I realised whilst berating my daughter yesterday for not updating her blog that I should practice what I preach. It’s been a little while since I posted anything at all so thought I’d start by bringing you up to speed on what’s been going on with my running. It’s a purely running based post so if this doesn’t float your boat switch off now folks!
Generally things since the Bath Half have been good and I spent a good period of the month following getting out and covering miles both running and cycling but without any races in the diary I soon fell into the trap of losing my way and motivation. I’m pleased to report that I didn’t let the rot set in for long though and decided it was time to set myself a new goal. I guessed the next obvious goal following a half marathon is setting the sights on the full monty (26.2 miles). I spent a little while looking at races and training plans on the web and decided that with family life being busy enough already I actually was in no hurry to book in any event of that length this year (I like my targets realistic). Racing is fun and sharpens the mind and motivation for training but for me it isn’t the thing that floats my boat. I’ve put in for a ballot place for the London Marathon 2013 (it’d be nice to do it once..right?) but am almost hoping this doesn’t pay off as the North Dorset Village Marathon takes place just after London and is much lower key and closer to home (which suits my mentality perfectly). I’ll just have to see how this pans out. With both of those races now into next year though that still left me with the predicament of what to aim for now. The summer is coming and I want to maximise my first year of being fully running fit. I decided even without a marathon race planned maybe it would be worth my while training for one anyway. I mean what harm can it do. I’ll follow a 16 week marathon training plan now just to see how my body adapts to that kind of distance. Depending on how I feel once I reach the end of the plan I will then try and maintain as much of this fitness and extra mileage as I can until next year. If my running takes a dive over the winter months I can just repeat the plan again to take me back up to marathon ready status. It should be easier second time round right?
I got the training plan using the Runners Worlds Smart Coach website which takes some personal details and then works out a plan based on my previous half marathon PB (or whatever race you’ve done – its not just for marathons). I’ve attached a copy of my plan here for those interested in taking a peep. I’ve found it really useful to have structure around my training and it’s definitely paying dividends. The plan started off quite slowly and considering I’d done a fair amount of training already post Bath Half I actually took the decision early on to skip a few weeks ahead. A little bit of a risk but it seems to have paid off and I think I was ready in terms of fitness and stamina. I’ve completed week 1, (skipped 2, 3, 4), week 5, week 6 and am now mid-way through week 7. Last week I was meant to finish a 14 mile run but completed 16 miles with reasonable comfort. A new distance best!! The plan always suggests one short recovery run at a slow pace at the start of the week, one mid-distance run with some speed work/tempo thrown in mid-week and then a couple of rest days before a long slow run at the end of the week. At first the idea of just running 3 times a week(and 2 of those really slowly) seemed really counter intuitive but now I’m into the swing of it I can see the benefits. I think I previously fell into the trap of over training and this meant more often than not my runs didn’t feel good, lacked consistency and I picked up various niggling injuries. The plans structure so far has meant most runs have felt good and I can easily see improvements rather than constantly hitting set-backs. I hope it continues. Every 4 weeks the plan reverts from this structure to 3 mid distance runs at a slow pace to offer a consolidation period from the previous weeks. All very clever stuff but mostly common sense I guess (something I often lack). Rest Days are a joy at the start of each week but I need to start getting a little more cross training in. Core strength exercises I find no motivation for at all but I plan on overcoming this (yup anyday now…I promise!).
I do have a couple of local events I’m managing to slot into the plan and I’m beginning to really look forward to these. 2nd of June I’ll replace Sundays easy 7 mile run with a local 10k race on the Saturday known as the Egdon Easy . I’m also switching my 20 mile long run Sunday 17th June with however much of the Liberty Trail I can muster with other listeners of the Spikes running Podcast on Saturday 16th. I also want to take part in the Maiden Castle Loop in July and the Weymouth 10 in October If family commitments and working patterns allow. All exciting stuff.
To summarise – running still fills me with joy, gives me needed headspace, keeps me fit, healthy, motivated, smiling and light. The more I do – the more I enjoy it. I’m not mad, I’m certainly not perfect, I’m not some bionic man. The plan suggests running more. I hope that means more joy, more headspace, more healthy and more smiling. I have nothing to lose and everything to gain. What’s your plan?