Sunday, 3 January 2016

New year thoughts and dilemmas

Things are slowly returning to normal post -marathon and -Christmas. It's a different kind of normal, but I'm looking forward to life being a little more settled again. I'm also excited about the adventures and challenges that this year will bring. Yes, I'm actually embracing the start of another year with a smile!

I've gained a little weight since the marathon but for once I've been kind to myself- taken things easy, got up later than usual, and not thought twice about enjoying foodie treats. Running hasn't stopped though. Far from it! Two days post-Portsmouth I thought I might as well try a recovery run and managed 4 muddy, traily miles and enjoyed almost all of it. The first mile felt hard but by the end all was good. Then I ran with my fella and some other friends on Christmas Eve to celebrate his birthday. About 8 muddy traily miles. Hard going in places, especially up hills, but all good fun.

Since Pompey my running has been off-road (and all 30-ish miles of it more or less muddy) and just for the pleasure of it. I've lost all semblance of speed but it's probably still there, it's just been a while since I did regular intervals and faster tempo runs. And herein lies a dilemma. In order to be productive training needs to be specific, right? So if training for a marathon or ultra the focus needs to be on building the endurance, time on feet, finding a 'go to' pace that I can sustain hour after hour. And if training for a hilly, off-road race then add hills and trails into the mix. But I'd like to still be able to run consecutive sub 7 min miles.

The problem to sleep on tonight is how to organise my training to maximise fitness, be ready for the Ox in May and shed the post-mara padding. Weight training is already back on course, that bit is quite straightforward- lift heavy, lift regularly or else! It's the running that's problematic. Intervals- how long and at what speed? How often to do back-to-back runs? When to try out Oregon Circuits for general running strength and fitness? Hill reps?...The list seems endless and there's still karate training to factor in too. That's taken a back seat for almost a month now, just hoping that at tomorrow's training I won't have forgotten all of it! It's been a while since I performed a kata.

This year finding a balance is going to be challenging. Keeping all my training sustainable is another challenge. Now that life is about far more than proving I can run fast I need to look after myself and never lose sight of the optimism and joy that I have right now.

Happy new year. May it be one of many joyful miles.

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