2018 is upon us and it’s been the usual time of reflection. When it comes to running, I don’t have much to complain about. 2017 has been pretty good on the running front. I’ve completed some fantastic races, my times have improved, and my confidence has grown.
Thinking ahead, here’s what I’d like to achieve in 2018.
Hello Ultra Running!
When I think about this logically, I start to question why I would ever contemplate running further than a marathon. 26.2 miles hurts, both mentally and physically. It’s a long way. It’s certainly long enough.
And yet, over the past 12 months my mind keeps wondering what an ultra would be like. It kind of feels like a natural progression for me. I’ve developed a real love for trail running and can’t believe I spent my 20s hyping up the benefits of running on the road! I feel I’ve the gusto and inner strength to embark on an ultra marathon distance. On a good day, once the training is done and I’m in the right frame of mind, I know I can do it, and do it well.
After running the 20 mile (Red) RAT in 2017, I’ve been waiting to enter the 32 mile Roseland August Trail (known as the Black RAT). Having completed the 11 mile option twice as well, it feels right to attempt the next distance on offer. With that in mind, I wanted to do Pure Trail’s 16 mile Race The Tide as a training run but they sweet talked me into the 29 mile baby ultra. That was nice of them, wasn’t it?
So all being well, 2018 will feature 2 ultramarathons!
Run Pain Free
Yes please! We all want this, don’t we?
I have been rather fortunate on the injury front for a few years now which is remarkable given my lack of stretching. I’m plagued by sciatica though and running aggravates it. Yoga has been my friend and it really helps, although the latest bout of sciatic pain is overstaying it’s welcome.
I need to be a good girl and make yoga part of my training plan rather than waiting for the pain to set in. I have to make it part of my weekly schedule. It shouldn’t be hard, it only takes about 20 minutes.
Make Every Session Count
I got better at this in 2017 and I’m sure it’s one reason for my times improving. As I can only run three times a week, I have to make the most of each session. If I miss one, I can’t go another time. At present I do one long run, one recovery run, and one short interval/tempo run. Over 2017 I started running with a friend. Her long run day fell on my recovery run day, so we joined up. We ended up running further, usually on difficult terrain. Looking back, I think it really helped. While it may not have been a recovery run as such, I was running on tired legs and I’m sure it improved my endurance and strength. It’s also what I need to do to prepare for an ultra.
Every other Sunday I have the opportunity to run. I only occasionally made use of this in 2017 but I’m aiming to make this part of my running routine. It’ll be a challenge as lazy Sunday mornings are bliss. The plan is to add a longer (90 minute) run to my plan. The emphasis here will be on mixed sessions, such as intervals and then running at half marathon pace for the remainder of the time. For this I use the Guardian Guide to Running Podcast (The Advanced Marathon Training option but there are other options for different levels). It’s really helped me focus my runs as I’m sure without it, speed sessions and hill reps wouldn’t have happened that frequently.
Lets see how it goes! What running goals do you have for 2018? Have these come from your 2017 experiences, or are you new to running? I’d love to know.