Winter's over, time for summer plans (Running)

I’ve not blogged for a while, and it may be a while before I do again.

The ski-mountaineering season ended well for me with a close second at the British champs; a hard fought race with Jon Morgan, Ben Bardsley and Carron Scrimgeour in very tough conditions of near-zero visibility and fresh snow. Conditions were so bad the race was actually called off 3/4 of the way round, and the finishing positions taken from there. While I would have loved to take the British title I was pleased with how I raced, and proud to hold my own in difficult conditions against guys who’ve spent the whole winter in the alps. Jon was a worthy winner, strong and tenacious on the ups and a Jedi on the descents.

Travelling back from the alps I was staring down a long, daunting road of hard work with my PhD in low-energy building design due at the end of the year. I’m someone who tends to work best with clear and imminent pressure and deadlines, so while having the flexibility of doing a PhD remotely (it’s based at DeMontfort university in Leicester and I’m living in Brussels) has been great as a new dad, it’s sometimes been hard to knuckle down with deadlines on three-year timescales. With nine months to go reality is finally biting and the work rate has gone up considerably!

However challenging finishing my PhD may be, I’m someone who definitely feels a little lost without some kind of physically-challenging project to get my teeth into. Without the time to travel for mountain races this summer I’m going to have another crack at a decent road Marathon. Looking back at my preparation for Amsterdam last year I can see many gaps and short-fallings; I had no previous experience of high-volume training and started my preparation too late, the consequent rapid rise in weekly distance caused me a few niggles and left me susceptible to minor illness, meaning I lost a few weeks from my already too short preparation. I also didn’t race enough on the flat-in fact the marathon was the 3rd road race I’d run as an adult! So hopefully plenty of room for improvement on my debut of 2:34.

Which marathon it’ll be is still up in the air, it needs to be late enough in the year to give me time to prepare, but not so late it gets in the way of writing up my PhD. Berlin in September or Frankfurt in October are looking like good candidates.

After that it’ll be full-steam ahead for a return to racing in the mountains, on skis and on foot, in 2014. Hopefully that will be as a much improved athlete with some good speed on the flat to match my normal strengths in very rough and long races.

So probably not much blogging for a while, but if you’re interested in following my training and racing it’ll all be at Movescount.