I enjoy running over the festive period.
Typically I take the time off work over Christmas and New Year so overall it’s a good opportunity to get some decent running done.
Like most normal people the period also means eating and drinking more than usual and also probably some later nights and long lie ins.
So not every run feels great but it’s good to blow away the festive cobwebs with a run out.
I’ve deliberately ditched the heart rate monitor and sought to “run on feel” and to simply “time on feet” to avoid any unnecessary anxiety about variability that is par for the course at this time of year.
I was happy that this period coincided with my rib injury being pretty much healed. So the plan was to get back to a schedule of 6 days of running.
On Christmas Day and Boxing Day I was back in my home town of Chester le Street.
In 2016 I’d gone out for a long run on Christmas Day and ended up in bed ill later that day and missed the Boxing Day trip down to Hexham to see my girlfriends family. I was keen to avoid that this year.
The plan for both days this year was a simple 40 minute recovery run. I decided on a slightly new route which ended up perfect – from my parents house up towards Waldridge, onto the “new road” and down the A167 into Chester le Street, down the back of the front street and all the way back up to Waldridge Park Estate.
Both days ended up with 45 mins total and around 6.3-6.5 miles. The route was easy first half and challenging back up the hill second half so ideal to ease in to the run and then work to the end.
On Wednesday the plan was a 50 minute recovery run. Being down Hexham I decided on my usual route passing the rowing club and along the river and the railway track. It was approximately 25 minutes out and back. Like my runs in Chester le Street the first half was slightly easier gradient wise than second meaning a natural increase in effort back home.
Thursday was an easy 30 minute recovery run plus strides. Not much to report as I ran the usual Kenton route heading down to the Town Moor and back up.
Didn’t feel that good but the strides felt fine which was pleasing since it was the first time I’d opened myself up a little for a long time.
Friday was a rest day.
In truth I didn’t really feel like I needed it but stuck to plan to make sure the legs were given a chance to catch up if required. Also, it snowed quite heavily meaning an outdoor run would have been tricky. The local school gym I use is shut until the New Year.
On Saturday the weather had improved although the pavements remained treacherous. The plan was another 50 minute recovery. I decided to get the innov8 trail shoes back out and run laps round the local Kenton dene. This was the first time I had put the trail shoes back on since the fall on the 19th of November that had led to the cracked rib… So it was mixed emotions.
Running for 50mins on the local dene is more a mental challenge than physical as each lap is only just over 3 minutes so it becomes quite monotonous. However I enjoyed it especially since I found myself getting stronger as the run went on.
Going into it I felt like 7:30/mile would be sufficient taking things into account – especially the conditions underfoot with snow and ice still present. However, I settled into just over 7 minute mile pace quite easily and was able to pick up nicely the last few miles. Overall I completed well over 7 miles and felt refreshed for it.
On Sunday I was looking to complete a full hour of running. This was calculated as a pre requisite for my upcoming cross country race next week. The eagle eyed will note that all my runs have been easy recoveries and the key has been to build a bit of an endurance base following my time out injured. So it was felt if I could build a long run back up to approx 1hr that would be enough to warrant an outing in a race that could be used as a hard training run.
I was pleased with the plan as I’m very keen to achieve 100% attendance in the Harrier League this season and to defend my current standing in the Individual Grand Prix.
The run itself was solid with 8.8 miles completed in the hour at times against a strong wind.
So in total for the festive week I completed 4hrs 51m of running and 41.5 miles. Very pleasing and bodes well for the start of 2018.
In total for 2017 I ran over 1,500 miles which was well up on 2016 but well below the target of 2,000. The key for me next year is to build on some of the positives from 2017 namely continuing the good disciplines and realisation that consistency is king.
No one magic training session exists. Succeeding in running comes from solid and consistent training, allowing the body to positively adapt to the stresses placed upon it and having the mindset to perform confidently on race day.
I feel 2017 has been a solid year where I achieved the key breakthrough in the 5k and established a line in the sand for the half marathon. I performed as good as ever in the early part of the XC season and although I had an unfortunate end to the year I feel like I have shown more maturity in dealing with the setback.
I now have a very strong base from which to build. I have a coach that believes in me and I just need to get out and do what I know I can. And in doing so I am very confident I can achieve my goal of new PBs over 5 and 10k and the HM and have a very good go at selection for a Masters England vest.
Thanks for reading and Happy New Year to all. I look forward to continuing this blog in what I believe will be an exciting year for me personally!!!