Yet again I'm unpacking clean kit as another training weekend didn't go to plan. It's been the story of my winter as a whole load of little problems have chipped away at my over ambitious plans. First it was a knee problem that took a while to diagnose and has since taken three months to just about clear up. Then there's been a cold that has lasted far too long (I do take full responsibility for that though as I got tempted by a hard track session when I really hadn't recovered).
I'm hoping nothing has been disastrous as I've managed to keep running through most of it. I'm relatively confident that I'll be in decent shape once I get a few consistent weeks behind me. It's a just a bit scary as there are some big races early on this season (GB World Champs selection races and European Champs) and they seem to last a month meaning that the regular training routine will be disrupted then too.
2014 is going to be an 'in-between' year for me. Last year I had a clear focus of WOC sprint and I did everything I possibly could to be ready for that one race. 2015 might be along similar lines and so I'm taking 2014 as an opportunity to set a few different goals.
One big area I'm hoping to improve is my forest orienteering. I've not felt confident and comfortable in the forest for a few years now and I'd like to get those feelings back. A lot of that is in my head but one weakness I've always had is paying attention to my compass. Now that I'm a proud ambassador for Silva UK, it seemed appropriate to sort that out. I've found night training to be particularly good for making me focus on direction and Silva have been really generous and provided me with their Sprint headtorch. It has revolutionised night training for me as I never managed to get up any flow (or find anything) before with about 1m of visibility.
Obviously I've still got a big sprint focus and with the addition of a mixed sprint relay in the World Championships, there's a few new elements to add into training which will keep things interesting.
2014 also works out quite neatly from a skyrunning point of view. With the World Championships in early July, the summer is open to roam the mountains. I'm extremely lucky to be running for Arc'teryx for another year but I'll be trying a few new things there too. I'll be competing in the SkyRace series (races between 20-46km) with that longest one being at Ultraks in Zermatt. Last year I ran the 30km course but now it is time to step up to the full 46km (+3000m climb!) I've never run a marathon before, let alone a monster race like Ultraks but I'm looking forward to some epic long training runs over the summer months in preparation.
So I think the summary is that for all my moaning, I'm ridiculously lucky yet again to be able to plan a year like this. Support from Arc'teryx, Silva, British Orienteering and many others make this happen and I am really grateful for that. Fingers crossed I'm back on track with training soon to be able to make the most of it all.
It wouldn't be a proper blog post with out a few jealousy-inducing pictures so here we go:
Training in the Cairngorms in the first November snow.
I think it will be a while before we'll be able to get up running
high again given the amount of snowfall in Scotland.
The sight I will enjoy for my first marathon+