I’ve completed the first full week of a more structured training schedule which I’m pleased about. I’m having to get up at 5.30am to get some of the sessions done - I don’t mind doing this as it is part of what I’m trying to achieve. It has been dark, cold and sometimes wet when I’ve headed – I’m not bothered about that though as the pavements and roads are clearer and quieter. Once I’m back I know that the training for the day is done and I feel like I’ve achieved something before the day has really started.
One of the differences I have training for an ultra next year (compared with losing focus earlier in the year) is I’ve sat down and put more structure into the training and built up to achieving that particular goal.
I’ve decided to run half marathons in December and February (both of which will be treated as training runs rather than going for a specific time) and then finish the season off with the Great South Run (October) and another marathon in next December. This will give me those short-term targets to aim for rather than just focusing on the one target as well as keeping the momentum going after the ultra.
The key to achieving that is remaining injury free, consistency, belief, discipline, and strength. I’m in control of all of those factors.
Remaining injury free – a sensible approach to training, not pushing it too far too quickly, and proper recovery. Since I’ve moved my diet and lifestyle have improved greatly and that is going to help as well.
Consistency – I need to have a no excuses approach to the training. I’m might not be in the mood or don’t want to get out of bed at 5.30am but that is not the reason for not completing the training.
Belief – having the self-belief that I can achieve these targets and goals. I like a challenge to work towards and it needs to be a challenge as well. If the goal is to easy then the motivation isn’t there and that sense of achievement is watered down considerably. Having that proper challenge and having that belief that I can achieve it is important to me.
Discipline – having a sense of self-discipline and not quitting. Knowing that I need to remain consistent with the training and do it. Knowing that I need to constantly push myself. Having that no excuses approach to the training and getting it done. Other options of doing things may look better in the short term but are they going to help with the longer-term goals? Probably not, therefore I need to remain disciplined to get the training done. Looking out of the window knowing it is cold and raining but still having the discipline to head out of the door rather than hiding under the duvet for another hour.
Strength – I’m not talking about physical strength (as that will develop with the training). I’m talking about mental strength and the ability not to quit when it becomes tough. I have several strategies that I have developed over the years to help build my own mental strength. I give myself little prompts as to why I’m doing the training. When I’m feeling tired during training and just want to stop I ask myself how I am going to feel if I do stop (and how much I will then beat myself up mentally for stopping). There are going to be days when I’m fed up for a variety of reasons but it is having that strength to put that aside and get the training done. There are going to be times when the training session isn’t that A-game performance and again it is having the strength to put that behind me and concentrate on the next session.
Overall it is having the strength to say to myself I have the ability and capability to do this – NO EXCUSES are going to be accepted.
One of the other reasons I do the training is that it makes me feel good about me.
Richard Guy, 47 years of age, born and grew up in London and have lived in Portsmouth since 2017.