My dad has this quote on a little plaque in his study. I think I get my willingness to learn, to explore, to reflect from him. One of the best things about running is you never stop learning. The most difficult thing about running is you never stop learning.
At the moment I'm in the middle of a lot of thinking, processing and reflecting. New running challenges this year mean I need to take a new approach to training, and what I've learned from last year has also given me a lot of food for thought.
I was feeling pretty upbeat after Portsmouth and was happy to run how and when I felt like it for a couple of weeks. This week my running just hasn't felt right. Nothing has flowed, I haven't enjoyed it. Yesterday in karate training I took a heavy fall whilst sparring and I feel too sore to want to run today. It doesn't really matter- I'm not thinking of serious training again until next month anyway- but it does feel odd not doing a LSR when my twitter and Facebook feeds are full of people already cramming in the miles.
More miles doesn't mean better training, faster miles doesn't mean better training. I know all that but it's still hard not to get drawn in and feel inadequate even though I'd planned this month to be easy. I guess it's because for most people January is full of enthusiasm for new fitness regimes and training plans whilst for me this is more like end of year than a new start. I also think that perhaps it's taken body and mind a while to really process the experience of running my first marathon and only now is the full impact hitting home. I've been too easily upset by things this week and I know now that's a sure sign of deep fatigue so cutting myself some slack at least as far as running is concerned will be no bad thing.
So it's time to concoct a loose sort of training plan for the Ox Ultra. The Ox is on 22nd May so the beginning of February means I'll have 16 weeks of focussed training. I'm going to take a risk and try something completely new: a plan based on a 2 week cycle of training. A fortnightly cycle will work around when I have child-free weekends, and I think it will make it easier to fit in all the different aspects of training: running, weights, stretching and injury prevention. It will also give me a bit of flexibility for when karate training is really tough and I need more recovery time. At the moment I'm only as far as planning fortnightly back-to-back runs but once I have some kind of a structure I'll post it up here and we'll see how it works out.
I'm late into this running lark so if I want longevity in it then the most important thing is to make my training sustainable. That means not overdoing it and paying attention to training as a whole so that running, strength, flexibility, nutrition and RECOVERY all have equal importance.
Watch this space...