How Far Do I Run?

I was asked the other day “how far do you run?” My answer of “to the finish line!” was met with a smile, but the question had got me thinking…

What my inquisitor wanted to know of course was what distance were the events I run in and the real answer is it depends what races people suggest. Looking at my upcoming events page I have everything from a 10k up to a full marathon in the next 6 months, and I still harbour dreams of an ultra in the not to distant future. I will enter anything, anytime, if a friend asks me to run with them. I know I can do a half marathon relatively comfortably with little specific preparation, albeit slowly, so anything less than that and I figure I may as well add to my medal haul and give it a go. I am starting to wonder though, am I really achieving my best, and if not surely that should be my aim?

These thoughts were compounded when I agreed to the Bournemouth Marathon in October. I counted back 12 weeks in the diary to start planning some event specific training, and this is where I ran in to difficulty. The weekend of what should be my last long run I’m actually doing a half marathon already so a good 7-9 miles short, and the week after that when I should be mid taper and taking it easy I have a race pace 10 mile run representing my club in a team relay. Not exactly ideal preparation. Going further back in the training plan and numerous summer 10k events litter my diary. A flat out 6 miles has no place in a marathon training schedule, but then if I’m working towards long distance I’m not going to be training for speed over 6 miles so they will be slow anyway. Oh, and I haven’t even mentioned the mountain bike events I’ll be doing in those months, I’ve got to get some training rides in for those too. It’s all very confusing!

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So, what is the answer? Do I pick one event and focus all my efforts on preparing for it, forsaking all other races? Do I make shorter distances and going faster my aim and give up going long completely? Can I really balance all these different events in to some sort of logical plan that will allow me to reach anywhere near my potential, or should I just drop any dreams of PBs and go out to run slowly whatever is put in front of me?

Answers and suggestions on a postcard please, or a comment, because I really don’t know what I want to run and how and the effect is I feel like every mile I do is wasted at the moment.

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2 Responses to How Far Do I Run?

  1. gorunjess says:

    I think as long as you are happy with your runs and races, then you’re doing the right thing. If you’ve crossed the finish line with some regrets, then maybe hone in on training for a specific time in a specific race. I enjoy reading your blog, keep up the great work!

    • James Clay says:

      Thanks Jess! I guess this post was born of the realisation that I’m not getting any younger and I’m not going to get any quicker just by luck! That clashes with not wanting to waste any time by missing races while I focus on any specific distance. The upshot is I’ve planned an utterly ridiculous few weeks prior to my next marathon, which has taught me a valuable lesson!

      Luckily though, I’m still enjoying the running and loving collecting race medals, so it’s a nice problem to have at least!

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