A week of good intentions

I had such a great week of running the week before last, and then this last week all my running plans went to pot!

After the trail race on Sunday I was straight back out again with strong legs for 6.5 road miles on Monday night.  A good start to the week at least!

Tuesday was always going to be a rest day.

Wednesday was supposed to be the club trail run, but Oscar hadn’t settled at all during the entire day and I had gotten nothing done.  I really just needed to hand him over to Dan as soon as Dan walked through the door home from work so that I could catch up on life admin and cleaning, so that is what I did.  I must admit, the driving rain and wind screaming outside our porch door really didn’t make me regret my choice that evening!

Thursday was Storm Doris day.  Dan had to work late and I really didn’t fancy tackling Storm Doris in the pitch black hours after Oscar had gone to bed.  Oscar also finally spent his first night in his own bedroom, so I kind of needed to be at hand in case he didn’t agree with us that he was ready!

Friday – Dan and I were taking Oscar to meet up with some of Dan’s work colleagues at Nandos in Cambridge.Top Gun Top Son - Dan with OscarI did melt a little taking this photo on the night.  A few people pointed out that I should have a ‘Top Wife’ t-shirt to go along with the theme, but I think there’s probably a fine line between ‘cute’ and ‘loser!  Haha!
The plan was for me to run on our return from Nandos, whilst Dan watched Oscar along with the football on TV.  An accident on the A14 meant miles of tailbacks and not returning home until gone 9pm with a then-grumpy husband though as he had missed most of the football!  By the time Oscar was fed and changed I was too exhausted to even consider going out, especially knowing that I had to get up early to make parkrun the following day.  An early night for me!

Saturday – I finally managed to get a run in!  I was Oscar-free for parkrun this week so got up a little earlier and arrived at the Racecourse in Northampton with plenty of time to park (or to manage to grab the last parking space at 8:10am!) so that I could fit a few warm-up miles in to start with.  I ended up just short of 3 miles run at sub 10mm pace in the end.
I decided not to run around the park for my warm-up miles as I’ve run around the park so many times for parkrun before.  Instead, I headed off out of the far end of the park and planned to just keep turning left until I ended up back where I started.  After twenty minutes though and with me still unable to recognise any of the streets I was running down, I started to get a bit of a panic on!  As I was sporting my bright red ’50 parkruns’ t-shirt it was clear that I was out to run parkrun that morning – so if I was heading in completely the opposite direction I would have looked a bit of a wally!  Luckily I finally stumbled upon The Good Loaf and found my way back from there.  Sometimes it pays to know all the bakeries in town! 😉
There were several branches and large twigs strewn across the paths of the parkrun in places and one (fairly) large tree lay completely across the path at one point early on in the run.  I had been aware of this before rocking up to parkrun that morning as Dan had spotted it on his Facebook feed the previous evening.  The tree was runnable round, but it didn’t make for a fast course on Saturday.  This was partly what made my mind up to get some extra miles in beforehand and then take the parkrun itself fairly steadily.
So I ran round and chatted with Laura for a fairly easy 32 minutes and 7 seconds instead.

Northampton parkrun tree(Picture from the Northampton parkrun Facebook page)

Garmin time: 32:07
Official time: 
32:07
Position: 
391/549
Gender position: 
115/222
Age category position: 
26/38

Laura and I both commented on how busy the course had felt the whole way round and we only just managed to cross the finish line before the end of the funnel queue spilled out past the line.  It was another new attendance record at Northampton this week with 549 runners!
That was parkrun number 73 for me.  No bakery afterwards this week as Laura and I were meeting our friend Steph at Beckworth Emporium for cake later on after showers instead.

Berry pavlova from Beckworth Emporium

And what a cake it was!  Berry pavlova?…Yum!

