A belated happy New Year to all you Buzzers. I hope those of you lucky enough to have VMLM places are well into your training schedules and clocking up some decent mileage.
Hard to believe this time last year that was me! Heading out in all weather, long runs every Sunday morning come wind, rain, snow or shine. I got to peak fitness in the weeks before London and I felt absolutely fantastic. As for the day itself, well magical really – about the best words to describe it.
But just because I don’t have a place this year doesn’t mean I’ve been idle or retired the running shoes. In fact, this has been the first Winter (apart from last year – ie marathon training) that I haven’t taken an extended break, before picking things up again in the January.
I carried on after the Chester Marathon and Birmingham Half, heading out two or three times a week, usually around 3-4 miles but sometimes up to 8 or 9, time allowing. Like many, I did pile on a few unwanted pounds at Christmas but it’s shifting now I’m properly back into my stride and my pace is starting to improve as well.
That’s because I’ve booked my first race of the year – Stafford Half Marathon, which I’ve competed in for the last three years in a row. It’s a superb event, really well organised, around 3,000 runners and terrific support.
They re-routed it slightly in 2015 and that new route remains for this year when we run on 20 March. I’m glad because it’s where I managed to bag my half marathon PB – all that London training must have paid off because I made it round in 1hr 43, nearly five minutes quicker than my previous best.
Don’t think I’ll be threatening that time in 2016, but I suppose you never know. What I do know is that I am much more disciplined with my training when I have a programme to follow and (wait for it….) a spreadsheet to fill out! Yes, I’m that kind of nerd who likes to log all the miles and times.
So I’ve drawn up an 11 week plan to take me up to the Stafford start line, loosely based on the marathon one I used for London and Chester but obviously stopping shy of 16 weeks and the 20 mile long run. That should keep me busy – indeed I’m already past the honeymoon period of three runs a week and back to four.
I tend to be better in the mornings, so the alarm gets set early and I go out before work. Managed to get seven miles in today, before a quick shower and change at the office and then up to my desk with a strong, warm cuppa and a piece of toast. Nice as it was to be out, the weather was grim today and I got a right soaking around four miles in.
It’s good to have a race to look forward to. You may recall after Chester and Birmingham I was a little unsure about what to do next – two marathons in a year took it out of me and I still don’t know if I’m going to attempt another one this autumn.
A friend posted details of a 10k at Donington Race Circuit over the summer which I like the sound of. I’ve never actually done a competitive 10k and since I’m a motor racing nut that would seem a good fit. But for now, all eyes are on Stafford and getting match fit for the big day.
I’m enjoying catching up on everyone’s plans and achievements. And it’s great to re-live those precious memories from London 2015. I may be lucky enough to run it again one day, but if not I can at least take great pleasure and pride from what I experienced first time around.
Take care and I’ll let you know how Stafford goes in a few months’ time.
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