, , , , , , , , , ,

Monday evening Matt and I went for a 5 mile run. He’d created Club Athens for him, me and Liam on Strava so we can keep up with each other’s’ training and as a way of remembering that beautiful run of Athens Marathon last November were the three of us last ran together. Liam was otherwise engaged so it was just the two of us tonight. Armed with head torches to help light our way we took on the darkness of the evening darkening around us after a vibrant orange sunset.

Matt asked;

What do I want from running in the next few months or mid-term?

Sub 5 hours at Alexander The Great Marathon in April

Sub 55 minutes at Bristol 10K in May

Average 9 minute miles consistently – get rid of those pesky 10 minute miles

Work towards a plant based diet

What do I want from running in 2015 in general or long-term?

Run 2 hour Half Marathon at the Bristol Half Marathon in September

Break 5k PB of 26 minutes

Average 7-8 minute miles consistently

5:45 minutes at Bath Running Festival Marathon in August

Sub 4:50 at Bristol and Bath Marathon in October

Sub 4:40 at Athens Marathon in November

Sub 4:30 Portsmouth Coastal Waterside Marathon in December

Average 13+ miles per week for the year and be training comfortable with training consistently

darknessI felt these were good questions and I enjoyed answering them. I later found out he’d asked these questions to figure out what kind of run we’d go on this evening. If it was just to do with losing weight or keeping fit it would have been an easy go of it. Because all my answer was speed based he rejoiced and mapped out a technical route for some hard homework. We have the overall goal of Olympus Marathon 2016 but it’s important to know what you want out of running from the outset. The things we want to work towards. The desires that will get us training on freezing February evenings when all you want to do is go to bed after a long day at work. Knowing what you want to prepare for is the key for having the motivation to prepare for it in the first place.

We ran through the Durdham Downs grassy areas and turned off to head down into Hotwells. “Thanks for the light guys, same time next week,” called a pair of runners humorously who were before us. I’ve always found it brilliant how even if runners don’t know each other we can communicate heartily about the same goal and comment to those around us putting our bodies through the same ideal.

Running trails in the dark really is amazing. You feel so free because you have no choice but to worry less about where your foot is falling because of the limits of your vision. You have to trust yourself. The descents where slightly treacherous towards the end of the Downs which reminded me of Cheddar Gorge’s trails which would have been fine if the already slippy rocks of the Avon weren’t covered in ice. That mile was a very slow 15 minutes but I worked hard putting in so much effort on the rise and falls of the land that I generally felt a little ill. I was glad to get back to the level grass up top for some solid ground again. Matt pointed out the constellations as the stars were crystal clear with not a cloud in the sky as we made it back.

Afterwards we returned to my house where I cooked the Minnesota Winter Chilli recipe from Scott Jurek’s Eat and Run which went down a treat after a hard session of trails in the darkness and I had a glass of rose wine. As this was my eighth run in a row I felt exhausted but I knew I was exhausted because I’d put in lot of hard work and technical aspects instead of plodding along to get the miles done. This is more important than “junk” miles and I will try to focus on this more during training runs.