Me at Bushy Park parkrun this morning

It’s 2024, and for me this year is going to be big!

As it has been for the last two years my main focus will be the 6 Jours de France six-day race which is just 16 weeks away, but this year I’m also planning on competing in a second six-day race – the EMU race in Hungary in September.

In last year’s 6 Jours de France I learnt so much about myself and the things I can improve to walk even further than the 711km (442 miles) I completed last year, but unfortunately, I’m starting on the back foot a little this year in that I was unable to train at all between mid-August and early December due to an injury. The injury didn’t stop me eating though and I’m starting 2024 8kg heavier than I was 12 months ago (and I’ve already lost 1kg over the last month).

So I’m making a major change to my training plan for this year’s race, and I’m going to be incorporating some running into my schedule.  I’ve been doing some secret (not on Strava) running over the last three weeks, building up from 1km at the end of each walk to running 5km this morning. My first 5km run since August 2021 and only my fourth 5km run since I gave up running back in 2015.

The running combined with my annual removal of Coca Cola from my diet (no more Coke until day two of the six-day race) will hopefully see me get back down to around 84kg by race start (20th April).

I’m going to follow a very similar training plan to last year, with a main training block of 12 weeks (starting on the 14th January) comprising of 3 weeks at 100 miles (160km) followed by a lighter week of around 60 miles (100km). The difference being that each week I’ll run 10 to 15km by adding a few running kilometres on to most walks and running my weekly parkrun rather than using the parkrun as walking speedwork.

As well as using the running to lose weight, because running uses different muscles to walking it should help build additional strength in my legs.  My rehab from my injury is also requiring me to spend 30 minutes four or five days each week working on stretching and strengthening exercises, mainly focused on my weak and inflexible hamstrings.

Another thing I’m doing is using a circulation booster for 30 minutes most days while watching TV, and that has worked wonders in removing the tightness I have had in my calf muscles for the last few years as well as the pain in the top of both feet.  My only concern about this is that maybe the muscle tightness and foot pain may have disappeared due to my forced injury break and might come back as I ramp up my mileage, but I’ll keep using the circulation booster until I find out whether or not that happens.

I think that is enough of an update for now.

My two big races will be the two six-day races (April and September).  I will probably walk in the Phoenix Running 24 hour track race in March like I did last year, using it solely as a long training walk with the goal of walking 100 miles. And in August I hope to complete in the UK Centurions 100 mile walk, but again, that might only be a training race given that it will just be a few weeks before the EMU six-day.

Thanks for reading, and Happy New Year!

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