I’ve been thinking about what will I need to do to get me to the start of the Thames Path 100 and then recover enough three weeks later for the Grand Union Canal Race? These next few posts over the coming months will document my journey and training leading to my big month of May. Training has officially started and lucky because it’s already February! I can’t believe in just a few months time I’ll (hopefully!) be lining up on the start line of my third 100 mile race. I still look back and wonder where the time has gone and how on earth someone so average like me has managed to build up a list of running adventures like this. I am someone who swore blind a few years back that I’d “never, ever run even a marathon”. I thought that long distance running was bad for your body. Now I realise that we live in a completely chaotic universe where that may be true, or it may not be. No-one can tell you for sure. You will only do what you can and want to do. The only certainty I do know is that I love to run and that love of running rages deep inside. This brings me to the topic of my first month leading up to May, which is all about wanting to keep my head in a good space and keep the love for the running burning strong. Three weeks after the Thames Path 100 miler, I will also (hopefully again!) be lining up for the 2019 Grand Union Canal Race. Keeping my mind healthy and clear and keeping the love for the running and that fire burning is most important to me. I don’t want to suffer any deep mental fatigue during the month of May or leading up to it. I know I’ll be running on flat ground, next to water for both races. What is that going to do to the mind? So far, training has gone well and I’ve been in some of the best head space I have been, despite life’s usual curve balls and various things going on.
So how has January (month 1) gone? Swimmingly I think. Apart from keeping the mind clean and healthy which is a goal I will be keeping close attention to leading up to May, I also primarily wanted to start building up a good fitness base by doing at least two speed sessions a week. One of those really isolating the speed, pace and leg turnover using intervals, and the other to do threshold or tempo running depending on how I am feeling each week. That has all gone well. I think I’m in low eighteen minute 5k shape – sweet. I know I can keep up a good pace over the half marathon and marathon distance too, so the legs and body are moving well at the moment. Worth mentioning that I’m not looking to use this fitness in some kind of one event explosive way. I’m not building this fitness to smash any PB’s, but rather storing it up to help make the slower, longer stuff easier on the body in May.
Second to these goals is the need to build up distance, or time on feet. I’ve begun doing back to back weekend long
runs. Not too long, but slowly wanting to build up to twenty miles one day, with perhaps thirteen or so the next day. Unfortunately I’ve gone a bit too hard on this one already and have managed to end January with a double twenty miler. That’s bad because I’ve got a long way to go, and while incorporating multiple speed sessions during the week I feel it’s too much for my body to handle. February is going to start with a lower mileage week because January ended with pretty much 300 miles in total, and a last 100 mile week. Yep, it’s good too but I need to remain grounded and know that I cannot keep that up. Three hard weeks building – one easier week on the mileage and speed to recover the body a bit. To sum up, here are my goals at the moment –
1. Focus primarily on speed and speed endurance while slowly increasing my long runs mileage and back to back weekend runs. Then after February switch the focus and increase the mileage and just maintain the speed sessions. Keep them lighter if needed.
2. Keep the long runs and back to back runs very easy. There’s no need to run those fast while doing fast sessions during the week.
3. Eat better – eat more. Stop skipping breakfasts and fasting on the weekend! My body is going to need all the food it can get. Just try to keep it a bit healthier.
4. Do a bit more strength work, rolling & stretching and core strength work.
5. Keep loving the running. Love this process. Be mindful of how I feel in my head and in my body. Take a rest day if needed. Relax. I’m human.
I’m reading an interesting book at the moment called The Secret. It’s about the law of attraction. Something I’ve never really considered to think about for too long. It’s about how you have the things in your life because you attract them. I am using some of this newly gained thought to help get me through some runs. The mind is amazing. Kept clear, it can provide one of the best engines of support for your training and races. I’m really interested to hear if anyone else out there focuses on the mental side of things in build up to a race, and what techniques and practices you might use to do that? Please do get in touch. I love to read or hear what others do and how you train. There’s no such thing as bad information. Just use is as it works for you. Happy running everyone!