How has training been with the uncertainty of the race going ahead?
Towards the end of 2020 it was probably a blessing in disguise for me. The cancellation of more events gave me a rare opportunity to take some time out and rest. I started 2021 with the aim of being more consistent with my running - running excessive distances on weekends and not running throughout the week really isn’t a sustainable approach to training! Now I’ve given myself a bit more structure to my training, I just need to handle the motivation to ‘stick with the plan’ as more and more races were cancelled in the first few months of the year. It has taken me a bit of getting used too, but with an eye on the challenges to coming my way I am starting to become a more disciplined and training is now ramping up!
How has it been training more solo, where in the past it may have been more group focused?
Mostly I ran with other people and enjoy the social side of running, so it was a change to switch back to running alone again. However, that is great training as you’re alone with your mind and I find it a better simulation of likely scenarios in endurance events where the mental battles are the real challenge. It was also great to initially explore more areas local to where I live, but that has become a little tedious now and running the same routes over and over is less stimulating! Fortunately, though I’m able to hit up some awesome trails not to far away from my doorstep which provides motivation for the training.
How have you coped over the past year with very limited races?
I’ve probably managed to maintain focus because I have so many races booked up that there was always something to aim for! Whilst it is always disappointing to have events cancelled or postponed, I just kept looking for alternatives to keep the calendar full and satisfy my hunger! I’ve been fortunate enough to still get out and run some solo challenges, virtual events and adventures with a friend, like running the entire Capital Ring route around London after the first lockdown was eased. It is never quite the same though as crossing an actual finish line!
What event are you most looking forward to in 2021, and why?
Whilst Val D’Aran by UTMB is probably the standout event in my year (and the one which makes me most nervous!), I’m very much looking forward to the Stranda Fjord 100km in Norway. This was an event deferred from 2020 and there is a large group of us heading out to taking on the various distances on offer. I’ve never been to Norway so I’m excited so see a little of the country as part of the trip. Whilst the route and scenery look absolutely incredible, the fruity elevation profile and varied terrain will certainly provide a very challenging adventure.