19 May 2016

My Next Adventure

This blog originally was meant to have a cool Inov8 video showing running over iced up rocks, snowed under trails and mountains fit for skiing rather than running. But upon reflection my next big adventure is not Snow Trail in September, it's the lead up to the event, all the training and preparation that needs to occur in order to perform at the level that I expect.

The level I have been falling well short of lately.

Yep my feelings towards September are that of excitement, eagerness and intrigue. I am super keen to take part in a snow race and it being at Falls Creek in the Aussie Alps is freaking rad. But I am also keen if not keener to put to bed the endless flow of ups and downs I have been suffering since 2014. 
I won't go back too far, looking more at the last little while but I figure if I'm going to run well again and get that buzz, we all know that feeling of a PB or a solid race, then I have to be completely frank and honest with myself, holding nothing back in review.

1) I took things for granted: my commitment hasn't been perfect. Don't get me wrong I train hard, sacrifice and so on but excellence requires total commitment, it requires total belief and it requires immersing yourself in the moment to achieve what is desired.

2) I became too focused on the events rather than the training required to do them: in short I wanted the cake without baking it first. Yes events are fun, the expo's, friends, celebrations, etc. but it's in the preparation where the real character is developed. I have the mind for this now and while my results are a ways off what I'd like I have also eliminated the DNF from my results sheet of late. I have been working on the mental aspect of my training and with more time and energy expended in preparation before the event the I would hope finishes will turn into solid results.

3) The fundamentals were being glossed over: I need to get back to basics. My running is getting back towards the simple philosophy of developing overall efficiency. Nothing beats time on feet and I probably spent a little too much time worrying about strength work, sacrificing running. I am still including strength in my program but my focus is improving my running for now and the max deadlift is being benched for the time being.

4) My schedule was a mess: routine is key to success. Due to circumstances in work and life in general that were not always within my control, I too easily adjusted things here and there, doing this run today not tomorrow or shaving 10min so I could squeeze it in after lunch. This approach to training will get me through races, but it won't give me the competitive edge on race day. I always tell my athletes to believe in the process, it's time for me to have patience and faith that the consistency of sticking with a training program will return results. I have seen this with my clients and now its my turn to put this into practice to get back to my best.

My year so far has been a great learning curve and I feel that looking towards the back end of 2016 I can implement the required changes to be running more consistently. I don't want a good performance followed by a bad one, I want a steady flow of solid running and from that I will move into races performing well, knowing what to expect of my body. I have been very unpredictable in my big events thus far in 2016, both Buffalo and UTA had good moments that were derailed by clear conditioning issues leading to substandard performances. I expect better of myself than this but I got what I deserved and now it's time to act rather than let things continue to flow along.

I need to be more hungry, motivated, determined, focused and competitive with my myself. It's time to have a break from racing, focus on quality training and get things right, not for anyone else but for myself. I need to be true to myself and with a winter of training ahead it is time to get excited about just running again.

Below is a photo journey of my last few months.

Buffalo Stampede 2016 - The Skymarathon money shot by Steve Harris.
I'd love to feel great racing up the big walk one day.

STS Manly Dam - things were looking far better....
than at Knapsack a few weeks later!
Orange Volcanic Mtn Challenge 2016 - another performance well off my best
but it's always good to get on the trails around Mt Canobolas again and
 as usual I wasn't disappointed.

Bathurst Half Marathon 2016 - my slowest half since Mudgee in 2012 but a rad shot
showing the joy of getting a high five from dad. I was just as happy post high five too.

Buffalo Stampede - finishing on Mt Buffalo was made a bit sweeter by having my family there
to share the moment. I struggled getting up the mountain but the gallery loop was a race highlight.

Ultra Trail Australia 2016 - another not so good result but
a finish and rad weekend away in the mountains.
Photo Bomb Credit - Kerry Suter.

Lithgow King of the Mountain 2016 - 3 wins on the trot, although a win my performance was sub-standard after
coming back from injury just 9 days earlier. As you can see the Force is Strong in my Boys.