Sometimes you just run

I have been using the TrainAsOne online coaching/training platform for 9 months now. During this time I have felt my fitness improve (and seen run data to prove it), ran my fastest 10k race for 3 years, beat my previous 5k and 10k PBs during the course of one particularly hard Saturday morning training session, and run a new 50k PB during the recent 54k Hangman Ultra.

All of this is most rewarding, and I’m delighted that I’m actually starting to feel

a) like a decent runner after years of convincing myself that I was a plodder; and

b) as if I have the potential to be a much better runner

c) that I can and will make further improvements to my speed and endurance

All of these will help with my Grand Slam plans for 2019.

TrainAsOne has been a real benefit to my running, taking away the (self-imposed) pressure to write and update my own training plans and allowing me to let go of control and do as TAO tells me.

On occasion I have decided to go for a different run to that on the TAO plan, such as when I go for a trail run with Phil, in the knowledge that TAO will adapt my plan taking this into account.

However, over the last week I abandoned the training plan and runs scheduled by TAO. While I did 4 runs over Monday to Friday, as scheduled, these were all of the “just run” and “let’s see where this takes me” kind of runs as we returned to St Malo in France for another 6 nights of family holiday. I have run some routes there over the last 2 years, before, so used the opportunity this year to extend them, explore new trails and routes, and surprise myself by not getting lost!*

These runs were all in the TAO category “Freestyle” as there was no specific time or distance goal, I stopped where and when I felt like to take in my surroundings, the views and historical/cultural information, and there were multiple photo stops along the way.

Running is all about balance (pun intended). Targeted, focused training has helped me to improve my fitness, speed and endurance, building my confidence in my own ability and increasing my capacity to push myself to achieve better performances than I thought I could. It is, however, important to remember that I run because I enjoy it, revel in how it makes me feel, and it gives me the opportunity to explore new places. I did just that over the last 5 days and absolutely loved it!

I’ll be back on the TAO plan and will follow it (most of the time, anyway) from next week. For now, I’m smiling at the memories from 4 freestyle, flexible, just running runs exploring St Malo this week and glad I decided to rebel and enjoy my holiday runs like a run tourist. 4 runs, 35 miles, and lots of smiling done.

*In 2016, I went out for one particular run planning to do 8 miles and ended up doing 20 miles and taking 6 hours after getting lost, so I now have offline maps downloaded to my mobile phone and carry this with me on all of my runs overseas!