Moving Targets

I’ve been for a run tonight.

Oh yes, hello – it’s me. I’m still here, honest. I’ve just been a bit on the busy side at work. Which is fine – work is there to be done and all that – but being an archetypal A-grade Type A person with a name beginning with A I’ve been concentrating 80 – 90% of my brain space and effort on Getting Shit Done at the office. Which has led to significantly less time that usual being spent Getting Shit Done on my training plan.

I’m a bit cross with myself about this. I can think of a couple of times over the years where work has gone totally crazy for a few months and involved long weeks and very little downtime. This time I had promised myself I would still make time to run, and I’ve only half done that. It’s just the last thing on my mind after a long and taxing day. Counting up on my Garmin I’ve only done 22 runs so far this year. What’s that, 2.2 runs a week? Two runs and a dash for the bus, perhaps.

I was asked to give one of the presentations at our club marathon chat night in February, alongside friend of the Eagles, medal winning British marathoner and all round good egg Mara Yamauchi. I felt a bit of a fraud. I mean, you should probably be doing a bit of running if you’re giving people advice about running.


If I’m honest, my running related gloom isn’t just to do with being a bit time poor at the moment. It’s just been a really crappy start to the year, running wise.

It was supposed to be great; I was supposed to take my New York fitness into the new year rested and raring to go, with a couple of 10k’s and half marathons in the Spring racing diary to aim at for target times. The first of those 10k’s went really well. The second just showed me how much hill strength I’ve lost.

The first of the half marathons, the Hillingdon Half, was run a couple of weeks into the long work week situation and I was aiming to use it as a time trial, as it was a fairly flat, small, local race without many folk to weave around. Despite being physically quite tired and feeling that my general condition had definitely started to suffer I raced this really well and was on track for a 2:02 something time…until I rounded the last corner, crossed the finish line and wondered where the last quarter of a mile of the course was (apparently the lead bike missed the first turn because they were dealing with some race intruders. I mean, mistakes happen, but my watch measured significantly more missing mileage than the 260m this accounted for). Livid doesn’t cover it. I raced hard, was in pain for several days afterwards and got a slap on the wrist from my physio…for absolutely nothing.

The next race was due to be The Big Half, but it was the Sunday after The Big Freeze and my mate and I who had hoped to run it together decided we quite simply couldn’t be arsed with the faff and the early start, and went for a run with our #SundayRunday crew instead.

Along with parkrun, these Sunday long runs in a big gang have become something of a staple, and I’m really grateful for them. I could quite easily decide to sleep on Sundays instead of run but that’s not going to get me anywhere, is it? Knowing I’ve got good company and a coffee and cake trip afterwards to look forward to makes these jaunts a rare and precious opportunity to think about nothing but running.


I’ve got two more half marathons before the end of April. The first is in Kingston in a few weeks time and the other is Vienna, which was my target Spring race.

I’m having to accept that it might be less of a target now. I was aiming for sub-2. I haven’t done a single bit of race specific training until today, in what should be week 5 of the plan, when I went out and did the prescribed 5 miles at 10:10’s.

So it might not be sub-2. It might be sub-2:05. It might even be eat a load of sachertorte, enjoy the mini break and don’t worry about the time at all, but it’ll be something.

Because I went for a run tonight. And sometimes that has to be enough.

Duffrunning has been shortlisted in the 2018 Running Awards in the Personal Blog category. You can vote here under ‘publications & online’ and then ‘blog (personal)’ until 15th March. Thank you! 


3 thoughts on “Moving Targets

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