I'm very goal-driven, but the levels of fitness that I aim to acheive by mid summer seem so far distant at this point, so April was all about setting some intermediate goals designed to get me back on the path and the mojo rolling.
One of my favourite "tricks" to getting my running fitness back is the "30 runs in 30 days" challenge. I probably do this at least once every year ...a very simple premis i.e. run 30 times in 30 days. What "counts" as a run and the paticular rule variations that you make depending on goals is up to the individual...for me it's completion of 30 distinct runs of at least 8km within the 30 day time-frame. So runs can be "banked" by running 2 or 3 times in a day in order to enable days off from running, which I find I need at least once a week to enable a long ride day. I have several loops from home of this distance, and my route back from the pool where I train happens to be just over 8km so this is a convienient minimum distance. I was not worried about pace for any of my runs, and looking at my training log, I see that none of them were faster than 5:20/km average pace!
The biggest difficulty I saw in achieving this was due to another challenge I'd set myself for April - entering a 200km gravel race - the Dirty Reiver! It was fortunate that I'd planned to get out to Lanzarote a couple of weeks before camp and had some good training company whilst there enabling me to clock up some longer rides after a winter spent going up and down a bike path in Sao Paulo! The plan had been to return from camp and then focus on learning some off road skills in the 3 weeks before the event, which would did not depend on good weather in the way that road riding does. It was NOT in the plan to break my cross bike on the 2nd or third ride of this stage in the project ...necessitating a trip to the Carbon Hostpital and eventualy resulted in a loan of a rather nice Kinesis Pro 6 cross bike.... anyway, that's all written about in this post ....I digress. The point was that a 200km ride, plus 4 days of travel in total was gonna give me a bit of a logistaical challenge regarding getting my run quota in. Fortunatly, I had no pace requirement and it was rather pleasant to jog around Keilder lake a few times the day after the ride, and I caught up.
As ever, the real stumbling block with this challenge was due to sickess. Picking up a cold cough and chest infection with 2 runs remaining to do on the 30th, I had to admit defeat. I think it's the first time that I've failed at this challenge (probably not!) ...BUT I did achieve what the challenge was intended to help me do: get back running regularly. On average I ran 68km/week through April and extending the length of my longest run. Still a long way to go on that front, but I now have the momentum, and it's just a case of starting to build up the pace through MAY.
The press up challenge continues succesfully through April - up to 120 ( 30x4) on the final day of the month, which now feels perefctly manageable ( even with the Iron flu). I resets to 1x5 on 1st May, and continue to build through the next month. To be honest- there's not a lot of real "point" to this challeneg - although the press up is a very good core exercise - other than out of interest to see how lomg I can keep it up!!
So...here comes May. An exciting month bacause here's my racing season starts!!
The 8th may ( next week!!) will be my first hit-out of the year at the Leaky Freaky Duathlon....an inventive run/bike/run /bike/run duathlon held between two venues. No easy task actually as I discovered when I looked at it in a bit more detail...it'll be a 3.5-4 hour race, if I'm fit. And as I write this one week prior still full of snot and feeling like I've got the lungs of a heavy smoker on, I doubt if I will be on my best!!
BUT still, I cant wait to get the pink Team Reko race suit on and have a go at some intensity alongside my team mates - hopefully not too far behind :o)
Following that all my energy will be devoted to a race that I organise on behalf of my Tri Club ( but sadly wont have teh chance to race) the Taunton Deane Triathlon on the 15th (entries are still open if you're quick!!) and then the week after another Freak Events race - this time getting into the open water down at The Roadford Lake Standrad Distance Triathlon ...and maaaaaybe I'll be able to round off the month with some more Pro 6 loving down in Dorset at the Dorest Gravel Bash
Bring it on!! ( err. but first, please pass the Lemsip)