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New Year, new goals - #RememberBen

timPby timPMar 1st 2017
I hope you all had a great Christmas and New Year break and are feeling refreshed and ready to smash your 2017 goals, whatever they may be?

Since finishing Challenge Almere back in September we have had a good break both physically and mentally. It has been nice to go for a run, go to the gym or go for a ride just because! No need to hit a certain distance/time/power just get out and have fun. You may notice there is no mention of swim and fun in the previous sentence, in the end I had a complete 3 month break. To be honest we needed the down time as the last couple of years have been pretty full on (well for us at least).

So suitably refreshed we started serious training again on New Years day with a 10k run in near monsoon conditions. It felt good, really good to be training again with a purpose even if we did end up like a pair of drowned rats. So I guess the question on your lips might be for what purpose?

At a quick glance 2017 might look like a repeat of 2016. We enjoyed Challenge Almere so much we have signed up to race again this year. I am going back to see if I can improve my performance at the Cotswold 113 middle distance triathlon and the diary includes old favourites such as the Bath and Forest of Dean Half Marathons, White Horse Sportive and Thunder Run.
However hiding in the middle of June is a simple entry entitled 'The Wall'; this is the big challenge for 2017 a 110km ultra marathon.

Now a well established event, The Wall starts in Carlisle and follows the route of Hadrians Wall finishing in Newcastle on Tyne.
Why on earth would we want to take on an ultra? Well to be honest I think we have both been looking for a bit of an adventure. That's not to say that we don't find the other races challenging, we certainly do but an ultra has been on our wish list for a while and this one just captured the imagination. At this stage I don't think either of us can quite comprehend the enormity of what we have taken on and I guess there is a real risk of us not being able to complete the course, but when we do cross the finish line it will make it even more special. As a nice touch we are being joined on the journey by Dave who after racing in Almere with us also fancied something different this year.

So the training plan looks a little bit different this year with lots and lots of running, it's going to be a challenge in itself to fit in the cycling and swimming. To give an indication I've run over 100km more in January and February this year compared with 2016. For the serious athletes out there that's not much but for me it's about 30% more.
We have also been spending plenty of time in the gym trying to build up our strength and ensure that our core's are prepared for the grief that they are going to get this year.
New Year, new goals - #RememberBen
Working hard in the gym with Jack and Shaun!
It hasn't all been training I've managed to fit in some races as well. I have been running in the monthly Weston 5 mile prom race for the last few years. It's a great, honest race and an ideal opportunity to test your fitness. Although I'm not quite back to my fastest time of last season they have been moving in the right direction.

I have also managed to fit in a couple of trail races, both approximately 10k with lots and lots of mud. The second was run at night - I love running in the dark with a head torch and this race didn't disappoint and despite really bad weather was an absolute blast. It was also a quite humbling experience as one of the competitors was a blind two time Paralympian. I had the pleasure of running in close proximity for a while and have to say his guide was awesome but the most impressive thing, to me at least, was the absolute trust that each had in the other.
New Year, new goals - #RememberBen
Great 10k in Leigh Woods, part of the Wild Night Run series
Looking forward the Bath half marathon is fast approaching, hopefully this will be my 11th consecutive year. Once I start this race I really feel that the season is fully up and running.
The following weekend we will both be running the Forest of Dean half although the plan is to use it as a test for our ultra kit and a decent training run.

Time to call it a day and I'll give an update after the half marathons. Take care and the best of luck for your own training and racing.
 
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