A reflection on 2018

As we approach the end of the year, it is a good time to reflect on the year which has been and the goals which we set out at the start of the year. Below, I have listed the goals which I set out (as per my blog post from January 2018) to achieve and whether or not I managed to achieve them.

Goals for 2018:
Train for and run a successful marathon in LondonAchieved. Despite the race itself being the hottest on record (20 degrees at the start), I completed the distance with a time of 3:31.13. It wasn’t easy and there were times in the race where I had to overcome both physical and mental blocks. I have learned a lot from the experience and look forward to training for my next marathon, which is the Boston (Lincolnshire) marathon in April 2019.

Learn to swim and complete a triathlon (Edenbridge – August)Failed. Although I did learn to swim during the first few months of 2018, I later found out that the Edenbridge triathlon was not to go ahead in 2018 and therefore I took the decision to cease training for the event! It is a shame that I didn’t get to attempt a triathlon, but this is a goal that I may revisit in 5 or 10 years time.

Read more and write in my trainnig journal every dayAchieved. With the exception of 3 weeks during August where I was moving house and did not do any training, I have written in my journal each evening before going to sleep. This is a great way to reflect on the day, even if you haven’t done any training. I would highly recommend keeping a journal as it is a great way to reflect and learn. This is something which I have done for the past 3-4 years and which I shall continue to do. I have also been reading much more than I used to and always ensure that I have a book to read at breakfast and during my lunch break. I have so many (all running and fitness related) still to read and shall continue to keep up with my reading going forward.

Rest & recover well – in bed at 9.30pm and up at 5.30am each dayAchieved. Although my bed times have changed throughout the year, I have always been sure to give myself 8 hours rest from when I go to sleep, setting my alarm for 8 hours ahead of when I go to bed. As my morning and evening routines have changed, I typically go to bed between 10.30-11pm and rise between 6.30-7am, 7 days a week.

Continue to cut out any added sugar, salt & chemicals in my dietAchieved. I am passionate about eating natural foods (i.e. those which we are supposed to eat and have not been processed) and always try to promote a healthy and natural diet. Having studied a lot around nutrition, I appreciate that the body requires certain vitamins and minerals in order to function correctly and the best way to get these is from unprocessed foods. My diet mostly consists of oats, seeds, vegetables, nuts, natural yoghurt, honey, unhomogenised whole milk, spelt pasta & spaghetti, brown rice, some fruits (cherries, tomatoes, bananas and apples), water and loose leaf teas (green and black).

RTW runners at Crowborough 5k and 10k – Sunday 25th November 2018

Group leader Joe led a contingent of RTW runners to a local road race in East Sussex this morning on what was a overcast but dry morning. This was a race that Joe has competed in 3 times over the last few years and one which he knew would be a good challenge for regular runners.

Some of the group pre-run (left to right – David, Emily, Paul, Richard, Dom, Gem & Rose):
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Competing in the 5k race (which is one lap of the 10k course) were mother and daughter Katia and Emily Bowley, whilst husband/father Charles was taking on what was in fact his first 10k race alongside Dom, Gemma, Rose and Richard. In addition to our RTW runners, there were plenty of familiar faces from local clubs (Tunbridge Wells Harriers, Wadhurst Runners & Crowborough runners) as well as from Royal Tunbridge Wells parkrun.

Charles looking comfortable on his second lap:
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Katia was taking on the 5k:
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As was her daughter, Emily:
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Joe positioned himself, camera in hand, toward the bottom of Crowborough hill where runners make their way through Jarvis Brook before taking a left turn on to Palesgate Lane. This is where the course presents two challenges to runners – firstly a ford and then a long and steady climb back up toward the start/finish which is located at Beacon Academy.

David also competed in the 5k “fun run”:
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The concensus was that this was a very tough course, but enjoyable nonetheless!