Sunday – I felt rather guilty asking Dan if I could head out for an organised long run two Sundays in a row, but he did say I could!  Running from home never takes so long or is as faffy so I don’t feel quite as guilty on those days, but I much prefer running with others at the weekend.  Organised runs or races mean I end up being away for a lot longer and I need to be a little more choosy about which events/social occasions I attend now that we have Oscar to look after.
On Sunday our club trail run was headed round the course route from the half marathon we had run the previous week.  The dozen or so of us ran the two loops of the course in the opposite order though – running the 8 mile loop first, followed by the shorter 6 mile loop.  The idea was to double check that no rubbish had been left behind from the race and also clarify the route where several of us had gone wrong the week before.
I had intended on running wearing my running bag the week before (The Ultimate Direction PB vest) so that I could get used to running with it ready for my upcoming ultra and also check that it still fit over my boobs since having a baby!  Annoyingly, having not needed to wear it for the best part of a year I couldn’t put my hands on it come race morning, so had to go without.  I did manage to find it for my long run on Sunday though.


I replaced the water in the bottles and discovered two naked bars, a running cap and an emergency £5 in various pockets of the vest!  Gotta love finding emergency cash in places you’d forgotten you ever stored it!
I found running with the bag so much tougher than I remembered.  Obviously it should be tougher carrying extra weight and it was a fairly warm day on Sunday too.  I could still easily run the 14.8 miles we covered, but it wasn’t at the pace I would have run at usually.
We did manage to establish that we had gone wrong on the course the previous week though – not that someone had moved the tape as previously reported.

Where we went wrong on the Welly trail half marathon courseIt’s kind of hard to describe but using the map above to help I’ll give it a go!  Last week we came in from the right hand side of that map (the red line).  We headed right, along the outside of one of the field boundaries and all the way back up the hill towards the way we had come in.  Here (marked by a blue star above) there were a couple of pieces of red and white tape marking the course on our right so we were convinced that we were following the correct path.  We went up and back down that hill two more times before heading back out of the field to the bottom left on the map above following somebody’s instructions over the phone.  What we actually should have done on the day is followed the dark green line along the left hand side of the field, heading down the hill, with the tape on our left hand side guiding us out the other way!  Great way of adding extra race miles in though!  Whoops!

Were any of your running routes affected by Storm Doris/Ewan?

The Welly Trail race

It was two years ago when members of our club first started talking about organising a trail race at local venue, Castle Ashby.  The idea grew and grew and eventually became a reality.  Then, when places were released towards the end of last year, the event was a complete sell out within three weeks!

Welly Trail races banner

Although I would normally be one of the first to put my name down to help marshal at a club event, I decided that this event was one that I wanted to run and would be a good aim for a first race back following my pregnancy.  (In actual fact I ran two cross-country races first, but of distances of no more than 10k.)  Despite not being able to marshal on the day I helped in other ways before the event by setting up the website with online booking and helping to design the medal.

Of course, trail distances are never actual race distances, and the half marathon that I was entered for was an alleged 14.4 miles – more than a mile further than you expect of a road half!

As always, with Oscar it meant that a great deal of organisation was required in order to be able to get there in the first place.  It was a 9:30am race start which required a 5:30am get up for me in order to then express, feed Oscar, shower, change and have breakfast before heading over to register at the event.  I went for a breakfast porridge and blueberries.  Probably a bit stodgy for my liking had I been planning on running a fast road race, but it was spot on to fill me up ready for the trail race.

My Mum had asked earlier in the week if I planned on ‘racing’ the event.  I hadn’t really thought about it until she asked, but knew that I wanted to run it to the best of my ability on the day.  I always race better on my own than I do in a large group so the intention was not to run with anybody but to just enjoy being out and about in the countryside in the perfect race conditions that we were lucky enough to have last Sunday.

As it was a club event I knew that I would know all the marshals out on the course, which is always a lovely boost.  There were also several of our own out running the event who I saw on the way round.

As always seems to be the way at races, I seemed to manage to get into the background of several other people’s photos!

There was a hen party running the 10k event, and they were all fully dressed for the occasion!

