Running darkly


Another Janathon day and another after-dark run completed. Four uneventful miles notched up on familiar roads with not much to be seen except the headlights of the occasional car passing by.

Tomorrow may be a tough day as I will need to make a very early start and I’m not expecting to be home again until quite late. This is where the power of Janathon really kicks in. On any other month, I would certainly not be motivated to run after such a long work day, but the obstinacy to not be beaten should (hopefully) be enough to get me out the door for at least a token effort.

Good reasons


Happy New Year – one and all.

If you’re reading this blog, there’s every chance you are already active in sport. Even so, it does no harm to remember some of the benefits of getting out there for a run or a ride. Here then, in no particular order, are ten good reasons

1. Lose weight or keep yourself looking trim

2. Fight depression – regular exercise is a good way to see off that Black Dog

3. Challenge yourself – it’s a part of the human condition, we need that sense of achievement from reaching or exceeding targets that we set

4. Make friends – sport can help, whether you’re looking for: companions to run with or a common interest to discuss at gatherings or mutual support through social networks

5. Solve problems – let yourself focus on the activity and the subconscious mind can often find the answers you need in other areas of life

6. Solitude – work & families & friends can take up so much of our time. Carve a regular little sanctuary for yourself by getting out on a ride or a run

7. See the seasons – being outdoors brings us close enough to observe the small changes that herald the transition from winter to spring

8. Healthy bones – running particularly, has been cited as a way to delay the onset of brittle bones as we age

9. Platform for other sports – team sports are great too, and regular running helps sharpen us up for those

10. Sleep well

What have I missed from the list? Why not leave a comment with the benefits you enjoy from your exercise?

Today I kicked off my Janathon 2013 challenge with a 10.7 mile run. The roads were still wet, but there were beautiful blue skies. It was a real joy to get out there this morning.

Moving targets


Like many amateur sports-people, I try to find some time in the last few days of December to think about goals for the year ahead. I’m not a big fan of New Year Resolutions, but I do think it helps the motivation to have a list of targets to focus the training on.

The only organised event I have already entered for 2013 is the Tunbridge Wells half marathon in February. Oh, and I am also signed-up for & looking forward (in a masochistic sort of way) to the Janathon challenge

So far, my “wish list” for the year looks a bit like this:

  • Century Ride – Tonbridge Castle Ride in May might be a good option
  • A 2nd half marathon – much later in the year & hopefully at a more reasonable pace
  • A couple of trail runs – the Brighton Trailblazer this year was good fun. I’d like to do that 1 again + a longer, maybe 20K+, off-road run
  • Take some swimming lessons & complete a sprint-distance Triathlon

I would also like to get back to doing some kayaking, but I don’t think there will be time or budget for that in 2013.

Hopefully I can spread the goals out across the year. That way I will have a significant challenge to aim for every couple of months. Next step then, is to do some Internet surfing to find suitable events & dates.

The hardest step


Janathon – Run every day for a month? It doesn’t sound that hard. Make that month January, and it gets a bit tougher. In the UK: the days are short, the weather is rubbish, and just getting through the working day often seems a struggle after the Christmas break.

However the challenge doesn’t stop there. The task is to run AND blog every day. I often train late at night. The 1st year I tried Janathon, I literally fell asleep mid-way through writing posts. For my 2nd attempt, last year, I managed to run every day but the blogging was sporadic, at best. Truly the hardest step is to find an interesting way to describe “going out in the dark & the rain and trudging round the same familiar roads” for the 10th, 20th & 31st times.

Another January looms on the horizon, but this time I have a cunning plan. I’ve drawn up a list of 7 different types of blog post and come up with a handful of topics to match each type. So hopefully I can produce some content that is varied and vaguely coherent without too much angst.

Of course, there is still the small matter of getting the miles in.

If you would like to know more about Janathon … click here