Sunday saw me run the London Winter Run for the third year running.
The 10k race, taking in many iconic landmarks around London, is always one (if not the first) event in my racing calendar for the year.
In the three years I have taken part I have witnessed a steady growth in numbers, with this year boasting 20,000 eager runners signing up to get their own piece of the action. In the lead up to the event it seems that those too late to join the party were desperately trying to blag a place – to no avail.
Luckily, I always take advantage of the Early Bird discount soon after the event is completed (almost booking a year in advance) to ensure that I am not one of those to be to be disappointed.
And the race this year certainly did not disappoint.
The organisation, the atmosphere and the route as usual, was flawless!
Crowds were gathered to cheer on the thousands of runners, no matter what ability.
This year, it was clear to see the numbers had grown on previous years, the sheer volume of people in each wave was phenomenal. It has clearly become one on the most popular winter races.
This year I had not prepared for the race at all. Don’t get me wrong, I had been training. However, this mainly consisted of Spinning sessions and long walks as I prepare for the Isle of Wight challenge. I had only managed a very slow parkrun, with my Niece and Nephew in the months leading up to the event.
So, I started the race thinking “this is going to go badly” but at the same time I was not bothered about time, if I walked then so be it. I crossed the start line with no expectation or stress. So I took my time, I allowed others to speed out in front and I took my time to steady my pace. My sole aim was just to finish without stopping, and if I got a good time then fantastic!
What actually happened was that I improved on my 2017 time by over three minutes. Not only was I dead chuffed with the time, especially as I had not put in the running miles, but I was shocked.
At the same point in 2017 I had racked up so many running miles to prepare myself for the London Marathon, yet I performed worse than this year with next to no running miles under my belt. How could this be?
Firstly, although I have not been running, I have been pushing myself in other aspects of training. I have ramped up the intensity during Spinning classes, I have been using more weights and the hours spent walking means that I am stronger on my feet.
In addition I don’t feel the pressure to perform this year. Yes, I have a big challenge ahead of me, Yes I still have many events to take part in, but none of these make me feel as anxious as the London Marathon did in 2017.
Maybe my more relaxed attitude towards racing, along with the fact that I am now enjoying a better mix of training compared to last year, is allowing me to perform better.
So perhaps it’s time to think about these factors going forward. To stop putting pressure on myself each time I approach the start line. To enjoy the journey rather than put too much focus on the finish line.