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After I ran Edinburgh marathon 9 days ago, I had 7 full days off running. Despite having two weeks in total off running since the turn of the year due to illness and a few days recovery after London marathon, that is the longest amount of time off running I have had since last September. I relaxed, ate and drank more than I usually do and did my best not to think about anything beyond just recovering.

My legs and feet were all but fully recovered from the Spring marathons and schedule within a few days, but my heart rate needed a bit longer to settle back to it’s usual levels, so I absolutely took the full time off. Whilst taking the time out, I also wanted to reflect upon how the year has gone so far in order that I can plan for what’s coming up. So here are some statistics for the year to date:

Total miles run this year: 862.2
Tine spent running: 117hr 14mins
Total of 109 runs

My records for this year to date:

5km – 19:04
10km – 39:14
Half marathon – 1:27:13
Marathon – 3:07:41

Please note that I have not run any 5km, 10km or half-marathon races this year (apart from a couple of Parkruns with big hangovers) so those records have happened during marathons or training runs. I am pretty sure that I’d run each of those three distances much faster if I was competing in one of those isolated, focused events currently.

When I consider where I was a year ago following the previous two years of very little running (by my own standards) injury, fatherhood and illness, I am incredibly pleased with how this year has gone.

What’s next then?

Let me share with you my running goals for the remainder of 2016…..

Goal setting for runners
1. 50km Salisbury ultra in August.

This will be the longest that I have ever run in one go and is run on terrain that I am unused to and has a course profile unlike the conditions I usually race or train on. It is ‘only’ 50km. I say that because it is only an extra 4 miles on top of what I run in the marathon and I feel sure that I will not struggle with this. I won’t be racing this event; I’ll be running it at training pace and will be running it with a group of greta runners who I know well. We plan on running together at training pace, but I am sure that if we are all still together, the final two miles will include a race to the finish for bragging rights in the pub afterwards.

2. New Forest marathon in September.

This is two weeks before Bournemouth marathon festival and will give me a good chance to have a blast out and really see where I am at regards my racing ability. I plan on running this at slightly faster than training pace and helping pace my Brother to a good time that he is aiming for. That said, if I feel really good on the day, I may push for a good time, we’ll see. I’ll get more specific with that goal as the time nears.

3. Complete all four races at the Bournemouth Marathon Festival for my charity fundraising efforts.

Again, this won’t be anything like marathon race pace. It will again be the furthest I will have run all at once (on the Sunday morning when I run 40 miles in particular, the previous day’s 5km and 10km will be run as warm-ups). My aim is to give a good account of myself and get to the end. i do want to be the fastest person to have ever done this, so I am going to push it at times, but I won’t be at anything like my usual marathon race pace for the final marathon event.

My goal for this may sound vague, but the main driving force behind it is that I am doing it to raise money for my chosen charity, a charity that is very close to my heart indeed.

4. Start getting into the kind of shape I want to be in to run a sub 3 hour marathon at next year’s London marathon.

I should have no problem getting into London marathon as I am officially ‘Good for Age’ and will be applying this month when those entries open. I’ll have some time off following the Bournemouth marathon festival in October and spend November and December getting into the kind of shape whereby I can really get a head start on preparations for the 2017 London marathon.

These are goals I have, they are not as specific as usual, but will be clarified more specifically as I get further into my training schedule.

I have written on this subject here before, you can visit these two articles for some more information on goal setting for runners and binaural beats – Omharmonics vs Centerpointe Holosync technology. G. Get much more comprehensive information in my Hypnosis for Running book:

Creating Your Own Goal Setting System To Advance Your Running

The Principles Of Goal Setting For Runners

How am I going to go about these running goals?

Firstly, My Running Schedule:

In the midsts of my schedules that I used so far this year, I never went over 55 mile weeks. I am about to start at 55 mile weeks and increase to 70 mile weeks with my new schedule. The schedule that I am about to adhere to is based on a Pete Pfitzinger schedule from his excellent book ‘Advanced Marathoning.’ It means I’ll start introducing harder lactate threshold sessions into my schedule, some VO2 boosting sessions at the latter end of the schedule and the most notable difference apart from the sheer volume of miles I’ll be running will be that the high effort sessions will be harder than I am used to, and the lower effort runs will be much easier than I am used to. I am really excited about it and had a great run this morning which will be logged in my entry here next week as I chart my progress.

In the past 6 months, I have been lifting weights too. This has been great for my physique, it has been great for some areas of strength required when running (especially in latter stages of marathons) but I now need more specific, runner focused strength. In between London and Edinburgh marathons, I had a slight niggle in my right leg iliotibial band and it became evident while I was at the physio that I needed to work on my core stability and balance.

I have a core stability programme in place that builds upon what I was doing and is much more runner specific and also includes the addition of a BOSU ball, my new favourite thing! I’ll be writing about that when I discuss my latest gear here on this hypnosis for running blog soon. My weights schedule is altered slightly and I feel very happy with that too.

Push-ups on bosu for running

Secondly, My Psychological approach:

1. Motivation sources.

I am pretty motivated currently, I think motivation is habitual. That is, we build it and develop it. There are still days when I lack motivation, in particular when I feel physically tired or have had some stress at work, but then the other habits that I regularly engage in (self-discipline, mental imagery, self-talk etc) get me out running ensuring I adhere to my schedule.

I do have a major motivational source in the charity I am running for. I have a very close relationship with the BAAF and you can go and sponsor my efforts this year here:

I have told them of my plans to run the events. They have shared my plans. I have also done some PR with the PR team of the Bournemouth marathon event itself, I’ve gone very public with that challenge. Evidence does show that being supported with our goals (in particular by those who are closest to us such as spouse, family, close friends and colleagues)  does help actualise them. However, up to date psychological studies tend to suggest that making loud announcements and being held to account over goals does not necessarily help and can deter us or add unnecessary pressure to us. On a personal level, I find it helps to explain what I plan to do, and for me it is a good way of continuing to drive myself onwards.

There is some additional study and projects that I am working on related to my work and figuring out when to listen to the audio materials has been seemingly impossible. So I am really excited about listening to those materials using my latest headphones (more on those soon) when out on my less intensive runs.

I have also written articles about getting motivated, have a read if you like:

Fall in love with Running

How I Motivate Myself To Run Marathons

2. Psychological strategies.

I also have my schedule set up and in place for how I plan on adopting the psychological approach to training. In addition to the goal setting process and general goal oriented approach I have for each session, I also have planned which cognitive strategies to use on which days, which mental imagery techniques to apply on which days, and which of those to apply during different types of runs. I have a broad repertoire open to me now and am well versed in them so I also use a number of techniques and approaches at times that are unplanned.

Heck though, that is what I will be writing about in coming weeks and months as we proceed into the second half of this year. I’ll be back later this week and will then be back reporting on my progress with the training.