Here’s a little bit of background info that you would have found out if I had been blogging for the last 2 years…
In 2016 I ran with my heart.
I had no real idea what I was doing but I just ran for freedom and I loved it.
Everything was new.
Everything was a challenge and it was hard as hell! Injuries came and went frequently, so did blisters and I had DOMS after every run.
After somehow making my way through a few marathons (debut at London ’16 in 3:58 followed by Berlin ’16 in 3:49) I realised I knew very little about how to improve. I had the desire to learn but at that point I didn’t really understand how to be faster? avoid injury? get the right race strategy? the right nutrition? all of it was quite overwhelming.
2017 began with some ambitions and goals to hit. To do so I needed to do things the right way.
After a solid string of winter training I was learning fast and gearing up for Rome Marathon. I followed a training plan and fit in what I could around being a Dad and working full time. I worked hard and training went well, everything seemed to click on race day.
I finished up with a 3:40:17 and a PB by 9 minutes. A great start to the year but I new I could be faster and wanted to prove it to myself.
London Marathon just 3 weeks later was not a great idea in terms of recovery but I enjoyed the crowds and the atmosphere! I had leg cramps at mile 17 that made running almost impossible. After a few St. John’s Ambulance stops to release some cramps I soon got going again but it hurt and I was embarrassed and disappointed with putting in a poor performance. I wanted a 3:30 but ended up with a 3:59, which is a great time but it is my worst marathon finish and I had hoped for more.
The learnings: everything about the prep for that race went wrong. I didn’t sleep well. I did 20k steps walking around London the day before. I didn’t stick to my race nutrition plan. I just didn’t feel like I was ready to go at the start line and it all fell apart pretty quickly.
Failure helps us learn and I needed to learn! After that I was determined to get stronger and put the effort in to reach my goals.
Onto the summer and I enjoyed some freedom, reconnecting with my love of trail running. Running for fun with lots of great people. Then I trained for a hilly half marathon in Torbay, Devon were I finished with a 1:38, another PB though I felt I could get closer to 1:35 on a flatter course.
Thats where the hard work started! Training for NYC Marathon began!
The last chance to make my 2017 goals come to life and run a 3:30 marathon. I barely missed a session on my training plan and found training through the summer so much easier than the winter sessions! I felt great, the long runs became easier and soon enough I was on the start line fitter than ever, understanding my race strategy and ready to put everything right.
As the race unfolded I stuck to my plan although I felt frustrated that I wanted to run faster, I played it safe and stuck it out till the end and I’m so glad I did. I was delighted to finish my last race of the year going under the 3:30 goal in 3:28:44.
Since then I have realised that the long training runs have given me a better base and I’m lighter, faster and more determined than ever. I have always stayed away from running hard and fast because I found I was scared of injury, happy to keep things slow and steady to make sure I could turn up on race day!
Right now I’m realising that there is far more potential within me that I want to unlock.
In just a month I have PB’d over 10 times in the 5k, 10k and 13.1miles just by altering my mindset and utilising the hard work done through the slower marathon training.
I’m running sub 7 min miles and I’m comfortable with it. Since when did that happen. It seems out of nowhere I found a new wave of positivity and confidence!
I’ve been holding back and now I want to run hard and fast until my body finds a new normal.
It’s become an addiction for sure, but I can think of worse addictions.
So here are my goals.
Sub 3 marathon
Sub 1:25 half marathon
Sub 38min 10k
Sub 18min 5k
I found it hard to write these down. What if I am deluded? What if I’m not quick enough?
These are all the things that have held me back in the past, but right now I’m full of positive vibes and heading into 2018 with massive ambitions.
So 2 years on from the start of this marathon running journey I’m finally feeling like I’m learning the ropes. Thanks to the amazing people who helped me get this far!
Bring on 2018 and all the rest! It’s a big year.