In a recent post, I stated that one of my goals this year is to run more races.
It’s the start of the year and the likelihood is that you’ve set some running goals. It maybe to do your first 5km, achieve a Boston Marathon qualifying time or even complete an ultramarathon. It could just be to be out the door more often.
I want to grab a few PBs, but if I am going to do that, I also need to work on the last one. I go to BMF twice a week and may do the odd weekend run, but I feel like I‘m not getting out the door often enough. There’s the constant voice in my head –
“That race is a couple of months away, you need to get moving. You need to put the miles in”
Every time I do get out the door, I remember what I love about running and how fantastic it makes me feel. As was said on the Bad Boy Running podcast. As soon as you get home from your run and the door closes behind you. It’s like the reset button gets hit, and the fight to get out the door the next time starts all over again.
I have a reasonably good base fitness, and could probably go and do a fairly respectable race tomorrow. The thing is, I know I can do better. I want to do myself justice and perform well in the upcoming races. It’s very easy to say –
“Just go and enjoy your running, the fitness and the times will come”.
And you know what, they probably will. But, my competitive nature makes me what to PB every race. As my times drop and the years pass, I know this is going to be more difficult to achieve. At every parkrun, I say I’m going to take it easy and just use it as a training run and never do. The gun goes off and I set off like a startled gazelle. I even tell myself I’ll take it easy in the middle kilometres, but once you’ve set off fast, you may as well keep going and see what you can do.
You could be reading this and thinking –
“What’s this guy moaning about, if he is serious about this he should just bloody get on with it and do the work”
And you know what, your right. That’s what I’d tell other people. If it’s that important to you, make the time and get on and do it. But if it was that easy – personal trainers, coaches and motivational quotes would have never been invented.
What this little rant is really it is about is making running a priority (or moving it up the list), laying down a plan and some tools and make it more likely that I’m going to get out the door and get the runs in.
So yes, we’ve been here before. Plan out your races. Don’t just hold them in your head, and then get shocked when a race number drops through your letterbox. Write a training plan, including your race weekends and work out where you what to be for each upcoming race. Log your runs in a training diary or on your training plan.
Manage your runs
One thing I’ve done was to ask Santa for a Garmin Forerunner, and he duly obliged. I used to go out with my stopwatch and run for a certain amount of time, working on that I ran around 10 minute miles. 40 minutes = 4 miles. I ran 10 min miles several years ago when I was 12 kg heavier and not very fit. Not a particularly useful guide. Now I can at track how far and how fast I’m running. I haven’t figured out many of the Garmin settings, but I am sure it can help me with pacing and my work rates.
Get out the door (fitting more miles in)
As the January blues kick in and life returns to normal after Christmas, motivation and enthusiasm only lasts so long. There’s some thought that willpower may not actually exist and it’s not something we can build and get stronger at. We may be better off just forgetting about it and stop worrying about finding it. We should just make some behaviour changes that help.
Unless it’s a very quick run after getting home from work. I rarely run from home in the week. You get home and there are a thousand things to do and before you know it, it’s 9.30pm and you now have to start getting ready for bed, as that was your other resolution. To go to bed earlier!
It easy to disregard your running when there are other life priorities. You think –
“I’ll skip this one and make it up later”
The likelihood is you won’t. So I’ll have to find a bit of time in my day when I can get those runs in.
I respect those people who get up at 4-5am and go for an early run before work. But can I do it? If I was fully organised, I reckon I could get up at 6.30am (not an awful time), 15 minutes for a cup of tea and pulling on my kit, a 30-minute run and I’m home before 7.30am. That’s not too bad. I just have to get out of that warm, cosy bed!
I work close to the River Thames and plenty of parks, so there are a number of places to go for a run. My works flexible so going running during my lunch shouldn’t be a problem. As I cycle to work 3 days a week this makes taking another kit on those days tricky. Really, there’s only one feasible day I can do it on. But hey, it’s still that extra run I need.
The other option is a run commute. A great way to kill two birds with one stone. 7.5 miles is perfectly manageable. I already have a suitable backpack, and this is completely doable logistics wise. I just need a bit of prep and to track where my work shoes are from one day to the next. OK, it’s on!
I’ve been pondering joining a running club. There are lots of pros to joining one. One of which is fixed training times that I’m more liable to stick to. I’ve already been to a few sessions to see what it’s all about, but should put some money down and get involved.
In the next couple of weeks, I endeavor to run once in the morning, once at lunchtime and one run commute.