Respect the distance


Respect the distance

One thing I have learnt over the last few years running is that you need to respect the distance you are running. Too many people find certain races difficult because they haven’t trained well enough, or hard enough, or had time to train sufficiently. You cannot expect the best results if you don’t put the time in during your training leading up to the race.

Respect - Ali G
It’s all about respect, innit?!

Time to train is difficult to find at this time of year. The weather is merciless, the temperatures are heartless, and the conditions generally aren’t conducive to running at your very best for many people.

Autumn marathons v Spring marathons

I have ran two marathons over the last two years, and have really enjoyed the experiences of both of them. They were both autumn marathons and whilst it was very hot training during the summer leading up to the races, lighter evenings and firmer ground helped tremendously.

2014 Yorkshire Marathon finisher - Pain in temporary, pride is forever
2014 Yorkshire Marathon finisher – Pain in temporary, pride is forever

My last marathon was last October. In the weeks and months since then I have ran shorter distances, faster times, and been quite happy with my times and speeds up to 10k distances.

The inclination is there to put the hard work in to do the marathon training at this time of year. But circumstances mean that I don’t have as much time available to commit to the training level that I want to do, and know that I
can achieve.

Deferring my marathon until 2017

I have decided to defer my place in the Manchester marathon until 2017. I should have more time available then to fully commit to the training that is required if I am going to go for a time that I know that I can be capable of. There is no one thing that is stopping me at the moment doing it this year, but I feel the need to respect the distance and not half-heartedly train towards it if I am going to get the most out of the experience. I could run it and complete it,
but it may not be to the level I feel I could achieve.

The body needs rest, the body needs to be treated sensibly and with consideration. When we put so much pressure on our bodies during marathon training, it has repercussions on other parts of our lives, and it is important to get the right balance of these sacrifices we make against the benefits that will be had.

Respecting the distances, even shorter ones

I’ve spent much of the last 18 months training for specific events – the first marathon, then getting my speed back for shorter distances, and then the second marathon. Now I am choosing to make sensible choices and to concentrate on fewer races in 2017 and not to aim to do so much, but to aim for quality, not quantity – which hasn’t been the case so much over the last couple of years.

Having competed in over 50 races over the last couple of years, I have learnt a thing or two about race days and how prepared I am for them. I have enjoyed more than I have not enjoyed, but there are probably only about 1/4 of those where I have performed at my optimal level. I would like to think that by reducing the number of races I do, I can concentrate on a specific race and distance better.

More than a distance
More than a distance

It is very easy for complacency to slip in for shorter races when you have ran longer distances. Just because I have run a couple of marathons and 17 half marathons (at the time of writing), I have no given right to expect to be able to smash a good time for a 5k or a 10k run. They are different battles, different challenges, and they need to be respected if you are going to seek improvement in times and performances.

At the start of 2017, I want to feel completely refreshed so that when I start my marathon training I don’t have any overhanging aches, pains, niggles, or struggles. I want to feel like my diary has been sufficiently cleared to be able to commit fully to the 14 weeks of marathon training.

I am putting a lot of faith in the saying ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’ and hope that in 2017 I reap the benefits of being sensible and not skimping on training time which is what I would be doing if I tried to run it this year.

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