Sunday, November 13, 2016

Plans for 2017: tears of joy and fear

Well, to paraphase David Bowie in Five Years, the news has just come over and I have five months left to cry in: my name came out of the hat for the Grand Union Canal Race (GUCR)... Actually, I'm thrilled - it's been on my radar for three years now, but it always seemed a distant dream. I grew up in England, and figure this is as good a way as any to visit a large chunk of it. And, of course, the GUCR is the epitome of low-key iconic races that I'm now targeting.

So here we go... With the new job it's going to be a challenge. Anyway, last year gave me the confidence that I have the endurance to finish - but it proved to me that I need to develop better speed over longer distances and actual running (leg) endurance on flat surfaces. Since work is quite intense right now, and I'm not ready to start sacrificing evenings and early mornings, I'm working on a 3-4 day a week marathon training program focused on a day of intervals (400m to 1k), a tempo day, a long run (shorter but much faster than what I'd usually run, basically not just marathon pace but a target marathon pace that is 20mn faster than my last best time).

I plan on doing that until december ending with a 22-mile run, then really hit with a training plan inspired by what someone set up for his Spartathlon. It means working with heart-rate monitor, which is probably better for me because another realization from this year is that I really have no clue what my training paces should be. I just say, "oh, I'd love to run 100km in 10h" and base my paces on what that would take - and of course not hitting them at all. A friend says I should get a trainer, but for the moment this is much more fun. Anyway, with the HRM, I can follow the plan and probably find out what the best pace is for me for long runs/tempos/intervals, and take it from there. It calls for quite a few back-to-back longish run with speed followed by longer run at race pace, and that fits ok with my schedule.

Anyway, I've been structuring my training for only two years now, and there's been progress, so at least I'm heading in the right direction. And again: it's fun building my own plan...

So other plans for 2017 include something completely different, something I thought I'd never do, but now I feel not only represents great physical and mental training, but I also find it intriguing in its own right: a time track race, in this case, 12 hours around a mile-long track, at the other end of the lake from Geneva, in Villeneuve. It's about 6 weeks before GUCR, which seems ok if I don't go overboard. I figure, on the other side of crazy must lie transcendence!

Of course, training went really well this morning. Stress at work (which is linked to an event next week, so limited in time) means I've been sleeping poorly, so I went running early but it was complete shit: felt heavy (well, I do need to lose 10-12 pounds), legs hurt at mile 5, and  was constantly in the "feels like running, definitely jogging" zone. Utterly horrible. Did 20km in about the time I'd intended to do 28...

As I said, five months left to cry in... Well, actually a little more than six but that doesn't have the same ring.

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