If our Chinese friends can celebrate their New Year a month after the rest of the world, then so can I. This first of February, I’ve decided to restart my 2014.
In running terms, January for me was like one of those prototype flying machines of a hundred years ago. It took off at the start, stayed up promisingly – but then all too soon crashed down to earth with an undignified wallop.
I started the month with my first ever parkrun, at Marlay Park in Dublin. And I marked this auspicious occasion with a new personal best time of 20:55 for 5k.
Having run so well while still carrying my own body weight in Christmas biscuit-eating, I was sky-high with optimism for steady progress over the rest of the month and a good run at the Raheny 5 mile race at the end of January. With a view to improving my running in 2014, I bought my first GPS running watch, all the better to knock out some rock-hard speed sessions with greater accuracy.
But where I had hoped to hit the ground running for 2014, instead I just hit the ground.
In the week before the Raheny race, after a couple of good weeks of training, I could feel problems in my right leg. Some treatment at the physio relieved the immediate issue – extreme tightness in my quad and calf that was causing pressure on my right knee.
But I had to be sensible and pull out of the race, a decision made harder by me having collected my race number the day before. (Perhaps if I keep that unused race number in mint condition it may become a valuable collectors’ item in 50 years.)
And just as I was returning tentatively to some light running this week, I caught a heavy cold and a sore throat which wrote off my running for the rest of January. (I’m being a drama king here; there were only two days left in the month.)
So, no running for me on the first of February – but I devoted my New Year’s Day Redux to running all the same. Today in Dublin I attended The Running Mojo, a seminar on running motivation organised by British instructor and writer George Anderson.
Thankfully, the day didn’t descend into the sort of touchy-feely, wishy-washy inspirational quotes that I find embarrassing. The line-up of speakers shared solid, practical advice reaped from their own experiences in running.
British ultra-runner and journalist Warren Pole recounted his time spent with various champion athletes and the lessons he learned about natural talent, determination and commitment. Legendary Irish athlete Catherina McKiernan gave a quick introduction to the techniques of ChiRunning, designed to reduce injuries and improve performance in distance runners. And Ironman triathlete turned motivational coach Gerry Duffy shared the secrets behind a positive, goals-oriented mentality.
Having already attended workshops by Catherina and Gerry, I took the opportunity of this seminar as a refresher course – and also a reassurance that once I shake off this cold I can just start my training again next week. I still have plenty of time to put in some good training for some great races this year.
I don’t have any races pencilled into the diary for February. I’ll focus on getting a good solid month of training, with perhaps another parkrun to tone up the racing reflexes.
So, let’s start again – happy new year!