Owner of The Running Inn, Eastbourne
Fiona followed a BA (hons) degree in Politics with a post-grad diploma and 12 year career in journalism, where she specialised in health and fitness writing and compiling workouts. She’s been a deputy editor and has written for national newspapers, websites, books and magazines, and has contributed to various TV and radio shows as a fitness specialist. With Mike Ovens, she is the co owner and director of the Running Inn in Eastbourne, specialising in running and fitness breaks.
Fiona was recently appointed editor of Running Free magazine.
A break from the routine... and those resolutions we make
21 January 10
I like to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions before I break for the Xmas holiday. That way I think I won’t get such a shock to my system when I need to get going on dark January days. With the world apparently seeped in SAD it’s not the easiest time of the year to transform myself into a widely read, cultured, solvent, successful, nutritionally intelligent, super fit all-round superwoman!
So making goals fluid and setting them when I’m relaxed and on holiday seems to make sense. Starting to focus on New Year’s Resolutions when you break up for Christmas is a bit like putting your alarm on early – and hitting the snooze button, you have no intention of getting up at 530am, you’re final cut off point is 630am!
My cut off point was January 11th, when I got back from holiday. My goals are always pretty similar, train more, read more, optimum nutrition, drink a bit less, produce something tangible from my hard work (usually this means money!) and write constructively… So over Christmas I run, but don’t do speed work, eat more, but still eat some good food, and keep control of drink for at least some of the time. (Working hard and writing come naturally but producing anything other than a Xmas dinner, Xmas cards and the odd tweet is all I expect of myself over Christmas).
This year I had a three week break, which was a serious threat to my marathon training and goals for running. The day I went Ju and I ran in melting snow, and Julia said to me, remember, ‘keep the goal in mind’.
So off I went on my travels on the 21st December with a minimum mileage plan of 60 per week – the goal in mind. As I drove to see my family, the snow set in (and as it turned out was going to be a bit of a barrier for the next three weeks!) and we arrived three hours later than planned. Everyone’s routine had gone to pot that night, so the wine was cracked open, the Chinese ordered and my early night scuppered. But with the goal in mind, I got up at 630am and ran a very steady 10 miles…
The thing with resolutions they need to be for life, and they need to be robust enough to withstand snow, and routine breakers, whether in December or March. As it turned out over Christmas I did manage 50 miles in week one, 58 in week two and then 35 plus lots of cross training on holiday in week three (we were stranded at an airport for a day due to the snow). I read Chris Evans’ Autobiography (okay not James Joyce, but a reasonable read!) and I wrote and planned business in my head!
When I finally got home, the new term feeling didn’t quite happen as the world had ground to a halt due to the snow. And on the other side of the world the ground was rumbling routine and normality in a devastating way as the earthquake hit Haiti.
So this year, I missed out on the ‘new term’ feeling, but I kept my goals in mind – and the new term just happened anyway. No unrealistic expectations just things I want to achieve, and so like most of us, I’ve just carried on.
In fact I realised that I haven’t really made any firm resolutions this year – they just flow on. Looking at what I had achieved in 2009, I realised it was pretty good: we sold our guesthouse, I ran a 3:13 marathon, I won a race, we had lots of brilliant courses, did the London Running Show, I wrote lots of articles, I read a Chris Evans book! And of course my family and personal life is the focus to it all…
The grass is always greener on the other side of New Year’s resolutions. And going back to January 2009 I can see that the grass is a bit greener now. If I run a sub three hour marathon, the grass will be lush! The thing is there’ll be the odd brown patch – and in a field just in my line of vision, the 2011 field, the grass will be emerald!