Flicking your switch 

 So I had 6 aims this year split over 3 distances.

 To PB at 5k, 10k and half marathon were the first three and my “achievable aims”. All being well the aim was to do this the first half of the season and if all kept going well aim for my second/ ultimate “wish list” tier in the second half, namely to go sub 18, sub 38 and sub 1.30.

When I was injured last winter I made my wee plan of what I thought would be my best way to tackle them. From the last 3 blogs you will see that the sub 18 was royally spanked on the arse at my final attempt of the season, which was a huge unexpected thrill after having PB’ed in the first half as planned. The sub 38 I got nowhere near, though taking over 30 seconds off my PB from last year and running consistently under 39 mins is good progress. So as a whole, happy there. When it came to the half marathon my big, big aim was the sub 1.30. I chose to run Alloa as a training run back in March hoping, if really fortunate, to get under my best of 1.32 odds. Prior to that, in January, I chose the Great Scottish Run to be my sub 1.30 attempt later in the year. Shortly after entering I realised I wouldn’t be able to do it, so transferred my place and entered the Scottish Half in Edinburgh instead. The only flaw to this masterplan was that due to being pushed on by the Legend and Emma I broke the 1.30 at Alloa. Agreed only by a small margin, but I still unexpectedly did it. So haven’t cared about half marathons since with the exception of Haddington which was a different monkey off the back simple completion run. No runs of any real length since, and I concentrated on short and track racing to get my sub 18. Now this DID work with a track medal thrown in as a bonus, so no regrets. Last week’s failed 10k PB attempt showed me what I expected though, that while my speed is good, my endurance isn’t. While this was disappointing it was no shock. And in the last week due to work I have managed one easy run, with very similar last week.

Which brings me to this weekend.

I have the Scottish Half Marathon at Edinburgh. A pencilled in PB attempt from January that I now don’t really care about, nor have I prepared for. These races aren’t cheap so not running isn’t an option. So I am curious to hear what YOU all do in such a situation. It counts for nothing. I don’t need to go time chasing or position chasing, but can you go out there, amongst all those people and atmosphere and NOT strive to do your best? Can you flick that switch off? Is there a fear of blow up? Or the opposite, is there a fear of finishing and feeling too easy and wishing you had given a bit more out there? Now I know I have a competitive nature without the actual ability to back it up. My competitive nature is 95% against myself, the other 5% certain individuals I like to compare myself against. So I haven’t decided, but this being me whatever I decide will prove to be wrong so expect another self-deprecating and irritating disaster blog by Monday. Enjoy your weekend’s racing blogpeeps 😉

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6 thoughts on “Flicking your switch 

  1. Interesting read as ever, Mark…I’ve had a somewhat different experience this year, only my fifth full year running at the age of 54. I had a goal to run a marathon…which I’d always promised myself I wouldn’t do, till I thought I was ready. I also wanted to be under 4 hours.
    After a season training and running with Strathaven Striders last year..and a loss of over 2 stone in weight, I duly achieved that at the first time of asking in Manchester in April, running 3.56.09…despite IT band problems from about 5 weeks out.
    Quite unscheduled since then, I’ve now got under 21 at parkrun, and have consistently been between 44 and 45 at 4 or 5 10k attempts, since my PB at the distance at 43.56 in January. I’ve suddenly found that running…and running at a fairly reasonable pace…is something I’m actually not too bad at!
    Trouble is that, just as we get to the sharp end of the season, with a new 1.41 half PB set just 2 weeks ago in Aberfeldy, and with Dublin at the end of October being targeted for a sub 3.45 marathon attempt, the bloody IT bands are playing up again, after a track session this week.
    And yes, I know all the advice about rolling and stretching, and will be doing that vigorously… but, to return to your point, I am set to tackle that 10k PB at Cumbernauld on Sunday, followed by the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half the following week and then the Great Scottish Run 10k….while I still feel like having a go this week, the difficulty will be for me in ‘flicking my switch’ for the other two….and effectively trying to cruise while others round about are racing. I don’t know if I can do it…I struggle to ‘take it easy’ on a parkrun with nothing at stake.
    I know that….in the interests of my body getting me through the last few weeks before the taper for Dublin…I have to try and ‘switch off’…….but I’m not sure if I can……
    Enjoy reading all your stuff….

    Alan Cox

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At 52 years of age myself your targets are quite appropriate for me too. While getting the sub 1.30 half marathon at Loch Leven 2 years ago, though, a sub 18 min 5km now seems like a tall order. 18.40 is about as fast as I’ve done it this year. But then maybe it’s down to the speed/endurance balance as you say which in my own case is probably stronger for the latter. Good luck at the weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

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