Jantastic January


I mentioned previously that I had signed up for the Jantastic challenge. Jantastic was set up last year by former international runner Martin Yelling (husband of Olympian marathoner, Liz Yelling) and Tom Williams, MD of parkrun, who co present the MarathonTalk podcast. In Martin’s own words

Jantastic is a New Year fitness challenge and it grew out of our desire to offer motivation and encouragement to runners as they strive for consistency towards their spring running goals.

The challenge runs for 3 months and the set up is simple: in the first month, set a target number of workouts you will aim to complete each week. In the second month, you still set a target number of workouts but also add a distance target for a single run each week. In March, the final month, you add a time target for a single run – something to aim for after hopefully completing 3 months of training, inspired and motivated by taking part in the challenge.

After 1 month, I can assuredly say that I am surprised by how effective I am finding Jantastic at helping me regain my mojo and rekindle my love for my hobby. There have been a couple of days where I have just not felt like running but I have been motivated to do so by the knowledge that if I get out and do at least a mile, I can log it on Jantastic and tick something off. This has usually led to going for the run I had originally planned because having done a mile, I might as well carry on to do another.

Now January is over and I have somehow managed to run regularly during the whole month – 1 week preamble then 4 weeks of Jantastic. In the last week, I’ve started adding “long” runs of up to 7 miles at an easy pace and they’ve gone well and I’ve felt comfortable. I can feel my fitness returning. So, in the spirit of reflecting and celebrating, here are some stats for January:

Total number of runs: 20
Longest single run: 7.1 miles
Total distance run: 95.5 miles
Total time spent running: 13h21m

I am delighted by these numbers. To put things into perspective, the most training miles I’ve ever logged in a single month was 104 back in June 2012, the month before attempting the Lakeland 100 again. In January last year, when allegedly preparing for the London Marathon, I only covered about 62 miles. So to be starting from scratch, working at building up a base and using Jantastic as motivation, I am amazed and very, very pleased to have put in that sort of mileage when I have no target races or goals other than just running.

I’ll flag that as a good start to the year!

As a bonus link, here’s a Guardian interview with Martin Yelling from January 2014.