#4 A Long Road Back

aaron-backroadsI had intended to keep my blog updated with at least a monthly post. But to be honest the last few months (err last year) was not a great year for me training/fitness wise and I was not excited to share that in my personal blog. I really don’t know how to explain what went on with me in 2016. Did I have too high of expectations for how my training should be going and how I should be racing that I mentally blew myself up?

At the end of 2015 I believed that I had a very outside shot at making the Rio Olympics in either the 5,000m or 10,000m. When I ran 28:53 for the 10,000m in April of 2015 I did it off of consistent indoor 3,000m training, which started off with a couple 180km volume weeks at the end of 2014. So, I thought if I used the winter and early spring of 2016 to have more consistent ~160km-180km volume weeks with longer tempo’s/fartlek’s and some 10,000m specific track workouts I could significantly bring my 28:53 personal best down. I knew everything from the 2015 cross country season onwards would have to go perfectly for me to have a shot at the Olympics.

That was my plan anyways, but the plan never came to fruition. After regaining my confidence at the 2015 CIS cross country championships with less than ideal overall training (I think I was stronger in 2013) I took time off to begin putting my plan in place. I kept having a setback every time I would get close to 3 weeks of consistent training in. Fist Achilles, then my IT band, then I got a really bad cold. I was already thinking last winter that my already outside shot at the Olympics was getting smaller and smaller with each injury and illness. Perhaps that is where I began to lose my confidence.

I think I had changed my goal for 2016 from making the Olympics to getting personal bests in the 10,000m and 5,000m by the beginning of March. I didn’t realize just how hard that would be after a winter of inconsistent training. I did have consistent training from March until the last race I started in June, but nothing seemed to come together. In 2016 I never felt like I adapted to any of my training. If I did have a half decent track workout, then it felt like it took a week or more to really recover from it. I had one decent 5,000m race in Hamilton that I ran 14:26’ish which gave me some hope, but again I felt awful for too long after that race. The last race I started was the Inferno 10,000m, which I’m not sure why I started. Training had not been going very well and I was not at all confident in my fitness. Being confident in your fitness is definitely important to have before starting a 10,000m race.

2016 was probably the first year since I started running that I did not personal best in any event. That was tough for me especially in an Olympic year where that has been the goal for many years. I told myself after the Inferno that I wasn’t going to do intensity unless I really felt like it, which resulted in very few intensity workouts for the rest of the year. I took a lot of days off in the fall and got myself busy helping my parents with soybean and corn harvest, and working with Emily on our new store BackRoads London and planning our Hop Yard. I found that I needed to find a new balance in my life so that I am not solely focused on running.

I have also found that I still do have the tick to be an elite runner. I know I have not reached my running potential and I want to see what my potential is. I still want to run fast on the track but I also have new ambitions for the roads. It is going to be a long road back to being as fit as I was in 2015. I think I have added other aspects to my life beyond running like helping run a business and starting a life with Emily that will make me feel fulfilled.

For the time being I am coachless since I have moved to Parkhill as Emily and I get BackRoads up and running in Hyde Park London. I don’t view being coachless as a bad thing at this point because I think it will be good for me to follow my own training plan for a while.

If you are interested you can also follow my training on Strava now.

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