New Year, New Plan

Building the foundations

To move forward you sometimes have to take a step back. For a long time I’ve changed plans but only papered over the cracks. This has seen some short term gains but long term nothing has really improved over the past few years and ever since April 2017, I’ve been rudderless. I’ve tried coaches both online and offline. Listened to older more experienced runners but as I always had one foot on the racing pedal, I could never actually commit to any proper training plan. Since I’ve started all my training has worked round which race(s) I have coming up. This has always been a problem that I’ve ignored for far too many years, till I pressed the reset button back in October. By then it has gotten to the point where everything has come to a head and I’ve finally done the right thing and stopped.

If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done

Now I cleared the rest of the 2018 of any races, this proved to be a massive turning point for me. Not only did I learn to enjoy just running for pure enjoyment (& fitness) but I started to build a decent winter base, so should I decided this year to start racing again  I will have 3 months of autumn/winter training under my belt. October was simply base miles of weekly totals of 56 miles for a total of 5 weeks. I then did 5 weeks of 62 miles for a further 5 weeks, Before 2 weeks of 68 miles. I then took the Christmas off. With the relaunch and then rebrand, I decided to keep a low profile and not over do the training coverage on social media. However new year my 2019 training started on New Years Eve. With a steady 4 miles in the morning and then 6 miles yesterday afternoon which saw me finish the year with a sub 40 6 mile run.

Going forward should I decided to race again. Races would fall into one of two categories, They would either be my A race and I will do a plan that focused on that distance with that race at the end of said plan. Or, the race would be a short distance as a tune up race for my target A race.

Any race I would do going forward would be for a specific reason. For too long I’ve done too many races for the wrong reasons and as a result my long term goals have suffered.

I also think a lot of what’s gone wrong/not worked is over racing. Now racing every week might suit those who are younger, or don’t chase times and are content just to get round rather then like me who has done anything which has given me a finish time flat out. For first few years I was on a upward trajectory. I’ve now found that I have leveled off and my best times at the moment seem to be in the lower 17 minutes for 5k and sub 36 for 10k, if I train and target those distances. My thinking is if I want to get faster, I need to train specifically for a distance and have one goal at a time. This is something my long suffering wife has been saying to me but I’m a stubborn old fool who has to learn things the hard way…………….

So to the new plan. First there is no races at all on the horizon. I made a promise/commitment that and I kept that promise by not racing again in 2018 and I will see how I feel in 2019. I will then sit down with my wife and decide which distance will get my focus and set a plan where races fall right for where I am training wise and not fitting them in and messing up the plan (depending on distance). My wife is not a runner, but she knows me better than I know myself.


This is a 5 week month which is perfect for what I’ve planned for this month. I have set a simple week that I am repeating all month. This month will see 66 mile weeks. With one specific speed session on a Wednesday then adding speed to either my medium long run on a Friday or my long run on a Sunday. For January my long run will be up 18 miles. The rest is running to feel, learning to enjoy the run and no pushing heart rate up. As weather is turning I have to be mindful of my chest, so the treadmill will be a regular training tool. This year I’ve found that the treadmill is fantastic for tempo, long reps and focused sessions. Especially as round here it’s very hilly.

When I created the plan I wanted a proper rest day, so that meant not getting up early, no work and a full day with family. So Saturday is now my permanent rest day. I have sandwiched that between a medium long run on a Friday and my long run on Sunday.

This is how every week in Janaury looks:

  • Monday: AM 4 miles | PM 6 miles
  • Tuesday: AM 6 miles | PM 4 miles
  • Wednesday: 8 miles interval session, including warm up/cool down.
  • Thursday: AM 5 miles | PM 5 miles
  • Friday: 10 miles
  • Saturday: REST
  • Sunday: 13 miles then build up each week.

This will give me 66 miles for the week, for a long time I have neglected the long run but I managed to build that back up leading up to Christmas, 5 x 13 mile runs and 5 x 15 miles runs, plus one 18 miler in under 2 hours. On top of that I did 10 weeks straight of 10 miles on a Friday and also 2 x 12 miles. So the foundations are there. So month one of 2019 see’s me start with 18 miles every Sunday. The weekday runs are all easy so heart rate kept under 75% and then my steady run no higher then 80%. For those who work on pace, it roughly means anything over 7:00 minute per mile for easy runs, depending on conditions, profile etc. For a steady run it means around 6:50 to 7:00 minute pace. Again I have to take it to account conditions, hills, weather etc. I find pace can differ inside on treadmill as well. 5 weeks of this should lay a good foundation. At the time of writing this I’ve really enjoyed the runs. The pressure has gone from my running and that is a massive difference.

I have a rough idea regarding February and March but what the plan will depend on how January goes and also the weather will play a big part on my plans over the next few months. I will blog in a few days what I would like to achieve this year but as far as I’m concerned 2019 is a new year and all my previous achievements and records etc are in the past and forgotten about. I’m starting with a complete clean slate going forward.


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