Maintaining not training

Training (ˈtreɪnɪŋ/) is defined as

the action of undertaking a course of exercise and diet in preparation for a sporting event

and I have recently realised that I am not training. Not that I don’t have a sporting event lined up – I do – but I am not really training for it. Certainly not in my head.

Running… but not with any purpose

At the risk of becoming rather maudlin and reminiscing about the good old days, I think that quite a lot has changed for me since the London in 2013. The business I co-own with my wife has developed and expanded. We have launched a magazine, which has also developed and expanded. These things are taking up a lot of time and energy in my life and I love them, so I have no problem with that. But I also know that I am just ticking over when it comes to my running and my fitness.

I realise that my ‘ticking over’ is not all that bad – 30th place and an hour faster than last year in an increasingly competitive 60km mountain race a couple of weeks ago is OK. I know that I could knock out a 3 hour marathon without too much trouble. My default steady runs are always the same pace, around 7 min/mile which feels really comfortable. But age and a love of food and beer is against me and maintenance is becoming ever more of a task. In fact I know I have plateaued in the last year or so and that I need to do more different stuff if I want to avoid slowly slipping.

So what I think I need is a target. What I used to think is that I needed a target that is a race. But even with a 105km mountain race in 6 weeks, a 24 hour relay race next weekend, a whole load of other races between now and the end of the year AND having made a decision that I am going to have a crack at the London again in April ’15, I am still not motivated enough. I think that I need something even more immediate – a target for today, tomorrow and next week. So that is what I am working on. Something that I can get my teeth into NOW. That might be a challenge to do some exercise every day.

And I’m open to suggestions. So what do you think? What would you set me as a challenge that is going to get me going – give me a reason to forego sleep and put myself on the line. Something more motivating than fighting advancing years and too much good food…


  1. Your post has both inspired me and elicited a suggestion for you. I too have dialed back my training, due in part to some long overdue and much needed “downtime” from running 5 marathons in the last 2 years, but also due to a lack of a clear training objective (aka a reason to be disappointed if a run has to be skipped). While I’m still running between 45-50 mpw, there are a lot different kinds of running I’m not doing (e.g. hills, track sessions, long runs with speed, running with a group, racing of any kind). I think what I or both of us need, is to look at this list and try to cross off one or more items a week.

    I’m going to start by trying to get myself to a track session tomorrow night. We’ll see about the rest.

  2. What about mixing it up completely for a while – you could spend a few weeks doing speed work; short and sharp. Maybe use a flat out mile time as a short term goal? It might get a bit of running mojo back!

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