For various reasons and to varying degrees, 2016 was a tough year. Adjustment to different working patterns and rhythms, trying to juggle family with friends and running as well as a four hour commute twice a week and learning two new jobs simultaneously is hard work.
Running just didn’t seem to be working for me either, especially in the last six months. Paris training with P&D (Advanced Marathoning) seemed to be working, and I managed a near PB in Cambridge without toooo much effort. I was basically hitting my paces in training and although I was pretty knackered from 50 mile weeks and 15 hour days, it was all worth it to get the sub 4. Except I didn’t. Didn’t even come close. The day of the race dawned bright and clear and, well, hot. I didn’t even write a race report as I was so heartsore about how it went. I stumbled through the first ten miles, worrying about the heat and not being on pace. My mind and soul were fighting the entire way and eventually I gave in about mile 16, and ran/walked the rest to come in about 4.30. I was angry and ashamed – I spent so long running and training and for what? To limp home in the slowest time I’ve had since my third marathon?
I had time to reflect and even had fun in Tromso, despite doing no long runs I actually had a great race and flew for the first ten miles.
After that, I had a couple of short races that should have been completely doable, but in fact I had a panic attack in and had to walk. I went to the GP to see about my asthma, as I couldn’t breathe for many of my runs in July and August. She told me that running was bad for my knees and then put me on symbicort – a heavy duty powder inhaler that seems to be doing the trick, although it’s not treating the cause.
With the help of the wonderful Mr Charming and our brilliant friends, I’ve started to get my confidence back with running in the last couple of months. I took October off. No runs during the week, and parkrun at the weekend. I didn’t even take my kit to work with me during the week. It felt good. I was beginning to hate running, and I don’t hate running. Friends, I highly recommend a good chunk of time off after a long training cycle. I haven’t done that since my first marathon, and I felt like each cycle was slower than the last.
Using smashrun, that actually turned out to be true. Smashrun, by the way, is a great site which brings together all of your data from the disparate sources into one page. I started running with Nike+ and went to Garmin after my first marathon, and I was looking for a way to see it all on one page. Now my running record gores back to 2009.
Not only that, but it’s really easy to cut your data different ways. Average pace? Compare months year on year? Day by day? It’ll do PR/PB, races, run streaks etc. It’ll also tell you how many calories you’ve burned off in neat portions i.e. my run on the 28th December burned off stick of butter (about half a pack in UK Terms). It’s definitely much more indepth than Strava or garmin and a lot quicker.
I will do a separate post about my goals for 2017 – coming up in the New Year.
Clockwise from the yellow and green people, links to 2017 race entry included where available:
- Freethorpe 10Mile – 29th January 2017
- Valentine’s 10k – 19th February
- Cambridge half marathon – 5th March – SOLD OUT
- marathon de Paris – 9th April
- Thetford 10k – 1st May (Monday)
- Run Hackney– 30th April
- The Light Ox (10k) – White Star Running Ox festival 6-7th May
- The Dark Ox (10k)
- Half Ox
- Tromso Midnight Sun Marathon – 17th June
- Worstead 5 mile – TBC, end of July
- RunNorwich 10k – 6th August
- Great Yarmouth half marathon – TBC, mid August
- Vitality Oxford half marathon – 8th October
- Adnams Southwold 10k – TBC, end of November
- Portsmouth Coastal Waterside marathon – TBC but will be December 2017
My biggest lesson from 2016 is: listen to your body. Don’t blindly trust the training and don’t be afraid to re-assess if anything needs mixing up.