Rose looking cool, calm and collected having already competed in a 5 mile cross country race the day before:
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Richard enjoying the downhill section of the course:
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Recent RTW runners recruit and Crowborough Runner, Steve was out on course marshalling:
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As ever, Dom posed well for his photograph and gave his usual wave:
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Gem was nursing a cold, but still turned out with a very respectable performance:
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Some of the group post-run:
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More photos from today can be found on our group Flickr page.

Well done to everyone who took part and we look forward to arranging another RTW runners trip to another local race in the New Year – suggestions welcome.

The Vitality Big Half – 10th March 2019

The group has kindly been provided with up to 10 free places at The Vitality Big Half, courtesy of RTW runner, Helen Sanson. Helen is the Director of the Tower Hamlets Education Business Partnership charity. The East London-based charity work with employers and schools to increase social mobility by building young people’s confidence, improving their skills and raising aspirations for the future – more details about the charity and the work that they provide can be found on their website.

In exchange for a free place, all Helen is asking is for some fundraising which will go directly to the charity in order to help them to provide their services.

The race route will go through four London boroughs: Southwark, Lewisham, Tower Hamlets and Greenwich. In 2018, the race started near Tower Bridge and finished at the Cutty Sark but the route for 2019 is still to be finalised and we await an announcement in due course.

In addition to individual places for the half marathon, there will also be the opportunity to put forward relay teams for people who don’t want to run the whole distance. Although full details are yet to be released for the relay, last year the distances were fixed at 1 mile – two legs of between 3 and 4 miles and the final leg of just under 5 miles (8K) and therefore, we could put together 1 or 2 teams for this if there is enough interest.

Full details of this race can be found on the event website.

If you would like a place, have any further questions or would like advice on training for the event then please get in touch with group leader Joe Watts by e-mailing rtwrunners@zoho.com

Halloween progression run – Monday 29th October 2018

As with last year’s successful “Halloween special”, once again we decided to add a bit more fun to our run by lighting up Tunbridge Wells with glow sticks, face paint and brightly coloured outfits (although the latter seems to be a standard nowadays for runners).

The aim of tonight’s session was to run the first mile at an easy, conversational pace and to progressively increase the pace after each mile. The course was out and back, starting at the entrance to the Fusion, Tunbridge Wells Sports Centre and heading towards town along St John’s Road then keeping right along Mt Ephraim. Joe instructed the group before the start to turn around after 12.5 minutes of running in order to re-trace their steps in the space of 10 minutes.

The group were divided into 4 teams based on speed and ability. Joe led the 11 minute miling group, whilst Claire led the 10 minute miling group. The two other groups (9 minute & 8 minute miling) went out with one person in charge of the pacing. The session worked well, with everyone returning to the starting point within a minute or so of each other.

Either side of the main session we took a gentle jog from and to our meeting point, with some stretches and post-run treats at the end.

Thanks to Run Leader, Claire for the photo of the group below:

RTW runners all abilities group post-run:

All abilities group – Monday 15th October 2018

This evening our group of 14 all abilities runners completed between 2 & 3 mile repetitions with approximately 3 minutes of active walk/jog recoveries. The loop which starts on an incline is measured as approximately 1 mile using Garmin Connect (although this measurement follows the roads, rather than the paths and so may be slightly over or under this distance).

Times for the first of this evening’s mile repititions (in no particular order), recorded by Joe were as follows:

Charles – 07:17 (3)*
Dom – 06:08 (3)
Donal – 08:14 (2)
Matt – 08:14 (2)
Harry – 07:47 (2)
Karen – 09:20 (2)
Laurel – 11:20 (2)
Lynne – 09:08 (2)
Claire – 09:08 (2)
Richard – 07:35 (3)
Rose – 07:41 (3)
Heather – 06:40 (3)
Robert – 12:02 (2)
Phil – 06:46 (3)

*Total number of reps shown in brackets.

We expect to deliver this session once or twice more over the Winter months as it is a good way to gauge where you are with your fitness and a good tool in order to track your progress.

Well done to everyone who took part!