January, so often a nightmare for running, was a fantastic month for running in 2012. With a FINAL marathon in sight I managed to get in 23 runs- covering 132 miles. The best week was the final week where I got 41 miles in. 23 runs is my best all time monthly run frequency and the mileage count was the second highest.

Like any month some runs we’re good and some were torture; some days I was busting to get on the road, other days I had to really force myself into the cold and wet weather. Either way, having run 5 marathons, I realise that good miles or bad, every one counts en route to the start line.

The key thing is effective “sessions”. Regular readers will know that I do three sessions with a purpose each week and the other runs are ‘recovery’ runs. My sessions have been good even if a few of the recovery runs weren’t.

Even this week, suffering from a sore ankle, I have got two good sessions in (with a 17mile) long run to come tomorrow. There are two days I haven’t run (or done some sport) this week but that’s because of the ankle. My recovery sessions get sacrificed but I try to never sacrifice the sessions! This is a good tip when you are really pushed for time.

How do I know my sessions are quality training? Well simply, they puncture me just enough to make it really difficult to train the following day, but not to the extent that they cause injury – remember, doing three per week over 6 months is intensive. Secondly, the speed sessions have improved my long distance pace significantly. Thirdly, I got a programme from a professional organisation and the pace of each session is directly related to my 10k race pace or my predicted marathon pace.

So, January was terrific, but February hasn’t got off to a great start…so what? It’s a marathon, not a sprint – right ?

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