4 weeks in…

I could say that January 2017 has been similar to January 2016 as far as my running is concerned.

Goals set, motivated, getting it done.

But a quick check on my training log from last year surprisingly shows that I’ve already put more miles in this month than Jan 2016.

I’ve been focussing a lot on pre planning my training. Typically on the Sunday of each week I’ve spent time planning the next weeks running. Not only thinking about what I’d do each day, but also making sure it fit with all the other activities, the work, the appointments, the life and the unknowns…

It’s so easy to have good intentions only for those to be lampooned by something from “Leftfield”… And even in my best year so far (2015), even when I was being privately coached, I never managed to master the art of proper pre planning, execution and “curve ball management”.

I’ve set my stall out seeking 5-6hrs of run training per week plus 1hr of strength and conditioning. That’s a fair increase in workload.

I’ve managed to string together 4 good weeks so far this month totalling over 180 miles. I’ve put in a few decent efforts at parkrun and started to introduce some threshold work. All in all I’m feeling fit and strong and only some slightly battered legs at times to be reported (and expected).

An example of how I’m managing to keep things going better than ever before was last week. A full week away with work in Marseilles and I was able.to get out 6am each day for a run around the marina. Usually I’d struggle to keep things ticking over.

On returning home on Friday I was able to recover quickly and put in a good XC session on the Town Moor. A tough session but got 10x just over half a mile with 1 minute rest done.

That should put me in good shape for a couple of XC races in February before I turn my attention to the more important goal of a 5k PB in March and 10k in April/May. 

Meanwhile I await news on my debut entry to the GNR and entry to the Blaydon Race in June.

Things coming together knowing that fitness advances usually take a good 6-8 weeks to firm up and all on track so far.

I’ve been reading (and greatly enjoying) Chrissie Wellington’s book A life without limits. 

It’s been a great read and a lesson in what can be achieved with the correct positive mindset, hard work and determination. Enjoy what you are doing and savour every minute of the journey you are on.

Thanks for reading.   

Running 2017

All told 2016 was a “tread water” type of year, at least as far as my running was concerned.

I’d started the year bright eyed and bushy tailed with a load of good intentions.

I hit things hard in January and overdid it a little.

Still a student of the game, I was very good at studying different training methods. But rather than study and follow and stick to a methodology I mixed and muddled things and ended up with soggy bread.

Frustratingly, and with the benefit of hindsight, I’d already been employing the right method (with the help of a coach) but I’d decided to go my own way not appreciating the progress I’d made and the big improvements I’d achieved. I lost sight of the bigger picture.

What followed was a stop start training mentally whereby I didn’t stick to anything and, truth be told, I lost a real goal and focus.

I wasn’t really committed to a race.

Unforced breaks in February and May were followed by a forced break in September.

On the positive side I had been part of  a decent 2nd place team placing at the Gordon Smith 2 mile relays with a PB of 10.34.

That had been my first taste of leading a race. I’d picked up 2nd leg with a huge lead and really got a buzz from pushing hard behind the lead bike.

Unfortunately that form didn’t transpire into a 10km PB at the Clive Cookson and to make matters worse I’d forgotten to put my chip timer on and was DQ’d. 

So rather than take the positives out of a 35.42 (only 5s off my PB at Blyth in April ’15) I was licking wounds somewhat after what was a tough night in humid conditions.

A parkrun PB over 5k at Newcastle did follow in June with a 17.05 but that remained one of a few highlights in the year.

In September I returned to training after a few weeks in Sri Lanka on holiday. With the benefit of hindsight I hit things too hard too soon and ended up with a hip injury and the withdrawal from the first XC race of the season at Wrekenton.

Looking back as I write this in Jan 2017 it was a blessing in disguise.

It forced me to re-assess my running.

I spent at least 4-6 weeks seeing a physio and started a proper S&C programme at Smart Fitness here in Newcastle. This week I’ll be starting my 13th week of my programme and it’s building me into a stronger runner.

I also had a return trip to see Dave Tune at Blizard Physio in Doncaster in early December. Dave had helped me through 2014 and 2015 and had coached me to some excellent improvements over 10k and XC.

It was good to get a line in the sand and proof that, although a lot of fitness had been lost, I could get back in shape with a sensible plan and some decent goals from March onwards in 2017.

So despite flat lining in 2016, and not achieving any of the goals I set myself, I feel it was a necessary part of my running journey.

My key goals in Spring 2017 are to PB over 5 and 10k. I’d also like to get back in at the Blaydon Race in June which is a favourite. I’ve also entered the ballot for the Great North Run. So a strong debut over HM is a key target later in the year. In the short term I’ll also look to get the last few XC in the training bank to add a bit of stamina.

Feeling motivated again and hope to get the blog back more regularly as I’ve noticed my running and blogging are complementary and help push me forward.