Monday, 2 October 2017

OK, So here I am writing my first blog in almost a year.  Prior to that, I think the gap had been 7 years so I'm getting a lot more regular with my blogs!

So why the long gaps?  I guess it's a case of I don't think people are particularly interested in reading what a club standard runner, running way slower than any of his PBs is up to.  I only really started blogging in the first place because Simon from RunnersLife asked me to blog for his site when I was running at my best.  Even at my best, I was nothing compared to the likes of what Dewi Griffiths, Callum Hawkins, etc are doing and questioned what I was doing on there, but for some reason it ended up being the most read blog on the website.  At the time, blogging was a bit of new phenomenon and I loved reading what runners faster than me were doing in training, how they balanced training with working and family life and trying to glean pieces of information that might help me improve further. 

Yet here I am, back writing this blog.  Blogging has always helped me gather my thoughts, assess where I am, where I want to be and what I need to do to get there.  I could just write it down in a diary and have done with it, but there's a point in that last paragraph that explains why you'll still see a sporadic blog from me.  Reading blogs from people I related to helped me a lot, I learnt things, it motivated me even more than I already was and it inspired me.  Whether you're running at your best, struggling with injuries, low on motivation or finding it difficult to train due to work and family life, somebody will be able to relate to you.

So where am I?  I'm currently on day 17 of yet another injury layoff.  The latest injury a grade 2 calf tear sustained at the Northern Road Relays.  This will be my third long layoff in the last 15 months after 23 years of running more or less injury free.  I used to think I was invincible, I wondered why people got injured all the time and what stupid things must they be doing in their training to get injured.  Looking back, I really did take it for granted and if there's one thing I've learnt from all my years running and especially the last two years, consistency is the key to success. 

Where do I want to be?  I still have goals.  You wouldn't believe it to look at me but I turn 40 next year, and I really want to get myself as high up the veterans rankings as I can.  I also still have ambitions to run another serious marathon, but would only run a marathon again if I felt I could run a time that merited the commitment that I know marathon training requires.  After two years of inconsistent training, it's hard to lay down any time based targets at this stage.

What do I need to do to get there?  Consistency of training will be key.  I've learnt that consistency counts for so much.  One great training week does not get you results but a consistent stretch of solid weeks does. 

How do I achieve this?  I'll have to be careful with my training load.  I'm generally pretty good at coping with high mileage and respond really well to it.  I haven't managed to get my mileage to a decent level for a while but the goal will be to build the mileage slowly over the winter and for that to take more of a focus than the quicker race specific work.  Its this work that leaves me vulnerable to injury (the latest injury was unavoidable it must be added) especially on lower mileage.  I've found that once I get the mileage where it needs to be, the body is more capable of handling the intensity.  I do also need to consider not going quite as high with the mileage as previous and investing in a cross trainer to replace some of the missing mileage.

Can I get there and how much do I really want it?   The motivation is a little different now from when I was running PBs, but when I turn 39 next month, I know that the next 12 months will be critical for laying the foundations for any success I might be able to achieve after 40.  And if I can start getting my 5k and 10k times competitive in the age group, there may just be one more serious marathon in me...

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