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Training Block Challenges: The Road to Knoydart

Training block struggles

Photo Credit: Hana Asano 

I had done it. My redemption run was complete. I crossed the finish line of the Antelope 100 in just a bit over 28 hours. Doing a race I had previously not finished was a great way to gauge my progress over two years and I could not be more proud of myself. Still, I was tired and life carried on. Little did I know the training block ahead in the next 5 weeks would be a rocky one. After putting down 10 miles in the week after the event, I felt a pain in my Achilles. This training block would bring many challenges. 


In the days following the race, I had x-rays done on my right foot. Thankfully, the soreness had not gotten worse, but it had also not gotten better. And now, my achilles was an issue. Fortunately, the results of the x-ray came back negative, ruling out any potential for a Jones fracture. The next week came and my runs were still labored. I found myself limping after easy runs, forcing me to take days off. Despite having experience with injuries before, this still sucked. The forward momentum carried over from Antelope 100 turned into dread over the future of my triple crown. 

Three Solid Weeks

As an overthinker, I knew action was the only cure. Searching the internet, I turned my focus onto Achilles rehab and foot stability exercises. My goal was to increase my foot strength leading into the Highland Ultra. In the middle of a season, building more strength wasn’t an option so much as focusing on recovery and handling muscle imbalances. Whatever I did, it worked. The runs got better and better and I put down three solid weeks of training leading into the Highland Ultra in Scotland. 


Biggest Year Yet 

Knowing this would be my biggest year yet, I carefully cultivated my race schedule to take on a challenge in every race but have every effort stack towards the next one. The Highland Ultra was another redemption run of sorts as it would be my first multi-stage self-sufficient race since the Jungle Ultra in 2022, an event put on by the same Race Director. In this event, I would have to carry 20 lbs worth of gear, medical items, nutrition, and more. This 125 KM (~75 Mile) event over 3 days would be a strong training week for the Triple Crown. The Highland Ultra would check off the boxes on long runs, technicality, and vertical gain (over 17,000 ft). 

How You Respond

On April 15th, I set off towards Edinburgh, Scotland, a mixed 5-week training block behind me. During this training cycle, I struggled with the ramifications of Antelope 100, but I had some strong efforts. A 25 KM (15.5 mile) training run came during a rainy San Diego day, providing similar conditions to the Highland Ultra. A 12 mile progression run vs followed by a 3 hour mountain run and uphill workout. Overall, I was pleased with my consistency despite the setbacks. Ultimately, it’s how you respond and take care of yourself.  

Off to Inverie 

One flight and a six-hour train ride later, I made it to Mallaig, a small portside town in Scotland that was a hub to the Atlantic Ocean and some of Scotland’s most remote territories. Arriving at midnight, I was pretty exhausted. Knowing my loved ones would be asleep by the time I woke up, I said my goodbyes for the next 3 days. After breakfast, I boarded the Western Isles ferry with some of the other runners and we were off to Inverie, the gateway to Knoydart.

Highland Ultra 

On the next chapter of this enjoying the journey, I’ll dive deep into the 3-days at the Highland Ultra, which turned out to be one of the toughest ultra running events I have ever done. Despite knowing this would be tough, I could not have anticipated just how much Britain’s last wilderness would challenge me mentally, physically, and spiritually. Another training block had passed, and it was now time for action. 


Aum Gandhi Run Tri Bike Magazine Co-Owner

Aum Gandhi is a social media manager, content writer, and co-owner of Run Tri Bike. An active ultrarunner, Aum has a palpable love for the sport and the trail community. His purpose in all his professional and personal activities is to inspire others by leaving a positive impact. Aum maintains a personal blog on his website in which he shares both his running exploits and features of energizing endurance athletes to all audiences. In his free time, you’d probably catch Aum reading, crewing at races, playing video games, out on the trails, or watching NBA Basketball.