Not another year in review post

This isn’t another of those year in review posts or a post about new years resolutions, no, it’s both! Clearly I’m at the cutting edge of blogging with this idea and most definitely not too busy to write 2 separate blog posts. 2015 was always intended to be back end loaded, I knew having a baby that didn’t sleep meant that planning any significant races in the first half of the year just didn’t make sense so aside from one local 5 miler I did no racing at all. Instead the focus was on getting fit again after a light winter of training and also figuring out how to swim and ride a bike again.

Yorkshire marathon medal 2015

Triathlon training was a lot of fun, not always easy fitting it all in, but I really enjoyed cross training after doing so much running in 2014. I especially enjoyed getting in the lake each week, the Cotswold water park is such a beautiful place to be early on a summers morning and the water was actually quite pleasant. I’ll never forget that first swim back in May though, the water temperature was 15 degrees and I struggled to even put my head in the water. I think we stopped at least 5 times on the way around the course while all these dolphin like swimmers flew past us. Not sure I’ll ever be quick but I am at least respectable now in terms of time and competent enough to do a half Ironman course.

Finishing my first triathlon and it being a half ironman felt like a pretty huge achievement after a very tough year averaging less than 5 hours sleep a night. But I haven’t actually ridden a bike since the race in August and have done only a handful of swims since. Amazing how quickly those habits die when you don’t have a race motivating you. If I’m going to make any resolutions for 2016 then keeping the cross training is going to be one of them, not least because of another triathlon on the calendar (more of that in a moment).

In tuck position and cruising, almost look like I know what I'm doing.

In tuck position and cruising, almost look like I know what I’m doing.

After the triathlon my focus shifted back to just running again and the Yorkshire marathon. Not my best race ever but my 4th marathon and another learning experience. This time the lesson was that there is no substitute for base mileage, I had the pace but my endurance went at 21 miles and from there it was a whole lot of pain. Great race but I’m going to look for a change of scenery for my autumn marathon this year.

My racing year ended on the last weekend in November with the awesome Sleepwalker night race, horrendous weather to be running around the Brecon Beacons at night but I loved every minute and I can’t wait to find another opportunity to go running in that area again. I think I might make that race my end of season race every year now, a great adventure to finish things off and now I know the route will be much quicker of course.

At the finish

Which leads me of course to 2016; it’s going to be a big year of racing this year, I feel like things are starting to come together for me.¬†Although this will be my 5th year of running it’s only 2 years since I did my first marathon and it’s taken time to build up the confidence that I can take on challenges and also learn about nutrition etc. I’ve also prioritised family over the past few years with the kids being so young (and multiplying) so have raced relatively few races. What’s different for 2016 is I think I now know how to structure a race season with target races and what races to add in between that compliment them or help with my development.

My race plans currently look like this:

  • February – Quadzilla (4 marathons in 4 days)
  • April – Combe Gibbert 16 miles, Commonweal 5 miles
  • May – Milton Keynes marathon
  • July – Equaliser half ironman
  • October – likely Chester marathon
  • November – Broadway marathon, Sleepwalker night race

I’m really quite excited about it, my training is going well and I’m really enjoying my long runs. I’ve kept a good level of mileage going over the winter and I think it puts me in a good strong position as the racing starts. I’m hoping this winter training also gives me a great base to build towards a PB attempt in May at Milton Keynes marathon, possibly even a time that starts 3.1x? I’m also looking forward to attempting another triathlon as well, but definitely need to spend a lot more time cycling than I did for the last one.

Have you got any big plans for this year? What’s your big target race.

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