Injuring myself at Country to Capital at the start of the year forced me to the sidelines for quite a while and led to a relatively quiet year on the ultra scene for me! This also meant I had some time to think about what I wanted to do once I recovered. Obviously I started by simply wanting to finish an ultra and then to continue on to have a decent race at Lakeland 50 – at the time of writing I can happily say I accomplished both of those goals.
I remained steadfastly disciplined during my recovery in terms of not entering any ultras after Lakeland. My plan was to see how I felt afterwards. What I hadn’t bargained for was my passion for racing and my desire to always have a goal to aim for! This lead me to enter the Brighton Marathon which is due to take place in April 2018. This will be my first road marathon since Frankfurt in 2014 and as soon as I entered my mind went straight to goal setting and this then led into what I have now called Project Road Runner!
I don’t think it will come as a surprise to any regular reader of this blog, or to any seasoned runner, that the A-goal I have set for Brighton is 2:55 – this gives me enough room for error on the day and in the lead up as my current road marathon PR stands at 3:19:10 which I set back in Frankfurt! As Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack has said:
“Goals, when set, can be lofty and at times far away. For this reason it’s important to identify what the goal is—but even more important to know the process you have put in place to reach that goal. The process is the most important, and understanding how it relates to the bigger picture helps you remain in control of the journey.”
So what is the process to reach the goal of a road marathon PR at Brighton? The process is Project Road Runner.
Over 7 months I intend to shift my focus from predominantly ultra trail based racing and training and switch over to more of a road and speed focus – I’ll be racing a number of road races to build speed endurance and also the cross country season (November to February) to build strength. My aim for each of the road races I’ve entered is simple – transform the training into a new PR! I have not focused on speed or road running since returning from Germany back in 2014. For the sake of Project Road Runner I have included PRs set outside of races where I have not beaten a training PR for any reason, but for the sake of the Project I have set the parameter that any new PR must be set in a race. My current PRs:
5km – 18:41 (Training, May 19th 2016)
5 Miles – 30:31 (Pednor 5 Road Race, May 1st 2017)
10km – 37:50 (Bushey 10k, July 6th 2014)
10 Miles – 1:07:12 (Training, June 8th 2016)
Half Marathon – 1:28:43 (St. Albans Half Marathon, June 11th 2017)
Marathon – 3:19:10 (Frankfurt Marathon, October 26th 2014)
I have set target races for each distance but by no means is that race schedule set in stone. If I happen to be feeling on top of my game and in good form then I will do my utmost to find a race that I have yet to set a PR for and get to it! The target races are:
5km – parkrun/TBC
5 Miles – TBC
10km – TBC
10 Miles – Fred Hughes 10 Miler, January
Half Marathon – Watford Half Marathon, February
Marathon – Brighton Marathon, April
I’ll be using TrainingPeaks for the first time to help me plan out my training, stay focused and keep an eye on my progress. I’ll still be using Strava but mainly as an interactive platform as I feel that is the way it is heading – before long it’ll be more of an endurance social media platform than it currently is! It certainly still has a place, but after giving TrainingPeaks a go I can’t praise it highly enough for the opportunity it provides to dig deep into the specifics of each workout and to monitor the long term trends of your training! I know that’s not everyone’s cup of tea but it is definitely mine.
So that is Project Road Runner!
But what about afterwards?
A couple of weeks after Brighton Marathon Sarah and I will be heading to India for 3 weeks which is going to be an amazing way to reward a long training block and to kick back and get away from structured training. Our flights are booked and we have a loose plan to head from Amritsar on the Pakistan border across northern India – we aim to travel mostly by train and we hope to visit New Delhi, Rishikesh, Lucknow, Agra, Varanasi, Bodhgaya and finish in Kolkata on the Bangladesh border.
After we return there will be new goals to reach, new processes to follow and new challenges to face!
I am extremely excited about the next 9 months!