What do I have in mind?
With 4 months of 2015 already passed, I thought it would be a good time to put my thoughts, hopes and plans down on paper.
I've been thinking about what races I really want to target and races that I will use as part of training.
I train with fantastic guys and girls at Edinburgh AC and a number of them were racing London marathon last weekend, they have really inspired me and motivated me for this year.
I might not be running a marathon but I'm determined to race the best I ever have over 5 km, 10 km and half marathon distances.
So far I've managed to get a new 5 mile PB (28:55) and 10 km PB (35:39). A half marathon PB has to be on the cards some time soon.
I've been thinking a lot about my training, nutrition and my kit as well so I thought I'd bring it all together in to a blog.
I'm hopeful that a sub 1:18:00 half marathon will be possible by October. I'm planning on running the Glasgow Great Scottish half marathon (4th October) and I'm currently looking at other half marathons over the summer but the main target is Glasgow. My training is all aimed at half marathon distances just now. Tuesday track sessions are helping my pace and Thursday's are about endurance and running at target race pace. I'm running 60 - 70 miles a week just now, twice a day most days, unless racing.
I've been going to the track on a Thursday night and building up my miles at target pace with a session that is just as tough mentally as it is physically. I start with a 2 or 3 mile warm up from the office to the track, do some strides and drills and then start with 4 miles at target pace which just now is 6:00 minutes a mile. Once that is done, it's 4 minutes jog recovery, then 3 miles at target pace, 3 minutes recovery, 2 miles at target pace, 2 minutes recovery and finish on a 1 mile at pace.
The first 4 miles are the hardest.
Why do this on the track?
It's constant running, no need to worry about crossing roads or finding a 4 mile stretch plus if something goes wrong then I've only got a couple of minutes walk back to the car. Nothing has gone too badly so far, I have had to cut a session short by a mile but that just makes me more determined to come back the following week and smash the next set.
6 minutes a mile for a half will bring me in at 1:18:40 which would be a PB by a minute but by October I hope that the target race pace is something closer to 5:50 per mile which would be a 1:16:29 finish time!
I've also been trying to get out on new training routes, just to keep me motivated.
I try and have a pretty healthy diet and over the past 6 months I've made a real effort to cut out chocolate and fizzy juice. I've found that I get quiet a lot of phlegm in my throat from the chocolate which makes it hard to run. When running twice a day it's not even like I can have some chocolate after the run as I still have the afternoon run home.
I'd also like to drop my weight by another 12lbs, I feel I'm still carrying a bit of extra weight around with me but trying to lose some weight while running the higher miles isn't easy. I know it's all about eat less calories than you burn but at the same time I need to keep my strength and give my body fuel to repair after hard training sessions on the track.
If your fitness stays the same and you raced the same course, same conditions etc, it's estimated for every 1 pound of weight you lose, you can take 10 seconds off your times. So for example, a 35:39 10 km becomes a 35:29 just by dropping 1 pound!
12 lbs is a lot to lose and I may find that it's too much but I will wait and see how I go. The important thing is to keep healthy and eating healthier has kept the usual winter bugs, colds and flus away this year. By being healthy it means I can train more rather than being stuck in bed feeling sorry for myself!
Shoes are always the first stop for runners, whether you are new to it or not. I always race in my New Balance 890s, the tie dye version.
I love these shoes but I have also started to train in the not so bright grey versions of these shoes as well on my Tuesday training runs. This allows my feet to get used to them for longer distances. Because they are lightweight racers, they have less support than my usual New Balance 860s.
At the end of last year I started to wear VitalActive compression sleeves while racing as I felt they gave me more support and I felt that I could attack inclines better. I also felt that I was recovering after longer runs better if I had worn them. This hasn't changed but I have now started racing in my Ashmei compression socks. The first race I wore them was Grangemouth 10k and they felt brilliant.
Next is my shorts, I tend to wear my short shorts for racing, not sure why, just always have! Long shorts for training, short shorts for racing. It's probably a similar reason why I keep my tie dye trainers for races, it puts you in the mind set of racing.
I always wear my club vest for a race but wear my Ashmei race vest as much as I can. I took it away with me to Lanzarote the other week and it was really comfy and kept me nice and cool in the conditions, it's now my vest of choice when training.
Whether you are racing or training, if you feel good in the kit you wear then it makes everything just feel a bit better.