There are runners who run continuously throughout the year regardless of what races they choose to do, those who run for their fitness workouts and those who plan their running year and schedule in rest periods and cross train over the winter then start again, building for the season ahead. I would definitely put myself in the latter category as I like to have target races to aim for and would struggle to keep running if I didn’t have a focus. The downside to that is races inevitably pop up when you either haven’t planned or forget to add it into your schedule. Today was that day.
Perth Road Runners are one of a cluster of clubs from Tayside, Fife and Central areas who take part in the annual Hartley Relays. This is a fantastic event where each club takes turns in hosting and this year it was the turn of Beacon Runners from Burntisland. The event consists of teams of 6 (Men) or 5 (Women or Mixed) running a distance of roughly 1 mile, and over 2 laps (each runner completes 2 laps in the sequence of the team line-up).
This was an event I completely forgot to add into my schedule, even though I’ve taken part in the last 3 or 4 events, and so I was running on the back of a rest period following the Aviemore Half Marathon. While I’ve done a few runs recently, I wouldn’t consider any of them serious training runs so I was slightly concerned when I was told I would be in the Men’s ‘A’ Team. I was in this team last year when we won but I was running much faster at that point and so my fear was that I’d be the weak link in a typical strong team. I was relieved to find out that the Mixed ‘A’ Team was to be our strongest team and I was in a team with other guys of similar pace to me.
The team effort in this event is what I really enjoy as you push yourself that little bit harder for the cause. I was delighted that my fitness wasn’t as bad as I believed and I was reasonably consistent with 6.56 in the first lap and 7.03 in the second. It’s common for the 2nd lap to be much slower following a strong effort in the first. I was delighted with this as it was a tough course and while the times aren’t my fastest, they were still better than I thought I would do.
This was a hard enough effort though to remind me how good I feel after a hard race and to start thinking about where I want to be next year so I feel today is the catalyst to start building my training up again between now and the end of the year ahead of the start of marathon training in January.
Where to now? I need to build my speed up so I will be aiming for shorter, faster runs, hill training and interval training before I need to start increasing the mileage. Traditionally, I’ve left the marathon training to the first Monday in January but feel that if I start now with some speed work and distances up to 10k, I will be further ahead come January and so I will have a better chance of achieving my goal in Paris in April.