Well, we find ourselves in the middle of 2011, not quite slap bang in the middle, but near enough for me to provide a mid-year update.

Training

So far my training programme has suited me well, though I will be making a slight change. Since the beginning of December last year, I've been working on the following schedule:

  • Monday: run - usually a hard session
  • Tuesday: swim - usually about 2.5km
  • Wednesday: run - varies between easy and hard, depending how I feel
  • Thursday: full body weights session
  • Friday: run - usually a longish tempo run
  • Saturday and Sunday: either race or rest

All training has been almost exclusively barefoot and when it hasn't been, as with all racing, it has been in either my Vibram Fivefinger Bikilas (road) or Merrell Trail Gloves (off-road).

Now we're in race season, this format has changed slightly, only in as much as weights sessions are dropped before weekend races and after Wednesday races. For the rest of the year, I'm going to switch the swim and the weights sessions around, unless I'm racing on the Wednesday in which case I won't do a weights session. I'm also going to start adding in at least one more run, probably on the weekend, to try and up my mileage a bit.

Mileage

Talking of mileage (or should I call it "kilometerage" as I do everything in metric?), last night saw me click over the 500km mark in training and racing this year. I've been quite good at recording my training and racing, but realised I've not been tracking my warmups and cooldowns for races, each of which is easily 2 - 3km each, whilst I have been for training. I'm going start recording these now too.

If all goes well, I should tip over the 1000km mark by the end of the year. Nothing in comparison to what a marathon runner may clock up, but certainly a long way for someone who runs mostly barefoot, is concentrating on speed and who only clocked up 668km last year.

Racing

Now with all this training and some pretty good mileage, how has the actual racing been going? Well, actually very well. Here are my results so far this year:

DateRaceTarget TimeActual Time
2011-04-23Reading parkrun 5k00:19:3000:19:33
2011-05-02Shinfield 10k00:43:0000:40:42
2011-05-15Woodley 10k00:42:0000:39:42
2011-05-22Stoke Row 10k00:45:0000:43:44
2011-06-01Yateley 10k Series - Race 100:43:0000:39:51
2011-06-11Reading parkrun 5k00:19:0000:19:13
2011-06-15Forest Five (miles)00:32:0000:32:03

I didn't expect to get back below 40 mins for 10k this season but so far I've managed it twice and once so far on the Yateley 10k which is considered a bit of a harder run. If I'd thought I was capable and aiming for it, I think I could have dipped below 40 mins for my first 10k too. That will definitely be on the cards for next year.

I've got a couple more interesting and fast races scheduled for the rest of the year so hopefully I can get a few more sub-40 10k's and hopefully that sub-19 5k. I'd love a sub-18 5k this year, but I think that's pushing it a bit. I had originally planned a sub-18 5k this year, but now I'm in full swing, I've come to realise this is a bit of an unrealistic goal for this year.

Rest

So as you can see, so far so good. However if I want to keep this up I need to rest, and it's time for a rest. I haven't had a rest since the week starting 14 March when my wife and I had a lovely week long break in the Lake District so I'm taking the next week off to give my body a chance to recover. The intention is to do absolutely no exercise at all, bar cycling to and from work. If I get the urge, I may do some exercise which is not running or commuting, so either a swim, indoor rowing or possibly a weights session, just no running.

Oh yes, and Tuesday this week saw me tick off another goal I've had on my 2011 list, but haven't actively been gunning for: I've dipped below 80kg in weight for the first time in years. I'm not a svelte 78.8kg. Down over 20kg since 29 Jan 2010 and down 5kg since January this year. And best of all, I haven't been on any specific diet. Exercise alone and my usual healthy diet has done it all.

All in all, the first half of this year has gone well on the running front and hopefully the second half will be just as good, if not better.