To say things have been a bit busy recently would be an understatement. Given the nature of my job, and in particular who I work for, ‘milestone events’ and ‘data release’ deadlines seem to have been happening weekly over the past month. As a result, my running has had to take a bit of a backseat.

I’ve still managed to maintain my minimum three runs per week, but long hours on certain days have meant that I have had to do runs on back-to-back days, and some needing to be squeezed in at 5am, before setting off for work. Not ideal for sessions and recovery. This has kind of made up my mind for me in terms of my race plans for the rest of 2018. The way things have been over the past few months, I have decided to limit any racing for the rest of this year to 10k, with training taking on more of a speed focus, whist also enjoying some longer, slower runs.

In truth, it will likely be more 5k’s (mainly parkruns) that I will be taking part in now until the end of the year. I’ve set myself a target of getting my 5k time below 21 minutes before the year is out. To explain what that involves, my current PB is 21:16, achieved earlier on this year, although my most recent attempts have been much closer to 22 minutes than they have 21. So a mix of tempo runs and short speed sessions now make up my calendar, substituting the HMP sessions that were penned in before.

I also want to do some more longer runs, for a number of reasons. Mainly to increase my endurance, but also because I enjoy them. When taken at an easy pace, I find the time and inclination during runs to take in the surroundings and reflect more in what I’m doing. This is not the case with harder sessions, where I am more focused on hitting my splits.

It also means that there’s room in a training plan to do what I really enjoy, which is heading off to a mountainous terrain somewhere and taking in some trails. Although it can help with training, it’s just too risky when training for a particular event, especially when you’re not exactly experienced at doing so. Earlier this year, it was a trek up Snowdon that ruined my shin and therefore chances of hitting my target at the Stratford half. As well as a risk of injury, there’s also the muscle soreness after such activities. Days of recovery are required rather than getting straight back into some serious sessions. It’s a pity that it’s so flat in the Midlands, and that I have to travel to take in such terrain.

So, rather than a half marathon sub-1:40 attempt, my goals for the rest of 2018 include taking in some longer runs and going sub-21 in a 5k…

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