Although not quite the time all of my training had been focussed on I am happy with my Berlin result & especially how I coped with the training in the build up which was definitely the best block of training I’ve put together.
- Jo – my super wife! Unrelenting support from start to finish in all of my running aspirations. We’re definitely a team & it’s great to share our successes (Jo’s improvements have followed a similar curve to my own).
- Mum & Kini. Regular racers themselves but if not racing they’re always there supporting. They travelled to Berlin to support us last year & were back with us this time. They even made it out for a week of our training trip to Spain earlier in the year. The first thing they always want to know is what races we’re doing & how training’s going!
- Uncle Jonny, Aunty Chris, Uncle Pete & Aunty Jane. Wow, 7 people travelling to Berlin just to support me! No pressure then. What a difference it makes & it was great to hear the familiar support that we’re all starting to get used to from London each year. Even better when your supporters are excellent post race drinking companions as well!
- Andy ‘Miles’ McNeill. The man with the plan. Another year of proper training & more progress. We’re still learning what’s needed, what I can cope with & where I might be able to get to but there’s no doubt Andy’s guidance over the last couple of years has bee paramount to the improvements I’ve made & continue to make.
- Charnwood Accountants. With the gruelling schedule balancing training with a full time job it makes a HUGE difference to work at a supportive firm. From flexibility with working hours & general interest in my racing to looking at ways to give something back to the firm through the sponsored vest & other opportunities. Obviously everybody benefits as they all get extra cake with me constantly avoiding any treats at work to keep the waistline in check.
- Caravelli & La Torre for keeping us topped up with the best Italian food around on the rare occasions we do eat out!
- Berlin marathon! What a great event. Having done London many times now & having raced several other ‘big’ events this still stood out as an impressive event from start to finish. German organisation at its best & a really good vibe around the event from when we arrived on Friday which was certainly helped by the events on Saturday. Everything for us as elites was spot on & ensured we were ready to race come Sunday morning. We were in Berlin for the 10K last October so already knew we liked the city & it also meant we could find our way around easily before & after the race. We’ll be back & I’d certainly recommend it for those looking to do one of the World Marathon Majors. Although support didn’t match London the streets were lined with supporters pretty much the entire route & it provided a different atmosphere that was equally conducive to running well & enjoying yourself! It’s worth noting that Germany has some serious issues with immigration & their current political stance which means they have weekly protests, marches etc right through the country! There was a huge one last October during our visit & another large far-right march the day before the race. We haven’t had any issues with these but it’s worth staying up to date with what’s happening if travelling to Berlin especially.
A short break from structured training, although I’m racing the National 6 Stage (well, dragging my new beer belly round).
After a break where I’ll be looking to stay fit but not worry too much about anything specific I’ll race the Derby 10M followed the Saturday after by the Cheshire 10K (birthday treat!). The 10K will be the gauge of where my fitness is at that stage so we can plan the training in to get me (back) into sub 30 shape for the main remaining goal of 2016 which will be the Telford 10K. Both 10K’s are fast, & Telford is an inter-area match as well so there should be a good strong field for that one. After a slow start to the year it would be great to finish with PB’s inside 30 & 2:20 for 10K & marathon to build on.
2017 & beyond… I believe there is a lot more to come still, & have already discussed some areas within my control that I believe can be addressed to chip away at my times. Doing these small things I believe could certainly gain me ~2mins. Couple that with feeling 100% on the day of the race & running to potential (~2mins) then I’ve talked myself into 2:15 shape off the same training!
Which brings qualifying times into the equation. England Athletics are still due to announce the qualifying criteria for the Commonwealth Games in 2018, but with the race in April the qualifying window is likely to include Berlin! 2:14 is the time for the World Championships next year, with a qualifying race at London. I believe I need a year fine tuning the various elements above to see the benefits, but if I can finish 2016 fit & in sub 30 shape my spring campaign will be geared towards an all-guns-blazing shot at 2:14/first 2 Brits in London next April. In reality though we will include a few quality races in that build up with a view to further reducing times at 10K – Half Marathon, as my weakness is definitely speed. I can go to London to go through halfway in 67, see how I feel & if before 20 miles it’s clear 2:16 or lower isn’t on then step aside to bank it as a quality training run & refocus on Berlin.
So for now I’m focussed on achieving qualifying times at the marathon where I still believe I have a long way to go. My training won’t change significantly though & I’ll therefore never be more than 6-7 weeks from tuning up to race anything from 10K to 50K. With my lack of speed I won’t be making any representative teams at 10K but would hope my palmarès (a nod to my other sporting passion – cycling) is starting to be such that I warrant an opportunity at anything from half marathon to 50K.
The realist – PB’s at 5K through to marathon, finishing with 2:15-16 in Berlin or autumn 2017. Then reassess where progress can still be made & best course to follow.
The optimist – 2:14-15 at London, then qualification for CWG via Berlin time.
I won’t be holding back, but certainly need the realistic goals to compliment the more optimistic ones & ensure I remain positive through 2017.