We are now two weeks into 2014, so I reckon it’s about time I announced my goals for the year and the races that I have signed up for. Each year, like most runners, I have a think about what I want to accomplish in the next 12 months and consider how I am going to go about it. In 2013 I set out with the primary goals of completing the Highland Fling and achieving a sub-4 marathon. I achieved both and became a much stronger runner along the way, so I hope to continue this forward momentum in the months to come.
My long-term goal is to complete the West Highland Way race in 2015 (if I’m lucky enough to get a place in the ballot), so 2014 is going to be year of further preparation for this greatest of challenges on the distant horizon. It will be a year of ultramarathons and pushing myself to my limits again, all while not forgetting that whatever happens, I’ll still be closer to Milngavie than I was before.
I’m two weeks and 89 miles into this training and I’m really enjoying having proper focus again. My first race is in two weeks time:
2nd February – Forfar Multi Terrain Half Marathon
I did this race last year with Rachel, Ronnie and Kate; it was great fun and very challenging. I have no time goal for this race – it fits perfectly into my schedule as the tough part of a back-to-back so I’ll be treating myself to 17 miles the day before to make sure my legs are good and tired.
15th March – D33 Ultra
This will be my third race to Banchory and back and I’m really looking forward to it. Again, it is part of the SRC Club Championships so there will be lots of club friends running, as well as ultra chums from all over the country that I haven’t seen since Glenmore 24 last September. Last year I really had the perfect race – I wonder if I can better it? I’d love to finish in less than the time I finished my first marathon, so under 5 hours 12 minutes.
26th April – Hoka Highland Fling
Feel free to quote me, link back to my posts, and outright laugh at my hypocrisy…but I’m going back for round two! In the immediate days after the race last year I couldn’t imagine putting myself through the pain of this race again, but it didn’t take long until I couldn’t imagine not being a part of it. Naturally I’ve forgotten all of the agony – surely it can’t have been that bad?! I would like to aim to finish in 12 hours or less, but this year I’ve been advised to take it easy for a couple of reasons so I’m just going to set out to complete it regardless and not chase a time. After all, three weeks afterwards it will be time for…
17th May – Cateran Trail 55 mile Ultramarathon
I think this is the race which scares me the most of the year. I will need to race the Fling so smartly and recover so carefully to run this well, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. This will be my last big run before the race which all these miles and 6 months of training are in aid of, which is…
5th July – The Great Glen Ultra
This is the inaugural running of the 72 mile Great Glen Ultra. It will start at 1am in Fort William and we’ll have 24 hours to complete the course and arrive in Inverness, by Bught park (where, incidentally, I finished my first marathon in 2011). It seems so far away I can hardly grasp the reality of it yet – there is a lot of water and miles to go under and over the bridge until then, so I’m taking it one race at a time. Completing this will be remarkable, and I can’t think of better preparation for the West Highland Way race.
As for the rest of the summer? I’ll be having a well earned rest. There are some Club Championship races to do, but I’ll be happier to watch sport rather than take part for a while, and am looking forward to the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. We have tickets for the Rugby 7s in the Party Stand – I can’t wait!
Later in the summer however…
6th September – Glenmore 12hr Trail Race
I am one of the lucky ones to get a place in this hugely popular race which sold out in something like 48 hours. I decided on the 12 hour rather than the 24 hour as I think I’ll enjoy it more and will get to indulge in some end-of-season ultra partying with the crew and the other 12 hour slackers.
That’s all I’ve planned for now – no marathons, no halfs and no road races. Well; one or two might sneak in, but this year once again I want to race less and train more. The big ultra weekends soak up quite a lot of cash flow so my race funds need to be spent wisely if I’m to get the most from my money. I am also valuing ‘free’ weekend more and more these days – I’m done with doing races just because they’re there when the alternative is spending some quality time with Kynon or catching up with non-running friends.
There’s also the small, minor, detail of a marriage to celebrate in March. Our own, that is. After the wedding we are heading off on honeymoon for 2 weeks to a beautiful place where there are no hills or even roads, but they do have an open air, over-water yoga pavilion… There is no doubt that this will have an impact on my training, but you know what; I think it will probably be worth it. I’m going to work extremely hard before the D33, race it hard, and then concentrate on recovery and the wedding celebrations. By the time the Fling comes around I’ll have been back for 2 weeks so I can do some fine-tuning before arriving in Milngavie ready to run long again, and get my athletic focus back.
So that’s the plan for now. Unlike last year I’m keeping a very short-sighted view of my training as I learned the hard way last year that if you think about all the miles you have to do too much then it can be quite overwhelming. One week at a time – and hoping the next few go nice and slowly as I have so much to do before the wedding!!