Welly Trail Races - hen party

(Picture credit)

It’s a fast start down the Castle Ashby drive, before we immediately came upon heavily rutted ground alongside a row of trees.  People were still in the process of finding their place in the pack at this point so I did a fair bit of overtaking here.  There were quite a few non-trail runners who perhaps began to realise at this point the enormity of the event they had entered! Welly Trail races - start(Picture credit)

All of the half marathon and 10k runners set off at the same time, with the canicross entries setting off 5 minutes later so as not to trip up runners in the mad dash from the start! I ran an incredibly strong first 10k.  With it being a trail race my intention was to walk the steepest of hills from the beginning just as I would in an ultra so as not to tire myself out.  There were only two or three hills where I felt the need to walk and then, thanks to my long stride, I was still overtaking runners anyway.  There was a stile two miles in, but by the time I arrived at it there were only a couple of runners in front of me, so there wasn’t too much hanging around.  I never run in gloves, but decided to on Sunday, and it was at this point that I threw them to a marshal for me to pick up again later on. Welly Trail races There was a drink station just after the stile where quite a few runners had stopped.  I decided to carry on and make use of the next drink station instead, although regretted this decision not long after!  I had intended on running with my race bag as practise for my upcoming 50 miler but I could not find it anywhere on race morning so ended up going without extra nutrition on the way round.

The 10k was 6.7 miles and I would have finished in about 72 minutes (judging by the 10k runners heading off to the finish as I turned off into the field for a second, different loop).

The second loop was much tougher going, with thicker, more slippery mud and steeper, longer hills.  I stopped for a chat with the marshal on the checkpoint at 8.5 miles and downed a cup of pink liquid after enquiring what it was.  He asked if I was still breastfeeding, to which I replied that I was, and only thought afterwards as I headed off over the next hill that I probably should have paid more attention to what I could and could not take on board as a breastfeeding Mum.  I had a very minimal amount in my cup luckily anyway.

There was another runner from my club not far ahead of me, running with two other local runners who I kept in my eyeline for the next few miles.  They were always just heading round the next bend.  That’s the thing about trail races – you can sometimes go for miles and not see anybody at all – it’s not like a road race!  It doesn’t bother me as long as I know where I am going though and the guys from our club had done a good job of winding red and white tape along the route and adding arrows to the hedgerows at major turns.  At 12.5 miles I could see that Amy (the other runner from my club) had stopped at a crossroads along with four others and was motioning to me that she didn’t know where to go next with her arms in an exaggerated shrug.  I shouted that I didn’t know this section of the route and that if there wasn’t any tape marking to turn then I would presume we kept going.  So they did.

I caught them at the top of the hill as they realised that if we continued they would be running back into the field we had initially come out of, and we hadn’t seen any other half marathon runners heading back in that direction on our way in.  Amy, along with two guys attempted to bring up the course map on their phones whilst I headed back down the hill with another lady to check out the other options at the crossroads.  There was no tape marking any turn-off from the track so after a bit of debate we headed back up the hill to join the others once more who were still undecided as to which direction we should be going in.  There was tape just before the crossroads so we didn’t feel as though we had gone off course.  Annoyingly as I had ended up not taking my bag I hadn’t brought my phone along so couldn’t ring for help with directions.  About 10 minutes later a large group of about 8-9 others joined us, many of whom were from our running club.  One of them decided to give Gary, the Race Director a call and he directed us back up the hill the way we had initially come from and across a grassy field towards a stile.  It looks like somebody had moved the tape into the wrong place on the course!

In total I think we lost about 20 minutes of time with faffing and I ended up with 15.8 miles on my Garmin by the end of the course instead of the 14.4 miles that the course was advertised as.

Welly Trail races - finish

I had company for the final few miles of the course now though as by this point there was a massive group of us, although we had managed to space out a fair bit again by the time we reached the finish.

