Just over a month since my last post which tells you all you need to know about how busy life with 3 children has been. There isn’t much time spare each day and when there is time the brain power is lacking to get words down on the page. Running wise it’s been fun though, very low key and just running for the sake of running. I think I’ve only worn my watch 2 or 3 times which has been great, nice to just run and enjoy it. I’ve rarely run more than 4 miles at a time but after a busy year of run I think that’s been good for me.
The downside of this low key finish to the year is it’s easy to forget everything that has happened over the past 12 months. 2014 was a big year for me, one of big challenges and one for cementing my fitness after the breakthrough in 2013. The year started with my first road marathon at Taunton in April and of course my first experience of training for a spring marathon. I really enjoyed learning about a 16 week marathon build up and what I did and didn’t enjoy about that structure. I’m intrigued by doing either the Hanson method or Pzitinger plan for my next marathon to see how that different approach feels. I’d certainly like more speed work and high intensity efforts in the plan.
The Ridgeway 40 came very quickly after Taunton, so quickly that I didn’t feel like I’d done enough training going into it. Or at least not much specific training after the marathon. But I think if you can do a marathon then 40 miles isn’t actually that much harder, it’s further but at a much lower intensity and actually quite achievable. Although it’s funny how quickly running 40 miles no longer seems like a long way! It’s a great race and I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the long distance walk, going to try to do some more of their events I think. Really nice atmosphere and none of the hype of a race.
After the Ridgeway 40 it was time for the big one, the Race to the Stones, a huge challenge which if I’m honest scared me quite a bit. I was fairly sure I could finish even if it meant walking a big chunk but I really wanted my time to be at least respectable. Training for that kind of distance is hard when you have small children, I’d have loved to do some 4-5 hour runs in my training but that just wasn’t realistic. Instead I focused on doing back to back long runs as much as possible peaking in a 40 mile weekend a couple of weeks before the race. Seemed to work and I think most of the performance improvement I’d like next time I do this distance is mental rather than physical. I loved the race, the Ridgeway is a beautiful trail to run on and such variety of scenery, it also definitely helped knowing that with every step I was getting closer to the finish and my home trails. Not sure I’d do that particular race again as was so expensive, but definitely something similar.
The final big race of the year was the Yorkshire marathon, loved ending the year with a good PB and such a fab place to do it. York really is a great city and the marathon was so well organised I loved it. So much so that next week I hope to get a place in the 2015 race, however my wife and I may attempt to have a night away on our own for it this time!
The year ended doing the Swindon 10k, a race that really couldn’t be any closer to home unless it started in my front garden. So much fun being able to run past the kiddies and see them cheering as I went past. I want them to see that taking part in exercise is normal and maybe even a little inspired by their dad racing. Henry at least is desperate to go and race another Parkrun with me pushing him in the pushchair.
That’s it, what a year, 2 road marathons, a 10k, a trail relay, my first ultra and also my first 100km. Last year I set myself the target of running 1000 miles in a year, this year I’m closer to 1500 miles without even trying. Amazing what happens when you run consistently isn’t it?
Next year I’m setting myself another big goal and something new; a triathlon. In the spirit of setting a goal that scares you I’m not just doing any triathlon, instead I’ve entered to do a half ironman. Can’t wait for the new challenge of swim, bike, run and the variety it’ll bring to training.
What about you? How was your year and have you set a scary goal for next year?