Last Friday I raced The Ealing Mile. It’s about as different from my target races as it’s possible to get in that it’s flat, short and on pavement. My inexperience and lack of speed over the distance really showed and that slightly metallic feeling was still slightly there at the back of my throat a few hours on from the race.
I’ve signed up to next months race already.
My key focus when planning my calendar for the year tends to be defined these days by Ultras and when they are. This means that my summer is entirely centred around long races and preparation for those. That doesn’t mean I’m only training endurance but psychologically endurance is always on the top of my mind. Thinking about long distance nutrition, hydration, strategy and performance is top of mind and all my metrics and targets are based around ultra races.
That season has finished now and the traditional thing to do would be to start building for next year by doing the standard endurance athlete thing of long winter base miles as the first phase of my ultra prep for next season but, as any athlete I’ve coached will know, I intend to do the very opposite.
The first reason for this is that I prefer to use a reverse of the traditional long base winter miles system common for a lot of runners and almost all cyclists. I prefer to build speed and work on my lactic threshold over the winter months then maintain those while I build more endurance in. It’s acknowledged to be better to place your race specific training close to the racing and my racing is definitely endurance and hill based.
Psychologically this is important for me too, I want a renewed focus, a new and interesting goal I can take through the winter which will contribute to my goals for next year but keep life interesting. Often, I take experienced marathoners through a structured approach to racing through 5km – 10km – half marathon – marathon and despite my end goal being longer than a marathon I’ve started much shorter than 5km.
After the one mile I will move on to trying to really smash my 5km PB before getting back to the serious business of really applied training for trail running and marathons. This has the benefit of renewed focus but also focusing on shorter events will enable me to get more racing experience which will help a lot in the long run (yes, I’m leaving that pun in).