The Future: 2011 Running Plans

Well it's been a whole month since I last blogged and 2011 has got off to a flyer training wise. Including today's run of 9 mile hill reps I averaged 50 miles a week for January. That is a new record for me, modest for some but for me it's a good sign that my running has gone up a level and I feel much stronger for it. I will be looking to build on this moving forward throughout the year and what a year in store. Here are some of my goals for this year:

  • Complete Bob Graham Round in sub 24 hours. This for me is my main focus this year and it's going to be one hell of a challenge. 65 miles, 42 summits, approx 28,500ft of ascent and all self-navigated through the Lake District. This is one of the most demanding challenges within the UK and to be honest it probably hasn't sunk in yet just how challenging it is going to be until my first proper recce in March. I wanted to aim high and this is pretty much right up there with other ultras in the UK. I will be posting quite a lot on this in the future as the logistics of it are mind boggling.
  • Finish a 100 mile race. This is another high priority for me this year and I have deliberately picked the Caesars 100 miler after reading reports and being recommended it by other fellow ultra runners. 10 x 10m loops, 1,520 ft of ascent per loop, low completion rate and some funky country music played by Henk.What a race this will be.
  • Finish in top 25-30% at a Marathon / Ultra race. This goal is more about improving my performances in races and measuring my progress from where I have been the last two years which is pretty much middle of the pack.
  • Stay Healthy for whole year. This is quite simple really, if I am able to do this then I am confident I can improve my race performance and take things to another level. I suffered quite a bit during the summer with a foot injury caused by over training and I really want to avoid that this year and push through the next level of performance barriers. I have also dropped down to 177 pounds in weight which is 20 pounds lighter than this time last year so I am very pleased with that but I continue to eat rubbish especially when mileage is going up so it's an ongoing battle to improve this, one I intend to win though.
  • Set a new PB for every distance from 5k->100 miles. This is a low priority however I would like to do this and feel that all of my current PB's are soft and with the coming months this will most likely be a natural result of training. I will be adding races to the calendar when a free slot presents itself.
During the past 12 months I have learnt a lot about myself as a runner and what works for me, what doesn't work for me and able to adapt in given circumstances. I hope that this year will be a breakthrough year and that I will smash it. I feel privileged that I am able to put myself into a position to even contemplate the above and I thank a lot of people in my life for supporting me especially my wife and daughters who put up with a lot of mutterings regarding my running. In the end though it has helped me through some stressful times whilst helping me discover mental and physical depths I didn't think I had.

If you have just discovered running my advice would be just get out there and have some fun. Simple as that it will change your life!


  1. Good luck to you on this Richard, The BGR is a very, very difficult challenge and I only hope you get as much 100+km training as soon as possible between now and then. It is not all about speed work but training your mind to push on through the dark times in your head something that you will get with experiencing more ultra distance races.
    Sorry to be the voice of reason/doom, I really want you to achieve this but you must get the longer distance runs in if you are to achieve this goal.
    Personally I think you should leave it until 2012 after you get more experience...there I said it
    Love "Uncle Jerry"

  2. Richard i think they are some great goals.

    I say GO FOR IT! What the hell! you only live once so make the most of it mate. We set goals that are a challenge as they are so rewarding if/when we complete them.

    We can do anything if we set our minds to it and you sound like your in the right frame of mind.

    Good on ya


  3. Your targets are very grueling , Hope with lots of training you will be able to achieve this.

  4. Thanks for your comments guys.

    Jerry, to be honest I don't do things easy and probably never will. I take on board your advice regarding treaining but I must also stress the point that the amount of climbing in done each week (strength) is equally important if not more so having researched this challenge for the past 6 months. This is something being focused on intently and over the next few months this will be integrated into my long runs. Come the day I will know exactly what will need to be done, as we all know 90% of this game is in your head and with 2 other ultra-runners, pacers and a support team we have all the pieces in place to make this a success as we will be running every leg of the BGR and I don't intend to be left behind.

    Ian, thanks for the positive words. You’re right about the mental side of this. This is why I do it so that I can find where my limits are and then extend them.

    FF, I set the bar high deliberately and if I only achieve some of what I have set out to do I would have been successful. The journey getting there will be hard, fun, depressing, tough, exhilarating and will be the best part of the overall experience.

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  6. I checked out your choice of 100miler. Looks like a great race format for your first 100miler. It's similar to the 10km loop I raced in 2010 at the adidas thunder run. I think the multi lap format really helps to break up the distance and makes it's seem far more managable. You should smash the 30hr cut off, and think you should aim to complete in well under 24hrs! I was tempted to enter myself by just signed up to the Snowdonia marathon which is the following weekend! Impressive January mileage btw!!


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