I've trained erratically this year. Just looking back over my log for 09 to date I've averaged only 150 miles per month which is frankly quite shocking when you consider that 200 miles of the 450 I've covered have been race miles (RR was 100 miles alone). What I've noticed significantly over the past 4 years since I started running is a sea change in my attitude to running day after day & an improved understanding of fatigue, nutrition and knowing when to stop. Work at the moment is stressful, not as stressful as I thought it would be but stressful all the same & that really takes its toll at the weekend. I am successfully running 3 times in the week at the moment, anywhere between 6 miles at pace and 13 miles slowly with a long run at the weekend. The long run is essentially what I live for. I look forward to it all week and when I am out there, preferably after dark with no traffic on the roads the endorphins kick in at their strongest. I have a desire to do a lot more of this, a lot more regularly. Sleeping during the day on a Saturday has unforunately become something that I absolutely have to do in order to stay alert through the rest of the week & to have the energy to do the long run.I guess what I would truly love at the moment is to pack up work for a few months later in the year and train day in day out. I know how to run multi day races in the desert with 4 behind me, I have the equipment & logistics down to a fine art & I know how to race over 100 miles non stop and pace myself successfully. I know what it takes to train 70 - 95 miles of hard miles with a heavy pack week after week in order to get very close to competing at the highest level, 5th and 2nd in the last two showed that. What I could do with 3 months, therefore, is fine tune my fitness to complement the endurance and the organisation and probably do very well in Egypt in October. The real question, knowing that at the moment this isn't really possible, is whether I can do all of this without giving up or compromising work. I am going to try.First step involves dropping alcohol almost completely. Drinking heavily once or twice a week leads to 2/ 3 down days and I need to reduce the down days to 1 per week & make that a recovery from training day not a recovery from booze day. The second step involves sleeping well, for me that is 9 hours a night. I have always needed it. The third step involves nutrition, setting myself an outline of 10 meals on rotation which cover all of the nutrients/ calories I need. I have only started eating breakfast in the last year and I now have no idea how i coped without it before. Fourth & final step is training. Running to work is realistic and achievable. It then allows me to take the 6 miles in the evening and only if I feel like it to push that out to 8/ 13 miles if I have the energy which I all to rarely do at the moment. By doing such a simple thing I can get my daily average back up to 2 hours and tick off 13 as an absolute minimum which is where i need to be to start competing more successfully. The key for me at the moment remains miles/ hours on my feet due to the nature of the events I want to complete this year.
The current schedule involves a couple of ultras and 4 marathons in the next 6 weeks, followed by the OD100 in June. Two or three more marathons/ ultras in between that and the UTMB100 in August, and a simlar number again between that and Sahara in late October. I have to recognise that this year is about maintaining a solid endurance base all year, avoiding injury and getting my body used to coping with stress whilst minimising exposure to that stress as much as possible. That includes stress from work, stress from overtraining and stress from anywhere else. This of course leads up to what will be the Pinnacle of running for me, Badwater in 2010. Finishing 2 x 100's this year (RR100 already done) will allow me to qualify. It will be somewhat of a spiritual journey for me having had that in the back of my mind since my first run in preparation for the MdS in early 2005. My resume at that point should read:Marathon Des Sables (2006)4 Deserts (2007, 2008, 2008, 2009)3 x 100 milers (RR, OD, UTMB)10 x Ultras (5 x 50+milers)25 x Individual MarathonsIronmanBeyond that my to do list includes:Shadow of the Giants 50kWestern States Wasatch Front Hardrock Angeles CrestComrades Oxfam Trailwalker UK Mongolia Sunrise to Sunset My annual races will continue to be:Thames Path 50 (January)RTP (Roaming event Month Changes)I am excited by this. I feel I am in a better position to manage this than I will ever be and I can tick off a lot of my goals in the next couple of years.