Welly Trail races - finishAs fast as the start had been – heading down the Castle Ashby drive – the finish was slow, as we had to run back up the drive on tired legs!  I made it though and was handed my medal, a cup of water and a raffle ticket to exchange for a jacket potato and hot drink in the cafe.  I needed that hot drink!

Welly Trail Race medal

Distance: 15.81m
Garmin time: 3h 17m 20s
Official time: 3h 17m 20s
Position: 65/81

My legs were a little stiff at the finish and so I managed to convince Laura (who had been marshaling) to order my jacket potato and drink whilst I found us some seats.  Here I spotted Katie and Lorraine who had also just finished so we had a quick chat whilst warming our insides with hot food!

I was really looking forward to feeding Oscar (was in desperate need by this point!), having a long warm bath and chilling out with my little family in the afternoon, but Dan was feeling poorly so handed Oscar over as soon as I walked in the door and headed off to bed.  I was still covered in mud and had to make do with sitting on the floor for the next few hours until Dan began to feel better!

I did finally manage a quick shower though and threw my compression socks on to ease my legs a little.

Compression socksMy legs felt fine the following morning and were still feeling strong when I headed out for 6.5 easy road miles later on the Monday evening.

I was not quick by any means on Sunday, but I was most definitely strong and following my Monday evening run I am finally feeling really confident about the upcoming 50 mile ultra.  I know there are people who think I am probably a little silly/crazy for entering the SDW50 in April but I am really looking forward to it.  I am incredibly stubborn and I know that I am still capable of completing that distance over that terrain.  If I end up having to DNF it will be due to Oscar/feeding logistics rather than my ability to complete the race.

Do you wear compression socks following tough runs?
Have you ever gotten lost during a race before?
Does your club put on any races?

Oops!…I did it again

There’s something about me and entering races.

Last year I managed to break two toes before running Milton Keynes Marathon in the Spring, and then sprain my ankle the week before running Mablethorpe Marathon in the October.  I just entered my first race for 2016 the other day (cross-country and parkruns don’t count) – The Thames Trot 50, one I have thought about running for a while now, having marshaled at the event back in 2014.  Seems that there have been an influx of entries from our club members over Christmas, and that number now includes me!
Then, on Wednesday morning I managed to break the little toe on my right foot.

This week has been such a shock to the system, returning to work and 5:15am starts again after two weeks off.  I am never a late sleeper – and was up before 7am most of the days over the holiday, but I’d gotten into the routine of being able to have 15 minute showers, or reading blogs on a daily basis and so scrambling around for spare minutes to ensure I’d organised lunch in the mornings this week was tough.  Add into that a change in marking policy and having to remark and prep work for this week after having started back meant that I had gotten barely any sleep on both Monday and Tuesday nights.

By Wednesday morning, as my alarm rang out at the slightly earlier get-up time of 4:20am for work I was knackered.  I scrabbled around on my bedside table to try and find my glasses, but couldn’t.  Not wanting to wake Dan, I headed downstairs for breakfast without the glasses, failing to notice that the Christmas tree stand which we had left out the previous night ready to go up in the loft had slipped to the side in the dining room.  I walked straight through the stand, pulling my little toe on my right foot back and out of place, hard.

Instantly I thought “Well, I won’t have to try and fit running into this manic week now as well!”  But then I immediately changed my mind and realised that I wasn’t actually very happy with being injured again at all.  I enjoy running too much!  I didn’t cry or strop or anything this time though.  Just got on with the day.  Guess I’m getting used to accepting that injury is a part of running, even when my injuries hardly ever seem to be running-induced!

Luckily, I appear to have only broken one toe this time rather than two, and have been sensible about not being on my feet for too long since Wednesday.  My toe has only slightly bruised so hopefully I’ll be rewarded with a quicker recovery time this time round!  My limp has almost disappeared and I can comfortably get my boots on and off again now already.  When I broke my toes in April I immediately ran the 7 mile trail run I had been rushing to get to (although I was in a lot of pain I genuinely thought I had only stubbed my toes at the time!), ran a 10 mile trail run that weekend and then a 20 mile road race just 10 days after breaking my toes before finally giving in and taking a couple of weeks off completely!

