Training to have fun

With the trauma of the Cardiff HM now a fortnight behind me it’s time to have a litle ponder upon what my next goal might be…

Before I had even run Cardiff I had decided that I wanted to spend my winter focusing on shorter races. 2011 has been my year of half marathons, with 3 fairly consistent finishing times, but perhaps some shorter distances and speedwork will be the key to acheiving that sub-2hr HM.

A far more important winter goal than finishing times though is that I want running to be fun again. I want to run because it makes me feel awesome and because I enjoy it.

So that is my winter goal: all of my running will be fun and enjoyable. Getting faster would be nice, but that is not my primary aim.

In keeping with this new fun mindset I spent the week after Cardiff catching up on Hollyoaks and eating lots of cake. I spent the week after that eating slightly less cake and popping out for a couple of short jogs.

And by short I mean short.
Like 5km short.
And when I say jog I really do mean jog.

But they were nice jogs. I was running just because I like it – a refreshing feeling after the last few month of training.

My post-Cardiff recovery hasn’t been al pleasant though. I ran my first parkrun in a few weeks last weekend with a fellow Chaser and it was tough. Admittedly I shouldn’t have run quite so hard. I also decided at my return to the running club to venture out on the 8 mile Highgate Hill route, and with the 9 minute-milers no less! What was I thinking?… The first couple of miles were lovely, chatting away and running through the lamplit streets, but the hill hit me hard and I ended up taking a 2 mile shortcut back to the club!

But don’t worry, these two rather tragic runs have not put me off. There was a cross country fixture in North London this weekend, which I went along to with the intention of running at whatever speed would allow me to enjoy it. And enjoy it I did! The course was fairly flat with a brilliant, muddy, winding path and lots of brambles and nettles to dodge. I finished in around 34 minutes – a slightly slower 6km than usual – but I think that cross country is going to play a really big part in making this winter’s running fun.

As well as the cross country my club hosts a series of 10km races from October to March. I’m totally running these and hope to run the February race as close to my unofficial PB of 52:30 as possible. What do you think? Can I really achieve this by focusing on having fun?

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