Is it just me, or is this time of year quite intense? I find myself starting to plan out my goals for the new year ahead, including which races I want to enter and finding my ‘A’ race: that Big Goal for 2020.
I actually caught myself giggling on a recent run, just thinking about what’s ahead.
Feeling good despite a recent DNF
I often write about being on a journey to become the best possible version of me. It’s going reasonably well at the moment! At work, I’m giving as much as I can, really enjoying my running as a form of headspace, and treasuring the limited time I get at home with the family while work takes me travelling so regularly.
Even though I DNF-d at the Cotswold Way Century, I feel strangely positive and upbeat about setting running goals for 2020. I love the dark, wet mornings at this time of year. They might not be every runner’s cup of tea, but they wake me up and get me sharp early.
Running in all weathers is one of the hallmarks of an ultrarunner, I think. The incessant autumn rain and shortening days pose challenges that take a certain mentality to overcome. I try to tell myself that if I’m prepared to get out and clock some good miles while it’s cold and dark and bed seems a much better place to be, I have what it takes to achieve my goals.
Finding a training focus
I’ve returned to using Strava’s Summit Analysis to understand where to build intensity in my training. To run that bit harder.
I haven’t pinned down which ‘big’ races I’m doing in 2020 yet. But I have set some performance milestones. I’d like to be lighter and stronger (which should equal more speed!). A few things have worked well recently – weighted steps and cross training – so I’ll keep those going. Simples.
Fast forward to the spring
My race season will start in April with the South Downs Way 50, a race I know and love. I’m also aiming to get a place in next year’s CCC through the ballot. It’s already well over-subscribed, so fingers crossed.
The rest of next year’s race calendar will revolve around whether I get that place in Chamonix for the CCC next August. I’ve also been mulling over the UTS50 (over 5,000m of ascent and potential for picking up four UTMB points), and, if Chamonix doesn’t happen, I’ll return to the Cotswolds.
In the meantime, my mileage has taken a short dip over the last week while I’ve recovered from a bug which has left me with aching joints. I bailed on yesterday’s run after a couple of miles. Feeling better as I write this, I’m hoping to dig into some more challenging runs this weekend.
I haven’t crossed paths with many early morning runners recently; just hardy dog walkers who seem happy to see another soul! If you’re out on these darkening, wet mornings, spare a smile for anyone also out on the trails. It makes a big difference.
Happy autumn training! Got any races in the pipeline for 2020 – or any big goals? Let me know in the comments below or drop me a line on firstname.lastname@example.org