You know that you are on a mission when you are willing to get out of bed at 6.00am on a Sunday morning and run 10 miles in the dark wearing three layers of running kit with the temperature at minus a lot. This is what I did in February of this year when faced with the prospect of missing a long training run because of a family lunch commitment.
The mission I was on was to run the London Marathon. From the moment I signed up I was single-minded – almost to the point of obsession. Whether it was equipment, nutrition, mental strategy or long training runs, I was all over it. And once I had committed to trying to finish in less than four hours I went into turbo-charged obsession although my wife has another word for it!
I experienced the opposite this summer when I was training for a triathlon. I would juggle training sessions, find reasons not to do every brick session and if in doubt I fell back on what I liked best – running. This wasn’t from any lack of motivation to do the triathlon, I just hadn’t engaged with the whole thing. Part of this was because I didn’t have a clear idea of how to structure a triathlon training program – but that should have been easy to solve. The real reason was because I hadn’t committed myself emotionally. This process of getting my head into the game is really important for me and explains the difference between my summer of “keep fit” sessions ending with a triathlon versus my winter of fanatical dedication culminating in one of the most wonderful endurance events I have experienced.
In the last few weeks I have been planning next year’s racing. Part of my problem this year was that I didn’t think beyond April and the marathon. With my “A” race done and dusted by mid-April and no further plans, I confess that I drifted a bit. So for next year I am planning my “A” race for much later in the season.
If I am to get my head into the game then I also know that my “A” race has got to be something that I really want to do. The London Marathon was a lifelong ambition. On the other hand The Valley Leisure Triathlon that I trained for after the marathon, as good as I am sure it was, didn’t have quite the same pull and may partially explain my less than focused approach. So I have gone for another big one in 2013.
My plan for 2013 is to do Ironman 70.3 Lanzarote in October as my “A” race and I am building my summer around that. In an effort to build a good base of fitness over the Winter I am going to do the Bath Half Marathon in March. Then, after a short rest I am going to take 10 weeks to train for the Blenheim Sprint Triathlon in June. A group of us from Andover Triathlon Club are doing Blenheim so I am really looking forward to that. After another brief rest and recovery period it’s straight into a 16-week training program to get me to Lanzarote on 5 October. I will sprinkle a few other shorter events and at least one Olympic distance tri into the summer months to help get my endurance up and keep it interesting.
Next stop was to go, plan in hand, to talk it through with one of the club coaches at Andover Tri. I got the thumbs up that it all made sense and straight away I felt the old feeling coming back. As I mapped out my 12-weeks of run training for the Bath Half Marathon I felt the butterflies start to kick in and the switch in my head move to “committed”. Game on!
I have spent the last month trying to build a running fitness base. My Bath Half Marathon training starts on Monday and I am really up for it. The moment I realised I was committed last year was when I nursed one beer all evening at our company Christmas party because I had to get up and run the next morning. The Christmas party this year is a week on Tuesday and I plan to run the next day. I’ll let you know!!!