Pick a number, any number!

After initially going through the “DT’s” from running withdrawl at the start of the week I have now successfully slipped into offseason mode! No running for 4 days straight, with bacon cheeseburger, fries, onion rings followed by half a Toblerone for tea last night!

I am having a couple of weeks of not doing anything, although the diet will improve shortly, before breaking out the bike and the weights room to try something different for a few weeks.

Whilst it might seem quite boring for a runner to take time off, it is also one of the best times of the year. You get the chance to look back at the successes and failures of the previous year, and in the process you formulate the plans for the future. This is where you get to gloss over, or just plain forget about the pain and suffering from the speedwork, getting up at 4AM for long slow runs and anything else that you didn’t enjoy.

It’s time to start thinking, well I could have gone a bit faster here, and maybe shave a few seconds off there, maybe even lose a couple of lbs to help with the times. Eventually a number is plucked out of thin air that you actually kind of believe is possible for a race time or distance.

I am as guilty of this as anyone. Despite my plans being on hold at the moment with the arrival of our second child in the summer, I have still been dreaming about what I might be able to do, with my thought process going something like this:

Without trying I ran 1.44 in a half the week before breaking my 5K and going under 21min as part of a 4M race. All of this done at the end of a very long and hard season.

Therefore, if I actually tried I could probably make it under 1.40, especially if I were to do it in colder weather, so a < 20min 5K should be possible. If I am doing speedwork for that kind of time then my 10K time should come flying down from the 47min it is at the moment to much nearer 40. Taking all that into consideration, if I don’t run a marathon and concerntrate on speedwork over shorter distances, I should be able to get under 1.35 for a half. If I can do that then it isn’t too much of a push from there to < 90mins!

See how easy it is, using, almost, logical reasoning, I can convince myself that I could take 14mins off my half marathon time, all with a little bit of extra speedwork!

It would be fantastic if it were true, but I don’t really think I am going to make that kind of break through in the next 12 months, especially with double the child duties. However, I don’t think it is beyond the realms of possibility that I could manage it in 2-3 years if I actually focus on what I need to.

That’s one of the things I love about running, it is only me that can or can’t do this. If I don’t go under 1.40, 1.35 or 1.30 the only reason why is because of me. So I can set my own goals and try to smash them. It gives me the motivation to do things better and be the best I can be.

So the offseason is actually pretty cool, there’s no running but loads of time to dream!