What next?

Since running the North Downs Way 50 last month (5 weeks ago now) I’ve been:

– running a bit
– resting a bit
– eating a bit less than during my ultra training

I’ve also been enjoying running for pleasure with no targets, no plan and just for fun. In fact, my first run after NDW50 was up to the top of Butser Hill (look it up, I think it’s the highest point on the South Downs) and I loved it…

image

I relented after NDW50 and signed up for the Clarendon Marathon, after months of saying “probably” to my weekend running buddy Phil (@bigphil137). This is a cross country marathon and I’d much rather do a trail marathon than a road marathon. Here’s the details:

http://www.clarendon-marathon.co.uk

Now that I’ve signed up for my next running challenge – only my 2nd official marathon – I’m glad to be back on a plan. I spent an hour last weekend putting together my own training plan. This is the first time I’ve has the confidence to write my own plan. Whether it’ll work or not I don’t know but I’m looking forward to finding out.

I’ve built my plan around 4 runs per week – long run, speed session, hill session and recovery run – plus cross training (mountain bike and/or elliptical cross trainer) and regular stretches. I pledged to work on my core for the last 2 races but failed to do so. Having read Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald I’ve decided that I can’t make excuses any longer. There are key exercises to follow in the book, which start with 3 weeks of basic stretches and build in difficulty as the weeks progress beyond that. So far so good. I’ve done the stretches 4 times so far this week (I targeted 5 days if stretching per week).

I’m also looking to build in some basic yoga (maybe) and kettle bell exercises to help with flexibility and strength. The hope is that cross training combined with less running but better quality, focused sessions will improve my speed and endurance. Judging by the pyramid session and cross country mountain bike session  this week it’s going to test me but I’ll feel better for it.

I’ve also focused more on my diet. Although I am fed well by my wife as we eat lots of veg, salad, pasta and fruit (plus some great home made flapjacks and cakes) I went a little overboard with the chocolate. I got used to eating a chocolate bar every night (Topic, Mars, Snickers) and need to shift a few pounds and a bit of a belly. I’ve cut back on the chocolate and no longer have a bowl of cereal every night. I had an enormous appetite when I was training for NDW50 but need to reign it in now.

Bring on the rest of the training. It’s good to be back.

Now I need to think about whether or not I want to do a 100 miler next year. After watching Dan (@DanPark81), Ashley (@TheMonkeySmokes) and Glen (@gee_will_i_e) complete the SDW100 last weekend and Kevin (@maximisemylife) run 85 miles at Endure 24 I am sorely tempted. How far can I go?

Lots to consider on my long runs, starting with the @longestdayrun challenge tomorrow…..Now I just have to decide how far I think I can run given my longest run since NDW50 is 12 miles.

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