Off and running

With targets set and even a training plan written for the first part of the year it was time to actually get out there and do some training. Christmas was fun but now it’s in the rear view mirror it’s been good to get back to some sort of normality, particularly with  my running. With targets to aim for I’ve been feeling really motivated for the first couple of weeks of the year, and I’m enjoying the training. I think the unseasonable conditions are helping, I’ve yet to get soaked or frozen on a run…..give it time though, it’ll happen sooner or later.

Sunday saw the annual pilgrimage down to Minnis Bay in Thanet for our latest cross country race. Ask anyone who takes part in the league what their favourite race is and chances are it’ll be this one. It’s actually not the most challenging or demanding of courses, but it does have a few of these……

There’s usually around four of these, they’re a combination of water, mud and other liquids I’d rather not dwell on (or in). And in January they are normally icy cold. Depending on rainfall levels some have been chest deep in years past, and anyone who has run will have their tales to tell of how they traversed the legendary Minnis Bay dykes and lived to tell the tale and then spent the next two weeks trying to clean the mud off their kit and shoes (You can see me taking the plunge at around 2:35 in the above clip).

As for this year conditions were fairly benign, there was the one dyke with waist deep water, the rest were ankle or knee deep at worst. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst) this year was a 6 at best, but it’s still a fun race, and I had a far better performance than I was expecting. Conditions were very similar last year and I ended up running 3 and a half minutes faster this year, averaging 7:43 per mile, which bodes well for the coming weeks if I can do that kind of pace on an off-road course.

Away from the running I’ve been swimming a few times as part of my plan to do some strength and conditioning work, I find it a great low-impact workout. I need to get up the gym at some point but I want to work out a routine for when I do so I can be properly focused and not just drift around the gym doing random exercises like I have done in the past.

This weekend sees my first road race of the season, the Canterbury 10m, a race I’ve done many times in the past. It’s quite a challenging, undulating course so I’m not sure what to expect time-wise, although my plan does have reduced mileage this week so hopefully my legs will be reasonably fresh. Ideally I’d like to go sub 1:20 but I’d be happy with something in the low 1:20s being the first race of the year. Fingers crossed the weather will be somewhat better than the sub-zero temperatures and fog we had to contend with last year!

I’ve also volunteered to help out at Maidstone Parkrun this week, and I’m really looking forward to that having run there the last two weekends.

That’s all for now, hope everyone is still enjoying their training, and good luck if you’re racing this weekend.

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