"Why should I practice running slow? I already know how to run slow. I want to learn to run fast."
Ironically, after what was probably my best season of ultrarunning, I have been mulling over this famous quote a fair bit, and the appeal of long, slow runs seems to be almost completely gone. Without having a clear racing plan for next year, I think I will be focusing on shorter races. So I am going to have to learn to run quite a bit faster. Here are some of the goals that will hopefully keep me going, when I am already sick of track sessions, fast hill repeats, and tempo runs:
1. Become competitive in local fell races: these rarely draw more than 50-60 runners, but the intensity of the competition among the top 5-10 is fierce. So far, I have mostly watched this from the middle of the pack, but I am curious to see if I can be part of it.
2. Run a low 2:30s marathon: that’s a pretty lofty one, given my current 2:47 PR (Chester, earlier this month), but I have never focused on a marathon for more than 4-5 weeks, and I think I am ready to give this a try. Yes, Phil Turk, I am the guy, who was trying to persuade you to forget Boston and focus on UTMB! ;)
3. Break 8 hours in the Vitosha 100K: another silly one, I realize, especially given the way I looked and felt during the second half of the race this year, but I do think it is possible.
Can I do all or any of this? I have no idea – if I knew, trying it would not have been nearly as enticing as it is.
Running as fast as I could during this year’s Welsh Castles Relay – not an entirely comfortable experience, but something I would like to learn more about.