Quite soon after joining my company 3 and a half years ago, I started up a running group - I was training for reading half marathon at the time as was another guy from work. It was just a weekly run out from work during the cold dark winter to get some miles in without running such a high risk of getting arse raped, it ceased after Reading and since then I've just done my own thang.
After the Ironman I was pretty fucked to be honest, it took me a couple of months to realise just how fucked I was - it wasn't until I got my energy back, my life back, my sense of humour, my sex drive, my periods and all the other things that vanished due to overtraining. I underestimated how much recovery I'd really need, I'd been training 15 - 25 hours a week for 6 months and I couldn't get into my head that it was OK to do nothing. So I continued training way too soon after the event - like a few days later, only to find 4 weeks later, I was proper fucked. Jaded, moody, uninterested. So I threw myself into going out, having fun, drinking a lot - you know - like acting my age! I was still keeping active but not stressing about training schedules or mileage I was just doing it to enjoy it - cycling and running to work (I'd got rid of my car) , mountain biking, rock climbing - not because I had to, but because I wanted to. You'll notice Swimming isn't mentioned..! It was liberating.
As a plan to get back keep ticking over I decided to set up a monthly Park run at work, so asked a few friends at work if they'd be interested, put up a poster and got a pretty reasonable response. Thus - The Patheon Park Run was born. It was a little bit of a selfish set up initially - to get at least one 5k effort run in to get some speed back into my weary long slow run legs. It has ended up being a sociable group of walkers/runners progressing into a running club after this last event.
The first race was at the end of October, I'd measured out a 5k route starting at work, running round the estate in a sort of figure of 8.
The results are as follows, with a little background of what I did between races.....
Race 1 - September - 20:55 (there was less than half a second between me and the guy who came 2nd)
Took up smoking. Went out a lot, gained a bit of weight. Did quite a few long slow runs, nothing fast, I knew I had london marathon in April so wanted to keep on top of my endurance.
Race 2 - October - 21:29 (got my ass whipped by a new runner to the group)
Took up smoking a bit more.... went out a bit more. Still cycling everyday and running when i fancied it (sometimes to and from work in a day - 9 miles in the morning, 9 miles in the evening)
Again smoking on th e increase, christmas parties, year end at work - swapped food for alcohol during the week. Partied hard. Had gone back to my old rule of "no smoking before I'd trained that day"
Race 3 - November - 22:01 - a knee niggle injury had cropped but didnt affect running too much til i did long stuff. but this day it was hurting so i said "i'll take it steady" I didn't
More xmas parties, working 2 jobs over xmas period so my day was like this for 2 weeks:
7am - cycle to work, 8-5 work, 5.30 - cycle home. Change, cycle to job 2, 7 - 1.30am - work. cycle home (in snow/ice), 2am - 6am sleep. For 2 weeks! I was fucked. I didn't run much during this time, partly cos my knee wouldn't allow it. mostly cos I was only getting a few hours sleep a night.
Race 4 - December : 22:30 - was really snowy, was the " Fancy dress Christmas Pub run" originally it was going to be a fun run of Drink a pint, run 5k, drink another pint. It was just a straight 5k in the end
I had most of xmas off training, did normal folk stuff, saw friends, hung with family, made snowmen...I'd done a few short runs, a boxing day race and not touched my bike for 2 weeks. I went to running club and kicked ass!
Race 5 - January - I'd given myself january to get back into it gradually, with a half plan in place but again nothing strict or regimented, my main aim now is to lose weight. I'd also a few weekends planned for birthdays, or with friends, a big work night out midweek, so I knew it wasn't going to be a clean month. My only strict rule was NO SMOKING. There's a clear correllation between ratio of smoking/drinking and my times. Not to mention being fatigued and injured (which my physio suggested was possibly a symptom of fatigue also)
Through january i've been having physio on my knee, it was intermittent - fine as long as I didn't do more than 10 miles. I went to have my gait analysed at my normal running shop, and turns out I'd begun to pronate which was possibly what was causing my knee pains. He also suggested that it was fatigue making me run sloppy.
So i bought new shoes and made a new plan. For the next 2 weeks I wasn't going to run more than 6 miles. But was aiming to run 5 - 6 times a week doing 3 - 6 miles, but work on getting some speed back in my legs to fire up my fast twitch muscle again and also to lose weight - I know my body well enough that it does not lose it if I'm training long - i didn't lose an ounce during Ironman or previous marathon training so I've decided that unless I can lose 10 - 14 pounds I'm not doing london, I've got a couple of other big events later in the year which i need to have the optimum power to weight ratio or I'm going to struggle.
So I'm back in the gym, speed work, not smoking and am going to see what happens next. I asked the lovely Amanda what she thought of my plan of just doing short stuff through feb while I get my racing legs back with 10 milers being my longest in prep for the marathon should I do it and she thinks that since I've got a good endurance base it should be ok. So that's my plan for feb.
Final 5k race is tonight, so will update later to see how my non smoking, strength training, speed work plan is going! :)
Moral of the story - don't smoke. It looks cool but makes you run shit :-S