On planning my training for next year's races there are a few things which influence the choices I make:
- what are my strengths and weaknesses ?
- what do I enjoy doing ?
- what training has worked in the past and what hasn't ?
- how much available time do I have ?
- what are the key races ?
- I may have to prove my fitness prior to selection for UK and/or England teams
My training is mainly of four types ... running, strength work, cycling and stretching.
At the moment I spend about 20 minutes a day stretching and feel that, although my general flexibility isn't brilliant it is adequate. To improve greatly would, I think, be too costly in terms of time spent. I will add a bit more specific stretching to address my recent ankle problem though.
I always feel that I'm not making the most of my time in the saddle. I find it impossible to get my heart rate up to anywhere near what other runners report. I do find it relaxing though and it does increase my aerobic fitness (but probably not by much) so I will keep the cycling. Maybe I'll cycle less when other training takes up a lot of the available time.
My last training schedule included 12 different strength exercises for arms and shoulders, 17 for upper torso and core, 9 for legs. Some of those I have found to show minimal or no strength gains at all so I will drop those and add a few others which I have found in various books recently. I'm also going to add a few specifically to address my relative weak areas of shoulders and, now, ankle. So I now have 9 strength exercises for arms and shoulders, 26 for upper core and torso, 19 for legs. I do find strength work quite enjoyable and cost effective in terms of time spent. Of course, for those exercises I'm keeping I'll be progressing by using heavier weights.
Overall this aspect of my training has gone very well over the past twelve months and I feel I have done the right amount of the right type at the right time. The problem now is how to progress over the next twelve months. One obvious answer is to increase the overall volume (distance run per week) but that comes with an increased risk of injury and tiredness which will impact on all my training. I could progress by doing an extra rep or two when doing speedwork but also ... at my age if I can do the running at the same pace as last year that is an improvement in itself because I should be slowing due the effects of getting older.
I am well aware that my other weaknesses are footcare and nutrition and I will be doing my best to address both of those over the coming months. Need to cut down on the croissants ... found some wonderful ones in Northern Ireland recently.
So, lots to work on then. That'll keep me busy for a while. At the moment it looks extremely likely that I'll venture out for my first run somewhere between 12 and 21 October. Something to look forward to.