Luckily I had scheduled in a drop down week for my training this week to correlate with my return to work, and although I hadn’t planned on running zero miles, I banked several miles last week so can probably get away with having a week off.

Last week went as follows:

Monday: Easy 3 miles on my own keeping my heart rate below 150bpm.
Tuesday: 16 mile trail run with friends.
Wednesday: A long walk (about 7 miles) with Dan around Salcey forest.
Thursday: Rest.
Friday: 2x 5ks.  (Double parkrun day)
Saturday: Northampton parkrun, followed by a 16 mile trail run home again with friends.
Sunday: Bedford Harriers Letchworth XC 10k race.

I got my two long runs in for the week – 16 miles on Tuesday and then another 16 miles of trail immediately following the Saturday parkrun at the weekend.  Both runs with pretty much the same bunch of (clearly also quite crazy!) people.  Several of whom are also hoping to be toeing the start line at Thames Trot at the beginning of February.

Long run to HarroldThe plan for Tuesday was to drive over to our local country park in Harrold, where we had arranged to run a circular route back towards Wellingborough and then return to Harrold again for sausage baps and milk.  Incidentally though, it actually took thirty minutes for our glasses of milk to arrive after ordering them.  :(

The route was a nice one and I felt strong.  It was fairly mucky in places, but the rain didn’t really hit Northamptonshire in full force until the following day so we didn’t really run through a great deal of mud.

Long run to Harrold

I bought Dan a Fitbit (at his request) for Christmas and he has been very conscious of his activity levels ever since strapping it to his wrist on Boxing Day.  We’ve made a real effort to go out for a walk each day since (other than Wednesday evening after the toe break!) to try and up the number of steps he takes in a day and give us both a bit of a break between being at work and working from home in the evening.
Last Wednesday we decided to spend our day off together exploring the trails at Salcey Forest.  It had rained a little heavier further South from us and there were patches of the paths that were rather mucky which we had to pick our way through.  It was also super windy, although that didn’t stop us from deciding to check out the Treetop Trail.  Probably not the best day to do it as the trees all around us were blowing so hard I was convinced they were going to come down on top of us!

I took my rest day on Thursday, ready for what was to be a busy weekend; starting with the parkrun double on Friday. On Saturday a large group of us arranged to be dropped off at the Racecourse in Northampton at 8:30am, where the Northampton parkrun is held each week.  We made plans to slowly run the parkrun, with the intention of pushing our club up into second position for the parkrun club league (we succeeded) before strapping on our running vests and enjoying what was now super-slippery terrain on the run back to Irchester.

There were a few slips and falls early on, as the route we take starts out by following the river for quite a way and the heavy rain from the previous two days had seen the area become rather soggy!

Northampton parkrun then home

The parkrun itself was nice and comfortable though and in the end we didn’t have any rain.  I had hoped to run parkrun at an easy pace, coming in somewhere around 30 minutes, with the aim to go more on feel than pace.  I spent most of the run looking around me and speaking to other parkrunners that were out for the day.  When I did glance down and spot that my pace was hovering just over 9mm I was really surprised.  I genuinely felt like I could hold a conversation at that pace and run for quite some time.  Had you told me a year ago that my ‘easy’ parkrun pace at my fifth parkrun of the week would be 9minute miles I would never have believed it!

Mile 1: 9:03
Mile 2: 9:21
Mile 3: 9:07
Nubbin (0.14m): 8:26mm pace

Garmin time: 28:40
Official time:
28:41
Position: 189/323
Gender position: 33/105
Age category position: 5/15

Our long run of nineteen miles actually ended up being split into three; the parkrun, 10 miles to a cafe where we stopped for sausage baps and another glass of milk(!) and then the remaining few miles home.  Some of this route was tough.  The rainfall had been heavy and we ran through several fields, collecting several inches of mud on the bottom of our shoes as we crossed!

