Last Tuesday I was out running with friends. It was wonderful, a little bit of trail, good conversation and a good pace. It did get me thinking though, as August ends so does my ‘Summer of Fun’, this shit is about to get real. It’s been great, lots of fun times and social runs, a few really good PB’s with no great pressure. I have a solid sub 22min 5k when I make an effort and I smashed the sub 45 min 10k but, it is coming to an end and I need to pull finger, so this week I need to write my plan. If I don’t have a plan what am I going to stick the fuck to. It worked so well for Manchester, I got my time and it felt good. It would be criminal not to do the same again. What I remembered though was how hard it was, both physically and mentally. There is a zone that goes along with a great plan and it can make you isolated.
I remember last winter there were many evenings where I had very specific pacing plans for runs. So specific they did not really match anything anyone else wanted to do so, I
would find myself out on my own pushing myself in all sorts of convoluted ways. It was hard but it paid off. I remember starting long runs with friends and then ditching them to obey a training plan which said I had to run the last 10 miles a minute a mile quicker. It was harder than doing a whole strange paced mission alone. I was leaving the companionship and support of my buddies to put myself through some bloody hard running in the hopes it would get me the time I wanted. This was one of the reasons that the time was so important, I could not let that sacrifice be in vain.
It won’t be long before I will be back out there again with my elaborate pacing plans and lonely moments and the pressure and tension will build. I aim to take 15mins off my Marathon time. It’s a tall order, but my pace has certainly picked up over the summer, I just need to translate that into the endurance needed for the longer distances. It all gets a bit more serious and selfish from here. Everything else falls by the wayside as the plan takes over and I run to hit my targets which will bring me in at the time I want.
Last winter it was my running buds who made this all a bit easier. I knew they understood and they helped where they could. They put up with my whinging and my lectures on pacing plans and long convoluted lists of times and numbers. Occasionally they would give up their time to run with me and help me out with a bit of moral support. I don’t think I could have done it without them and I am sorry they may have to go through it all again but I have never promised things would be easy. If you want to get good at something you have to put in the time and sometimes that means being quite obsessed. Having other people who understand the obsession just makes it easier.
So a couple more weeks of fun left and then the training cycle begins again. I can feel it hovering and I am starting to worry about how I am going to get the rest of the crap that has filled my head over the summer out. You see being obsessed about a particular target time takes a lot of space up. At least it did during my spring training cycle, most days I knew exactly what my times and my pacing should be. There wasn’t much room for anything else and I was incredibly selfish but that was exactly how it was supposed to be. I can already feel the butterflies building even before I have started. By the end of next week I will probably be itching just to get on with it as the nerves mount.
Yes, Autumn marathon training is coming and once again this shit is about to get serious,