I can’t believe I’ve only raced twice this year. Last year I raced countless times (genuinely, I can’t even count them, and my medals are in a box lost to the moving house melee), but this year I’ve only run the London Marathon, a 10k and a handful of parkruns (yes yes, they aren’t races but they’re included for the sake of context).
Both of my races this year were at the time considered a disaster (by me); a marathon marred by stomach cramps and a finish time 1 hour outside of my goal and a sub-50 10k attempt where I DNFd.
Whereas last year I would rock up to a race full of confidence and excitement, *knowing* that I would perform well and more often than not did, this year I’ve lost all of that confidence -due in no small part to these ‘bad’ races and the lack of other racing.
Upon reflection though, I’ve realised that I’ve been setting myself more challenging goals, and that not hitting the target first time isn’t something to be ashamed of or surprised by. If I ran a sub-4 marathon and a sub-50 10k at the first go it would be great, sure, but this way I’ve still got that goal to work towards (and boy do I love a goal) and when I do hit it it’s going to be even sweeter. 2016 was a great year of racing for me, but maybe I was just setting myself goals that I knew I could achieve. My 2017 goals have been massive in comparison – running a sub-4 hour marathon at the first attempt? Huge. A sub-50 10k? Huge for somebody who historically lacks speed endurance. That doesn’t mean they’re unobtainable – far from it, I’m sure I’ve got it in me – just that they may take a little more time, effort and failed attempts. I’ve learned a lot from both and I’m no longer as disheartened by them. So I’m not giving up on the big goals, but I’m stepping back for a moment and rebuilding my inner strength.
The first step is to get my race confidence back. So next Sunday I’m running the MK Winter Half – one of my favourite races – and for once I haven’t set myself a time goal. My aim is to run it ‘well’ and by that I mean to pace myself sensibly, enjoy it and hopefully not end up with a personal worst time. My only three previous half marathons have been run in 1.58, 1.55 (at the Winter Half last year) and 1.54 so I’m going to by no means jog round, but a PB isn’t on my radar and I would consider it a brilliant success if I got a course PB. I’m also beyond excited to be meeting up with a few Insta-friends that I’ve been girl crushing on for some time now, so I have every hope that it’s going to be a fabulous day.
The aim after that is to keep half marathon fitness up until next spring, where I’m going to aim for sub-1.50 half marathon (race still undecided so please hit me up with any ideas, MK Festival of Running and another crack at the Cambridge Half are currently on my shortlist) and see where that fitness leaves me in terms of my 5k and 10k times. After that, having hopefully built myself a decent base, it’ll be back into marathon training for Loch Ness in September.
I’m really excited for the next year of running (ask me again when I’m trying to train for a marathon in summer…) and I’m feeling fit and happy in my running at the moment. I’ve never been able to run four times a week due to injury/niggles/DOMS of doom, but I’m alternating three and four run weeks at the moment and it seems to be serving me well. This will obviously be the kiss of death and I’ll get injured as soon as I hit ‘publish’ but it’s nice to be loving my running for now.
I’ll post again after the Winter Half, so fingers crossed for a good one….