathered the Chickenpox, despite some of the gloom and doom warnings that I received, and was back to normal and back to work within a week, far short of the expected absence time.

Hopefully the absence of illness on my part will continue, especially given that my birthday is just a week away. To celebrate, we are off for an extended weekend in the Cairngorms, staying at Glenmore Lodge for the first time. I’m particularly looking forward to having access to the Glenmore Lodge facilities and, further, to the close proximity to many of my favourite trails.

On Saturday I took Harris for his first Park Run as an actual ‘participant’, running with the buggy alongside Carolyn Hare, one 1/2 of my West Highland Way support team. Running with the buggy is actually not something that I’ve done much of before, most likely due to my preference for trail rather than road/pavement. However, it’s most definitely something that I will do again. The Ellon Park Run participants were very accommodating of the buggy and welcomed Harris on his inaugural outing, which he totally loved.

My legs were still feeling some of the effects of the previous weekends D33, after some weird mid-week DOMS which I can only attribute to the cramping experienced in the final miles of the race, or, perhaps, as a result of stretching already tired legs at Tuesday’s Pilates class. That, combined with never really having run with the buggy in any timed manner before, meant that I had no idea how well (or otherwise) things would go. Would Harris want to get out along the route, for example?

I needn’t have worried. My passenger enjoyed the ride, and I finished in a time of 26:35, quite a bit off of my Park Run PB, but most definitely better than I had expected. What’s more, I suspect that I assisted at least one person to pick up the pace as they refused to be beaten by a guy with a buggy! Harris most definitely enjoyed the post-run cake as well so I don’t expect any objections should I decide to take him along again.

On Sunday, I  decided to address one of the weaknesses in my training. As good as it is to have the Formartine & Buchan Way extending both North and South out of Ellon, as a former railway line, there’s a distinct lack of hills, just as you would expect!

Back in 2010, at the Montane Highland Fling (as it was known back then), I had my one and only DNF to date, largely due to Conic Hill and the effect that it had on my race ‘strategy’. The main issue was, without a doubt, the lack of specificity in my training: (Google Search)

What are the principles of training?

The best training programmes are built on principles of specificity, overload, progression and reversibility. You can also use the FITT acronym to help remember the key things to consider when tailoring programmes for individual sporting goals. It stands for; Frequency, Intensity, Time and Type.

What are the principles of specificity?

Specificity is the principle of training that states what you do in the gym should be relevant and appropriate to your desired outcome. Training must go from general (at the beginning) to specific (as the program progresses).

And to this effect, I took myself off to Bennachie this weekend, for just shy of four hours of hill repeats, covering approx 14 miles in total and some 4,300 feet of ascent as I ascended and descended Mither Tap three times, Millstone Hill twice, and various other tops.

Bennachie Movescount

The legs are, surprisingly, feeling not too bad today but I think an easy day is in order, so perhaps a lunch time swim to help ease things off.

Cairngorms on Friday – can’t wait!