This post is getting rather long so I shall recap the cross-country in a separate post now.  Spoiler: it was a mucky one!

Are you injury/accident prone?
Do you ever run home/to from parkrun to get in some extra miles?

An unexpected target

Over the past few weeks my running pattern hasn’t had a huge amount of structure.  Since the Dusk ’til Dawn race I’ve pretty much just run when I’ve wanted and gone out for as long as I’ve felt like running for.  I followed a personalised plan for my Autumn marathon (until the final week before the race when I went over on my ankle!) and this worked really well in helping me to achieve a brand new marathon PB, but since then my body has needed a little break from the structure and to have time to enjoy running because I want to, not because I feel I have to.

With things at work being so busy just lately, the lack of a plan has also helped me to relax a little, knowing that if I couldn’t make a run one evening and instead had to work late, it wouldn’t affect my long term goal.

Most of my runs just lately have been somewhere between 5-6 miles and either run at an easy pace or out with others on a running club night.  I’ve gone from running five days a week, down to three or four.  But, over the craziness of the last few weeks I think that was exactly what my overworked body needed!

I’ve still been throwing in a few longer runs at the weekends.  I did run 21 miles of Gower marathon three weeks ago, and then the following weekend I headed out with ten from my running club on a muddy seventeen mile trail run to nearby village, Harrold.  In the past I have occasionally felt a little pressured to run faster than I am capable of to keep up with others on the trail runs.  Somehow, I am still running strongly at the moment and, with the mix of abilities in runners there that weekend, this didn’t become an issue.  I really enjoyed the run.  This was despite getting lost and ending up crawling under a barbed-wire fence to escape to the footpath the other side!

Stuck in a fenceStuck in a fence

PB changing status…I knew my volunteering to list results on the club website would come in handy one day!  I’d also like to add that I have pictures of Kev commando-crawling under the same fence.  I’m saving those in case I need them for blackmail in the future! 😉

Trail run with Kev getting lost

Last weekend I had fun running the cross-country event, instead of heading out on a long run.  I really, really enjoyed pushing myself offroad in the mud for the shorter distance and had a really good race.  This weekend I was back trail running again.  Seven miles run at night along the river on Wednesday evening and then along with five other club runners we headed out from my town on Sunday morning for a further ten trail miles.

Although the route on Sunday was listed as ‘my route’ by Kev, I wasn’t aware I was supposed to be leading and he took us along a wrong turn, resulting in us ending up in the middle of a cabbage field with no idea which way the footpath had been trying to send us!  After some back tracking I led us out onto the road and we ran a mile of road until we returned back onto the footpaths again.

This picture is actually from the seventeen mile run, but imagine this image (Kev pointing in one direction and the rest of us looking rather sceptical) during most of our trail runs! 😛

Trail run with Kev getting lost

I headed to Northampton parkrun on Saturday.  I actually only made it to parkrun once in November due to other commitments, which was a shame.  I should be able to get there most weeks in December though, which I’m glad of, as it was missed!

I had planned to see a friend there at the weekend who I often run alongside, but this week I wanted to run the parkrun hard and concentrate on my form.  My friend is currently pregnant, and had written ‘I.C.E. – 11 weeks pregnant’ on the back of her hand, which I thought was a very good idea.  We spoke briefly before setting off, which happened very quickly and before I was really ready!  Normally there is some sort of a notice from the Race Director before starting the run, but this week it simply seemed to be ‘Are you ready?  GO!’

