2012 seemed to have just as many highs and lows as 2011, however the highs were far greater and the lows worse. In my review of 2011, I gave myself 4 main targets to go into 2012 with: an England vest, a sub 31 10k, a sub 67 half marathon and a sub 2:23 marathon. Everything came together in the first 3 months of the year, running off 6 months of unbroken training, finding a good routine to balance work and exercise, and having set targets to aim for. I only landed up achieving 2 of these targets, however being selected and then racing in an England vest at the Elgoibar cross country has to be one of my top running memories. It is something that I feel privileged to have had the opportunity to do and gave me exposure into what racing within a strong international field is like.
The London Marathon was an obvious highlight of the year and I felt that my experiences from previous marathons allowed me to train sensibly and then run consistently on the day. I think the marathon has a huge mental element to it; whether its in the preparation, such as putting in miles of marathon paced running at the end of a session at a dark New River Track, or in the execution, such as beating the pain in the closing stages. However the physical impact on the body is something that has bothered me for the last two years, ultimately leaving me in pieces in the months following the marathon. My own body can’t seem to handle the months of high mileage that culminate in a 26 mile road race. I don’t think its worth racing if you’re not prepared to put in the work to achieve the desired outcome (in my a case a pb), and hence my 2013 race schedule won’t include London.
The low point of the year came in May when I was involved in a nasty bike accident. I still cannot believe that my injuries were so insignificant following a 30mph crash and count myself as being pretty lucky to have come off so lightly. It has made me appreciate two main things: (i) the fine line I take everyday cycling in London where you can’t prepare for the actions of other roads users and (ii) that there is a lot more to life outside of running and it might just take an accident such as mine to be able to appreciate this.
In fact my total running mileage for the year was only 1759, very slightly lower than the 1852 in 2011 and for 5 months of this year I’ve averaged less than 15 miles of running per week. However I've been pretty unphased by this and as a result have been able focus on progressing my career and putting in more time cycling.
This has influenced my targets for 2013, with the main goal to qualify for and race the 2013 age group triathlon championships taking place in Hyde Park in September. It will require concentrating on shorter running distances and spending even more time on the bike; I might even start doing some swim interval sessions but not sure whether I'll have the willpower for that at 7 in the morning! I am hoping that this will also reduce my chances of spending long periods of time out injured and will break the routine of the annual 26 mile run round London that I've done most of the past 10 years. This is quite a different target to 2012, but fingers crossed it'll come off.