Re-starting 2016

Normally at the beginning of each year I sit down and set myself some fitness targets for the year.  However, this year I seem to have lost focus.  The last few years I have aimed on increasing my miles and getting back to fitness but this year I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to focus on.

I ran Edinburgh parkrun on the 2nd January and I was really pleased to be back averaging under 10 min/mile.  Ideally, I know I would love to get back to running sub 30 minute 5ks and finally being able to run a sub hour 10k - but in the back of my mind there is a niggling doubt as to whether I want to put my body through that.  I ran (definitely not raced!) three 10ks last year and in the days after the race my body was physically knackered.  Given my health issues over the last few years I wasn't sure I would be able to run again, so is now the time to just enjoy my running rather than think about times.  The other flip of the coin is would I continue to enjoy my running if I am not getting the buzz from racing and seeing my times come down?

I have lost a lot of muscle strength from my illness and so have been going to body pump classes to try and build my strength back up.  I've been really enjoying the classes and have seen my weights increase in a very short space of time, which has gone some way to getting that race buzz back.  Should I be focusing on strength rather than running?

This internal debate has been going on in my head and all of a sudden January has passed and I've not really achieved very much.  In fact, I have only succeeded in tiring myself out trying to fit it all in.

Saturday was my birthday and I had organised to head to Portobello parkrun with friends from my JogScotland group. It was also a friend’s 50th birthday and his 50th parkrun so it was a great atmosphere to the morning. Thanks to the organisers for a birthday shout out – unfortunately I didn’t hear it as I was at the back of the group and there was a lot of chat, probably owing to the weather which by that point had turned to blizzard conditions. Thanks to Sweatshop Edinburgh for the photo below, I think my face sums up exactly how it felt – it was pretty horrendous!


One of Porty’s regulars Nic has very kindly offered pacer tasters and on Saturday he was running the course in 30 minutes. I had previously posted on parkrun’s facebook page to say I would love to run with him but with a lack of focus to my training and snowy conditions I knew that sub 30 was beyond my reach and instead opted for an easier, more enjoyable birthday run. The conditions were pretty challenging with a tough wind at the start of each loop and slippy underfoot in some places but by the last lap the snow had almost gone and the sun was shining. It was such an enjoyable run and I was able to finish with a smile on my face having had no pressure or expectations beyond running the course. Or perhaps the smile was because I knew the next stop was the café for cake and coffee!!

The biggest thing for me was getting my running mojo back and realising how much I do enjoy running and actually taking part in races – I don’t think I am quite at the stage of saying I enjoy racing!

Owain and I sat down on Monday night and put together a training plan that would focus my running a bit more. The aim is to train to run a sub hour 10k although we haven’t quite identified a target race. The next few months are just about getting a strong base in terms of mileage and speed work. The first 10k on my radar is Grangemouth 10k, with a few 5ks thrown in beforehand. Last year, I ran 3 10ks with the fastest time being 66:24. We have agreed that the goal for Grangemouth is for me to try and race, rather than just run the route, and aim to be back sub 65 mins.

I am hoping to try and fit in a race each month just to keep me focused. February I have Devilla 5k trail race and in March I will be running the Inverness 5k. These are races I originally signed up for to keep me occupied while Owain is racing – he has the Devilla 15k and Inverness Half – so it will be nice to use them as markers to see how my training is going.

I’ll be blogging regularly with race reports and training updates so you’ll be able to follow my sub hour 10k journey. Bring it on!

Mandy Williams

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