I set off fairly swiftly.  I didn’t think I would stand much of a chance of a PB due to the strong wind that was blowing in what seemed every direction across the racecourse.  I’d jogged a mile as a warmup before reaching the start line and when I had turned into the wind it was very tough!  Despite not aiming for a PB I hoped for a sub 27 minute time.  I’ve only ever gone under twice before.  One was the very first parkrun that I ever ran (26:55) and the other, set back in the Summer was when I set my current PB (26:37).  Several times I’ve only been a few seconds over the 27 minute mark, but I am itching to get quicker.

I’ve been lazy and I haven’t yet synced my heart rate monitor to my new Garmin.  In fact, I think I accidentally synced my watch to a stranger’s HRM at the first cross-country of the season and I haven’t had a chance to sort it out since!  I’ve been running on feel lately, and my perception of the effort I am putting in is now so much better than it ever was before I began running to heart rate.  I felt like I ran the 5k feeling comfortably uncomfortable, which is just how I should be feeling over that distance!

The first mile went by in 8m 23s.  To achieve a new PB I would need to run at 8m 35s pace throughout the distance but I still was rather sceptical of achieving a quick time at this point.  So far, the wind hadn’t really hit us.  Instead, it just pushed at us from the sides.  We caught the wind a little in mile two, but I still achieved a 8m 35s average pace over the mile.  OK, maybe the sub 27m/new PB was on the cards for the day!  I turned the corner onto the back straight for the second time (Northampton parkrun is a 1.5 lap course) just after the two mile point and the wind really hit me, along with everyone else – full on in the face.  There were some walkers out on the path literally getting swept off their feet and blown towards us as all the runners trying to complete their final mile appeared to have been pushed almost to a standstill!  I watched the pace numbers on my watch slide from 8:15s down to 9:15s and then 9:55 before I turned the top corner and received a little shelter from the wind again.  I clawed back some of the slower part of the mile, to finish mile 3 in 9:03, and then go on to run the nubbin (0.15m) at 7:36mm pace.

I put a real sprint on for the finish, and when the guy just ahead of me realised what I was doing, he also picked up the pace.  It was an exhilarating end to a very blustery run!

Garmin time: 27:10
Official time: 27:12
Position: 112/208
Gender position: 9/64
Age category: 1/5

Not quite under 27 minutes, but I was happy with my performance given the conditions out there, and very happy with 9th lady in a field of 64!  I jogged back to run in with my friend.

Over the past few weeks I’ve tried to concentrate on my cadence when running.  I have a long, but steady stride and if I could only pick up the speed of this stride, I am sure that I could go faster.  Faster obviously isn’t everything, but faster could mean the difference between reaching checkpoints before cut-off times, and not making those cut-offs when I’m running long distance races.  My head is strong, my body is fairly strong.  It would be a shame if my legs just didn’t turn over quick enough to let me run the longer distances that I want them to be able to.

I’ve been really indecisive about my targets for next year.  Lots of people have asked me over the past couple of months what races I have booked in.  But there are none (apart from Cakeathon in August, and my first fell race in March).  I don’t have an aim or a goal, and I have felt a little directionless.  Eventually, I want to run a 100miler, but I have spoken before about not being fast enough for this yet.  If I was to run that distance now, I would worry about making the cut-offs in time, resulting in not enjoying the event due to the pressure.  I need to have a little more confidence that I can pick the pace up when required.  That is the main reason why I have settled on targeting a new 5k PB time over the next couple of months.

That is something I would never have thought I would find myself saying.  It has only really been this year that I have enjoyed the buzz of ‘racing’ the 5k distance.  Before this year, I felt too pressured to perform within a short space of time.  5ks stressed me out!  Give me a marathon any day!

I’m not sure what time goal I should set myself for the distance.  I don’t want to only aim for a few seconds quicker than my current PB, and then go ahead to achieve the goal next weekend with a fluke good run!  Perhaps I should aim for 26minutes?  That is a 8:23mm pace, and the pace I maintained for the first mile of the 5k at the weekend.  Any thoughts?

Have you ever readjusted your goals completely before?  How did you find stepping away from your comfort zone?
Have you set any goals for 2016?