This is the first post I have written for the blog since April 15th when I withdrew from the Brecon Beacons Half Marathon.
Back in April, as I mentioned, I was suffering from writer’s block, depression and a general malaise – I was not particularly happy at all and I decided to take a break from getting my racing year underway and a break from writing as both were just additional stresses and deadlines imposed on a life that already had enough of both!
I pulled myself together towards the end of April and began looking forward to the challenges I have ahead of me in the summer – Mont Blanc Marathon, Lakeland 50 and the TDS. I adjusted my training plan from a huge 30 week block covering all three races in one document and pared it down to 3 documents, one for each race. I also changed my focus from having Lakeland 50 as my A-Race and instead chose to focus on TDS – I figured with MBM and LL50 in my legs and with the mountain racing experience in my brain I could stand to do better than I may have originally anticipated at TDS. Only time will tell and I will still be happy if I can cross the finish line before the cut-off having the feeling that I have pushed hard for however long and left it all on the course. After all, that’s what racing is about. That is why I race.
Week 1 of Mont Blanc Marathon training began in earnest week beginning 18th April and from there I have steadily built up a lot of strength and speed! I decided to mix up my training having spent a lot of the winter months either on the treadmill or running/hiking very muddy trails. Weeks 1 to 3 of MBM training were all road based and Weeks 4 to 6 have focused on road running during the week with longer trail runs on Saturdays and Sundays. I have also ditched my heart rate monitor for this training block which is why my speed has increased quite significantly – I undertake all of my runs entirely on feel and have found that I can comfortably average between 4:30 and 4:40 per km up to (and likely beyond) 30km, over shorter distances (5k, 8k up to 14k) I can comfortably run 4:00-4:10 per km and if I push it during 5 to 12k workouts I can hold 3:45-3:55 pace. So, during Week 5 (beginning 16th May) and Week 6 (beginning 23rd May) I found myself taking down many of my shorter distance PRs that I had held since 2014!
5k – 18:40 (down from 18:47 in 2014)
8k – 28:26 (down from 30:01 in 2014)
10k – 36:54 (down from 37:55 in 2014)
10 Miles – 1:07:50 (down from 1:09:xx in 2014)
HM – 1:33:37 (down from 1:34:09 in 2015)
On the evening I set my new 10k PR I decided to enter a 10k race and found one taking place near my work on the evening of Thursday 26th May. It felt great to get back to racing and although I started with what felt like pretty fresh legs I had to work hard to finish in 6th place in 38:45 – it was a tactical and hard run race over 3 laps of Regent’s Park and even though on the start line I thought I would try for yet another PR I knew within the first 500m that this was a fantasy and I needed to concentrate on the task at hand, give everything I had in the tank and be pleased with the outcome no matter what!
Running the Regent’s Park 10k was exactly the kick start I needed and it reignited my passion for racing – I forgot how much I enjoy pushing myself on tarmac over short distances and as such I entered my local 5k race which takes place the weekend after I return from Mont Blanc Marathon on July 3rd. I ran the 10k in 2012 and finished 12th and then again in 2014 I ran my former PR of 37:54 and finished 7th. I figured I’d have a go at the shorter distance this time around as I have never raced 5k on any surface before.
I have updated my Races page with an updated schedule for this year and also with a provisional plan for 2017. I will expand on my plans for 2017 in another post!
I will wrap up my first attempt at a monthly post with the news that I am now enrolled on a British School of Yoga Hatha teacher training course. It is largely home study and practice with a couple of practical weekends but hopefully within the next 12 months I will be a certified and qualified yoga teacher! Yoga has become as a much of a passion to me as running and I believe regular, daily practice since February (and more ad hoc practice from December 2015) has made me a stronger runner, a more confident person in general and provides a very low impact stress relief that you don’t find in cross training with weights, on the bike or in the pool.
With that dear reader I shall bid you good day and Happy May. I hope that June treats everybody well and that you all enjoy your running! Until June, adieu!
Peace & Blessings