I’m a structured person, I like plans, lists, goals, meeting minutes, good queuing etiquette. I’ve tried the ‘take it as it comes’ approach and honestly it makes me uncomfortable and stresses me out. I can cope with freedom within a framework as my corporate colleagues would call it, some rules and limits to guide with freedom in between but that’s it. This applies in particular to running and training, I love setting some big goals and then building a plan to try and achieve them. Just drifting along without some structure for when/how far/how fast just makes me feel I’m wasting time and not achieving anything. Sure I have periods of training where I don’t have a training plan and instead just enjoy being out running/cycling/swimming but those periods are planned and designated as ‘holiday’ periods, you see, freedom in a framework!
I’m also not a prolific racer, I like setting a big single goal and then focusing everything on that rather than flitting between races. Setting that s There is something so interesting about the process of developing your fitness in this way, trying different approaches to training to see which gets the best results and fine tuning with each iteration. I think it also helps that a big part of my motivation for training is mental health, this is my time for reflection and de-stressing, so I don’t mind the long periods of training alone.
This year was a bit of an odd year with my big focus being the quadzilla and that was done and dusted in February, I did a couple of other races since but quite honestly I was never fully committed to the training. After a summer holiday period of just having fun I feel raring to go again though both mentally and physically.
First target is Broadway marathon in November which will be my 10th marathon and a return to the first marathon I ever ran. 26 miles of glorious trails with a few hills thrown in for good measure, sounds perfect, just hope there isn’t a repeat of the gale force winds they had last year. I’d love to go sub 4 hours there and I’m using the Hanson plan for the first time to see if that helps with smashing through the wall, a big issue in the last few marathons I’ve run.
After Broadway I have a big gap until my next BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) and for good reason, you see in June 2017 I shall attempting to become a Lakesman by taking on the Lakesman Iron distance triathlon. It makes me nervous just writing that down, as BHAG’s come that’s definitely a big one, I can remember saying to my brother that I couldn’t comprehend running a marathon after such a big swim and bike but doing the 4 back to back marathons in February got me thinking. If I could do 4 in a row then surely I could run 1 after a nice cycle around the lake district?
I chose the Lakesman for my first (and last?) Ironman attempt for some very specific reasons; first the location is stunning, if you’re going to be suffering you may as well do it somewhere beautiful. Second the bike course despite the location isn’t too hilly, gives me a good chance of having something left in my legs at the end. Thirdly the run course is laps around Keswick so plenty of opportunity for supporters to see you and give you support. Finally there is a decent size field, looking at the finishing times from this year there were plenty of people finishing in the period I expect to be in which I hope will really help when it comes to those very painful last few miles.
I’m feeling really excited and motivated at setting these goals and having a plan to work towards. Broadway is the perfect focus to build back up my fitness again and I’m trying to keep swimming and cycling once a week to maintain some level of fitness in those sports. Then a week after Broadway I begin the long build towards the Lakesman using the 30 week plan from the Be Iron Fit book which I’ve seen a few people use very successfully now. The training plan in there is focused on being time efficient and resonates with my approach to training so hopefully will work well.
That’s it, the goal is out there so no going back now. Anyone else set themselves a big goal to work towards? Are you also excited by the process of training for a goal as much as the goal itself?