Motivation, Motivation, Motivation

I’ve written recently about having a slight slump with my running mojo. This seems to have come about following all the excitement of finishing the marathon, and then not being able to get out of resting mode. My strength seems to have died, my speed hasn’t come back, and generally everything feels like a lot of effort. Basically, I need to regain my motivation.

I’ve actually got quite a few races on the horizon and since the end of training for Rome I’ve been toying with vague plans for how I want those to go; in July I have repeats of 5k and 10k races which I did last year but was not at all happy with my times, so I want to skim at least 10 minutes off for both of those. Then I will be starting a new marathon plan for New York in November, for which the plan is to go under 4:30, and as part of that training plan I’ll be targeting two hours-ish for the Ealing Half in September. None of these plans are particularly firm however, and not having proper goals may be contributing to my overall sluggishness and the ever familiar ‘I’ll start properly tomorrow’ feeling.

However, yesterday I got some news which has sharpened up my motivation. I’ve been chosen to run next year’s London marathon on behalf of Coram, an adoption charity supported by the company I work for. To run for them, I will need to raise a minimum amount of sponsorship. Let’s face it, as everyone willing to listen knows how much I love running and how much time I voluntarily spend doing it, it could be the case that people might be less inclined to sponsor me than they might be were I not already a runner. So I need another angle here if I’m going to ask people to part with hard earned cash to encourage me do something I’d be happy to do anyway.

With that in mind I have decided to add a secondary speed challenge element to my training between now and London 2017; I will aim to tick off all of the different qualifying times at each distance to achieve the first level of the Xempo grading system.

Despite having already run a marathon and a load of halfs, I am quite a way outside even the lowest Xempo time grading for some of the qualifying distances. To achieve the yellow grade for all of the distances I will need to get some considerable new PB’s. The times to beat are:

5k – sub-26

10k – sub-55

Half – sub-2 hours

Marathon – sub 4 hrs 15

The times to beat

Based on my current times, that means I would need to take 2 and a half minutes off for 5k, 3 minutes and 5 seconds off for 10k, 12 minutes off for a half, and a whopping 40 minutes off for a marathon.

I think I can achieve these times. In fact I’m sure they are in me somewhere, but the real challenge will be whether or not I can manage the faster times for the shorter distances during the long, slow training necessary for back to back marathon plans.

The point here is that even coming up with the idea of putting proper targets in place as a framework for my upcoming marathon training has already massively improved my motivation. Obviously the idea of being able to send off for one of the coveted Xempo tops at the end of it all is a factor, but mainly this will give me a better reason to keep pushing my pace beyond simply doing it for my own satisfaction. It will be interesting to see whether having a good cause to speed up for makes me take it more seriously and really knuckle down to the task in hand.

I’m due a few weeks of solid speedwork before the proper plan for New York starts. Those target 5k and 10k races are on 1st and 17th July respectively, and both have the potential to be PB courses depending on how things go on the day. I’ve committed to raising this money now so there’s no choice really, I have to make it worth everyone’s while – I’m not just running for myself. Time to get serious about speeding up and see what I can do!

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