The beginning of July signalled the end of the first half of the year, and the beginning of the second. This is a good point then to take a progress check on how the year has been going so far and how things are looking for my 2018 goals. The short answer is not all that well, although the detailed answer does show some promising signs.

At the start of the year, I set myself three goals for 2018, almost easy, medium and hard goals.

The easy one was to run a total of 1,000 miles for the entire year. This may not sound a lot, and there are many in my Strava feed that have achieved this already, but 1,000 miles would bring up my biggest year of running yet, and would mean running an average of 20 miles per week. Whilst this is probably slightly lower than my actual average when fit, I am not always fit, and have suffered from various sporadic injuries at unhelpful times. Leading up to the planned half marathons in March, I was well on target for this, and actually beyond it. However, getting injured close to the Stratford half and struggling somewhat since then has meant that the weekly averages have been down. That being said, putting the bigger miles in at the beginning of the year has meant that I’m not too far off at the mid way point. On July 1, my yearly mileage stood at just over 493.5 miles. On track I would say.

The medium target was to run a sub-1:35 half marathon. With just the one half marathon planned for the rest of the year, this is now a bit more than a medium goal. Of the two half marathons that I had booked in for March, I was hoping to run at least one of them in around 1:38, meaning six months of training to gain another three minutes. Unfortunately, due to bad weather and injury, the most I could manage was a 1:41:22, meaning it will take a PB of more than six minutes in September/October to achieve my goal. Ambitious to say the least.

Finally, my difficult goal was to run sub-20 in a 5km. In hindsight, it’s possibly not the best idea to set ambitious time based goals in two very different events, as training hard for one does not necessarily complement the other. At the beginning of the year, my 5km PB was just under 22 minutes. To go from that to sub-20 could quite conceivably take a year of hard, race specific training. If you’re also training for a half marathon, the chances are that you will fail in the pursuit of one, if not both targets. At this stage of my training, I believe achieving the 5km goal, even though it would still be very tough, is more feasible than achieving the half marathon goal. That being said, the half marathon is my favourite race distance and I feel that I almost have unfinished business having failed in two serious attempts to run sub-1:40. With that in mind, I’m going to aim for my spring target of sub-1:38 for my autumn half marathon. Date and location yet to be determined.

With the exception of the mileage goal then (and let’s face it, that’s not entirely that impressive), things don’t seem to have been going well in 2018. However, there are positives to be taken. Prior to injury in March, I had improved both my 5km and 10km PB’s and, despite the injury, still managed a 20 second PB in the Stratford half marathon. Training was going really well before the shin pains began and, had the Coventry half not been cancelled due to the snow six weeks before Stratford, then I feel I was in an excellent position to run sub-1:40. There’s also the only EMGP fixture that I actually raced, at Corby. Again, despite not having run very much at all beforehand, and having not done any speedwork in some time, I was only 20 seconds shy of my average finishing time for the same race distance last year. So all is not lost.

From here, it is all about continuing on the road to full recovery before integrating some serious speed sessions into my weekly schedule. It hasn’t just been the shin injury that has been plaguing me. Since that has eased up, and finally disappeared, I have been nursing two temperamental calves, and one very angry hip. The calves are manageable up to a point, but anything over 5-6 miles becomes difficult. As for the hip, this has been troubling me now for several weeks and comes and goes. When it is there, it is almost like my entire right side is going to buckle underneath me with every right foot strike. Sometimes it doesn’t give me any bother at all, other times it’s painful from within the first mile to the end. With these going on in the background almost, I have been largely sticking to easy running, with some steady runs on hilly routes being the most exerting that I’ve pushed. I really want to get back to doing some speed and threshold sessions, I haven’t been to a club session since the beginning of April. I don’t want to risk more time away from running though, so if easy sessions are all that I can manage for now then, well, at least I’m still running.

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