A few weeks ago my girlfriend Lorna invited me to join her and a few of the Colchester running club on a training weekend in Winterton-on-sea. This is a training weekend that they have done for many years. Having a few races coming up I thought it would be good timing and so accepted the offer. Before we headed to the coast Lorna and I did a short shakeout run in London on the Friday morning, we did 5k along the river which was good despite cold windy conditions. In the afternoon we met Alex (Lorna’s brother) to be picked up. We travelled up to Winterton-on-sea stopping off to stock up on all the essential running fuel. This included full breakfast ingredients (for Saturday & Sunday morning), rocky roads, millionaire shortbreads etc and Frozen (the film) cupcakes for Alex’s birthday. All the good stuff!
We quickly unpacked and then headed to the pub, The Fishermans Return. The pub was really nice and the food was perfect for fuelling up for what was planned over the weekend. The portions were massive! We had a few drinks and spent the evening chilling and playing darts, I don’t like to brag but I think I won. We got a pretty early night to make sure we all had lots of energy for the three sessions on the Saturday.
It was funny that Ben was running in a North London Half finishers t-shirt and that’s a race I did earlier this year (I suppose it’s not that funny given the fact I’ve done a lot of races!). Mid way through the run we couldn’t resist jumping off a few sand dunes:
We went back to the cottages where Adam (chef for the weekend) had prepared an awesome fry up. We ate quickly and then were soon off for the second session of the day. This was a short sharp hill session on the dunes.
We ran three sets of four reps in relay teams of 3, so we got about 90 seconds rest between 200m laps. It was fun to push the pace and be racing people around each lap. The hill session was hard because every lap you were going from a harder surface to sand and back, on an undulating trail.
After the hill session Lorna and I ran passed the single roundhouses where they used to stay for the training weekend. We went back to the cottages to rest for a couple of hours and brace ourselves for the circuit training Paul had up his sleeve. A few of the group went with the power nap approach, kind of wish I had too. I was thinking “Oh it’ll just be a couple of press ups and sit ups and I can take it easy”. After refuelling on some rocky roads, shortbreads and Cornelia’s awesome lemon drizzle cake we made our way back to the dunes for the circuit training.
The circuit training consisted of all different kinds of exercises including press ups, burpees, crab walks etc. We did each drill for 60 seconds, rested for a bit and then did another 30 seconds. Paul was properly cracking the whip and we had motivational music which some enjoyed more than others (Ben Chivers! Ha). Once the session was done Paul offered a beer to the first person in the sea so we got to witness a great race between Robbie and Dave. A lot of the others joined them in the sea, I decided I preferred to be a little warmer, spoil sport I know. We shuffled our aching bodies back to the cottages once again, it was so rewarding to get back in the warm and dry.
As Winterton-on-sea is a little smaller than London we went back to the Fishermans Return (basically the only pub).
This may sound like I’m complaining but with a menu like theirs I was happy to be going there again. The pub was really big; we found the pool table upstairs and played darts again. On Saturday there was a “band” playing, this was interesting as it was basically a man with an electronic keyboard playing all the 70’s (I think) classics. We got a relatively early night again as we were all pretty tired and we also knew a long run was planned for the Sunday morning.
We woke up on Sunday to the noise of 45 mph winds hitting the side of the cottage, perfect long run conditions. With all our warm clothes on we set off along the road, straight into the wind. This part was the hardest of the run because we were all still aching from the hills and circuits but once we turned a few corners and had loosened up a little we felt good. Most of the group were track runners and therefore quite a lot of them stopped around half way and got picked up by Dave in the car. However Lorna and I, having done more half marathons and marathons, carried on with Robbie and Jake (quick sixteen year old track runner). Robbie has been running for around 20 years or so mainly running 400/800ms and Jake was doing his furthest ever run, his previous being 6k. We ran along the dunes and went to see the seals on the beach. After a short stop we ran on some nice undulating trails to finish our 14k run. The whole weekend was great fun, but for me the best part was the long run, I may have to visit Winterton-on-sea again soon to explore more of the dunes and trails.
Overall I really enjoyed the weekend, it has made me realise how much I enjoy trail running and that I should be doing more circuit training, hills, and/or strength and conditioning work. Over the next couple of weeks I will be doing a decent amount of miles before the Trailscape East Marathon on the 5th of December with the AR Adidas Trail team. It’ll then be about doing base miles for next year’s races which I’m really looking forward to. I hope those of you that raced over the weekend had a great one; it’s been good to see a lot of your achievements on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Strava.
See a lot of you soon.
Photos courtesy of Lorna (@lorns_runs)