I set out to better my road racing PRs and aside from missing out on 5k, 5 miles and 10k I have set personal bests at 10 miles (1:04:56), Half Marathon (1:28:06) and Marathon (3:16:49). Project Road Runner is now officially complete!
I am extremely pleased with all of those results – significant improvements! I am sure that 5k, 5 miles and 10k will follow at some point in the future – I just couldn’t find space in my racing schedule for those distances without them impacting on my overall goal of a marathon PR.
What did I learn?
Well, I learned that unless I really love something I struggle to engage fully in the process. I found it very difficult to do the necessary longer and faster road runs required throughout the winter and longed for my usual winter trail and treadmill efforts. But with that being said I think I may have also learned I could be able to run faster at an Autumn or early Winter marathon. If I set a race goal in that period I could train through the Spring and Summer months which would be far more enjoyable because during this time I don’t mind running track, road or trail; I just love being outside.
I also learned that maybe being coached isn’t for me. I thank my coach for teaching me a lot about myself and some more about eating and drinking the right amounts during training and racing but I really missed being able to set my own schedule. A lot of people say that having a coach helps them to feel more accountable to something other than themselves but for me, honestly, I think it became another source of perceived authority to rebel against. I had wanted to try and train for a sub-3 hour marathon in April and then continue into some fast 70.3 triathlon training and my coach was aware of that. From October 2017 my training looked so much more different than I was used to – it knocked my confidence which in turn threw my consistency. The learning I took from this is that although I enjoyed the multi-sport races I did with my own cobbled together ‘training’ prior to being coached, I did not enjoy the routine and feel of actual triathlon training. It basically boiled down to ‘I’m a runner and I want to run – lofty triathlon goals be damned!’. So, those lofty triathlon goals have been damned and I may or may not race a 70.3 in September (I’m entered but may DNS or drop down to Standard distance).
The Project has given me the confidence in my speed over shorter distances and I think that it will translate well now I’m heading back to trails and ultras. I will still race shorter road races and in August I have a flat trail marathon planned and then November a relatively flat 50k planned. The focus after Project Road Runner is to get back into some consistency with my run training, I am very much looking forward to following a loosely structured program but with no external oversight other than my Strava friends and myself!
It is a strange conclusion to the project as I thought I would find myself in the best shape I’d ever been in but I really don’t. Yes, I’ve set some decent PRs but if anything I feel quite unfit at the moment! This is probably down to my lack of consistency – I’ve weighed myself and I’m no heavier than usual, my resting HR is pretty much averaging out the same but there is some sort of innate confidence that is missing. I know this will return and I hope it returns sooner rather than later!
However, before I get back to training consistently, I have 20 days in India to look forward to! Sarah and I fly out to Amritsar on May 3rd and we’ll be back home on May 24th. Until then I wish you all happy running.