The year is approaching its end, and thus the pursuit of my resolution targets is also coming to a close this year. I haven’t attempted to slack up, but with a lack of racing action and a desire to stay fresh for preparing for the biggest race of my life so far, there’s been far less emphasis on busting a gut and much more focus on getting over various injuries and niggles that had built up before the Great Birmingham Run.
Still, that doesn’t mean November didn’t have its challenges – namely a training program at work which normalised my shifts to 9am starts (as opposed to the usual topsy turvy rota), which made trying to fit in the gym time I wanted very difficult. Which also means a devastating effect on any swim time too.
All in all this is going to be a short update, so let’s get on with it.
Despite my hopes for this month, regular shift patterns and all, they have failed to materialise and thus November was a worse than anticapted month for my sleep and to be honest, a bit of a step backwards. When I say a bit, well, the graph above is pretty explanatory – somehow failing to get regular patterns of sleep with the old familiar tired spikes in sleep, all due to just staying up a bit too long tending to the odd bit of housework that could have waited. As a result, my sleep debt got pushed back out from around 7.7 hours to 10.8 hours for the year by the end of November. I’ve certainly noticed my lack of recent sleep a little bit and am perhaps lucky that it didn’t quite bite down as hard as I imagined it would. I’d hope to now knuckle down with this and not slip back into the meanderings of the night.
I’m pleased to say I’ve started off in December in much better vein so this currently seems to be a blip in what has been a reasonable year so far in recognising the importance of snoozing for long enough.
2. Learn to swim again
I’ve not done swimming even once this past month. I’ve found allocating time to get to the pool extremely difficult as realistically, at present, I can only get down to the pool on mornings. Alas as the year approaches it’s end, it gives me much to consider how I approach swimming in future, in terms of building on my pool stamina, technique, and so on, to how badly I want to pursue the eventual aim of triathlon. I certainly don’t intend to give up, but I need some sort of new approach to it that requires a bit more time, thought and, well, application.
3. Run more
Or should that be run less? November was a very easy month for me, initially at least. Following the Great Birmingham Run I decided to take it easy, in part due to the ITB issue that threatened to affect my competitive nature at that race. I have got back into my stride since, moving up from zero runs in the first week or two post-race, to one Sunday run, and more recently to two runs per week. We’re well into December now and I’m aiming to get up to three runs per week before starting marathon training just after Christmas which will take me back up to five runs a week. The rest has done me good – I seem to be over the worst of that problem now so it’s down to me to stay on top of it. My running form has stayed fluent and picking up the miles again has been enjoyable as the darkness comes in.
Sadly though, the Great Yorkshire Pieathlon is going to be a big DNS – Did Not Start. I managed to get my shifts swapped for the day but I’m back to being low on cash so I have to prioritize. I’ve not got myself entered into the Liversedge Half Marathon yet and I’d sooner have money for that than do the Pieathlon. Maybe next year.
4. Run faster
Suffice to say as the clock runs down on 2014, I’m not likely to have much chance to improve on my personal bests across the year, unless I decide to run flat out during my easy build up to marathon training. Though I did manage a 6:05 mile on a flat road that shows at least I haven’t lost my ability to turn on the burners when I need to.
With the year coming to an end, the next edition of my Resolutions series will possibly be the last one I do. Which is not to say I will drop them completely, because they’ve helped me get much more focused than I have before, and all in all having these aims has helped me integrate myself as a more serious runner. I’ll be looking back over the year and will be considering how I progressed in each of these categories.
Until then, if I don’t report back before then, hope you have a good festive season wherever you are, just don’t overdo it on the sherry or it’ll be a groggy start to marathon season!