January is generally a slow burner but fortunately I was able to come out the other side without too much damage and was able to keep the momentum going into the New Year.  Having kick-started 2019 with a new 5k PB of 15:24 at the Nottingham 5k Winter Series it felt great to “hit the ground running”, cross off a target so now the marathon training can take full focus for the next few months ahead.  A couple of significant races to mention during January though are the County Cross Country Championships and the Midlands Cross Country Championships.

This year the Leicestershire race took place at Rotherby again but conditions were a bit more favourable than in 2018.  The course had also been shortened slightly.  Since turning 35 in October I’ve now moved up to the Masters age category.  As a result despite finishing 6th overall on the day (my previous best finish was 8th), I actually finished in 2nd place in the Masters category behind Alistair Watson and just in front of Tim Hartley.  This result also meant that Notts AC took the top 3 places in the Masters category on the day, we were one team member short to compete in the team race though.

At the Midlands Cross Country Championships Notts did field a complete team.  This year’s event was held at Leaminton Spa on a disused golf course that created a tough 3 lap course.  As a club we finished in 1st place to take the overall team prize on the day by just 2 points from Birchfield Harriers.  Another pleasing result as I managed to scrape into the team as sixth counter finishing in 24th place overall (also beating my previous highest finish of 28th). 

Both races involved fast frantic starts but with not being a lover of cross country and learning over the years that it takes a while for me to settle into these types of races it was a good practice of self discipline of sticking to my own race and gradually working my way through the field finishing feeling strong on my final lap of both races.  Something that I need to continue to practice going into the marathon events. 

A key area that I’m also working hard at improving this year is my nutrition and after being recommended a book written by Matt Fitzgerald, The Endurance Diet.  A month into following the guidance from the book I can certainly say I’m feeling a significant difference during both training, and racing.  For anybody looking to improve their own nutrition I would strongly recommend getting your hands on a copy of the book.

Going forward over the next few weeks there’s a busy racing calendar; the Charnwood Hills Race is on February 3rd, I’ll be returning to the Rugeley 10 on February 17th before taking another trip to London for The Big Half on March 10th.  These have all been built into my London marathon build-up which is now in full swing.  Below is the training plan that I have to look forward to for the week ahead;

Monday

am – 40 minutes easy

pm – 40 minutes easy

Tuesday

am - 4 x Canova miles (interval session)

pm – 40 minutes recovery run

Wednesday

am – 40 minutes easy

pm – 40 minutes easy

Thursday

am - 7 miles at marathon pace

pm – 40 minutes recovery run

Friday

am – 40 minutes easy

pm - 8 miles aerobic plus 10 x strides

Saturday

am – 40 minutes easy

pm – 40 minutes easy

Sunday

am – Charnwood Hills Race

pm – 40 minutes recovery run