Monday, 4 April 2011



Whilst I've always championed the cause that training should be enjoyable, for me  from day 1 there has always been a race on the horizon and that has always dictated the training planned and executed. Take away the desire for competition and the need to train usually  diminishes. If not total the intensity just is not required. Only natural really.  I have had racing troughs as in 1994 when I only ran 4 races and consequently the training was halve to around the 40 mile mark. It took a change of club to motivate me again.
 Speaking to Complete Runner customers it's interesting to learn how their approach to racing varies so much. Many don't race at all, using running as a means of "unwinding", keeping the weight down or just an attempt to "stay young and beautiful"...body maintenance.
 Quite a lot just run a couple of big races each year. They talk frequently and enthusiastically about the "GNR", the Great North Run, the world's largest half marathon and "the Marathon",  referring to the London as if it was the only one on the planet!
 Questionably many club runners seem to crave a weekly fix; even  a twice weekly fix in summer. They seem to record very consistent performances but perhaps never really make great progress towards a fabulous P.B.
 Then there are those who say they aim for 3 or 4 key races in a year in which they aim to peak. Tune up or build up races on the way are not run at training pace but they are run  with an eye to the main prize.  The "big one" demands a good taper or ease down, hopefully an outstanding performance, leaving the runner
well and truly spent. A period of recovery and it's  off again rebuilding the "wall of fitness" for the next defining event.
 I think I have tended to fall into the latter category. Certainly in the '80s when 3, 4 or even 5 marathons would define the aims and objectives of the running year.  I could accept the toll the  event had on the body; nature of the race.   A case of.....
                          The marathon is a 26.2 mile race, get used to it!

I've suffered that post big race feeling the last week.  Shame because the Great Grizedale Trail race was not exactly listed by me as  a defining major race , far from it.  Not exactly the "big one"!
As with several I spoke to we were half regarding it as our off road Sunday run with a number on.
 But as I always say I defy anyone to hold themselves back to their normal training pace with a     number is attached to your racing vest.   Nigh on impossible!
No, I wasn't prepared for the damage the roller coaster Lake District event would do to the old legs.  Partly because just that I wasn't prepared  for it!  As I said I coped better than most with the hills but  essentially I don't run "do hills" like I use to.   (Note to self:  build in more hill work!)
 So the 7 days of week 13 didn't quite go as well as planned.   No days missed, but fewer miles (40) , every day less than pencilled in,  and no speed session. Yes,  I  felt so drained I even  missed my "farewell" (official) session at Seedhill Track which will no longer be open in the the morning due to cut backs.  
 Following a week of "icing" after every run the soreness gradually faded and I managed a 10 yesterday albeit in a slow pace. 
   In contrast, a customer who ran last Sunday's race told me he raced again on the Tuesday night and  another lady recovered such that she ran not one but 2 10Ks trail races last weekend.   (I passed her at 4 miles last week and she finished 5 minutes down at the end )
  As I said,  runners'  approach to racing varies so much, it takes all sorts.  But ,hey, as long as we're all enjoying our running what the heck, that's all that matters really isn't it? 
                                               Or how do you see it?


  1. Yesterday I went out and tried a LDWA 2 weeks after the Rome Marathon. I'd deceived myself into believing that I wouldn't race it, then took off at around mile 5. Wish I'd had you there to tell me not to be such a silly bu**er.

    You nailed it Terry. If you're not enjoying yourself what's the point?

  2. Just read your Rome Marathon report, Simon. An excellent account. I even managed to avoid skipping to the end to sneak a peak at your final time. So sorry you missed out on the 3 hour mark. Mi dispiace tanto!
    The blog several things into question. One, 26.8 miles. 0.6 out!? Calls into question very much the course measurement, surely. Two, you were relying on running even pace by sticking with the 3 hour pace balloon. Would you have been better having jst a couple of minutes in hand at the half way? Say going through in 88 mins? Three, I would advise any running a "foreign" race to run kilometrers rather than miles. For example, I targetted 2:50 in Amsterdam in 1998 and knew 4 mins per K would bring me in in 2:48.41. With poor weather from 35KM I ran 2:50.05, Found running through the kilometrers so much "easier"
    It would have been good to have read about your build up to this race. Heard about your speed sessions and your long runs. Hope you can find more time for blogging. I would siygn up as a follower.
    Not sure how to post a comment on your site so have to reply via my own , sorry.
    The Blubberhouses run looked interesting. Will give it a study.
    Now...behave....and recover....Terry

  3. A really good read Terry. It shows that you can go out and enjoy a run for what it is, even if it does mean a bit of post event soreness in the process. My legs are heavy today after Sunday but I'm already looking forward to the next event. I guess I've got the running bug and that to some extent has to go to your encouraging comments. So thanks Terry and keep on running! John

  4. You stole my underlying theme for my last weeks training.
    The questions I was going to pose were.
    Why do I run? Why do you run? What purpose does your running have in your life?

    Do you recognise any of these scenarios that you might have asked yourself?
    Do you know what you really want from your running?
    Are you getting from your running what you really want or expect?
    Are you not improving despite seemingly training harder?
    Would you like to feel you are actually racing, instead of just running?
    Are you meeting your goals?
    Where would you like to be running wise in one years time?

  5. I'd say that, like you, I tend to pick a few important races for the year and train specifically for those. However, I've always enjoyed my running and would still run if all races were banned.

    I've been a runner now since I watched the Munich Olympics on TV as a child and I can honestly say that, since I began running ultra distances in 2006, I'm enjoying things more than ever.

  6. Good to hear from you, Chris. You have to be respected for setting goals and then banging in all those miles to achieve those goals as I know you do. E.G. Running to and from races for a start! Chances are though when you reduce the lenhth of your race goals or finish racing altogether your training will have half the volume as my has now.
    kleep in touch, T.