2020 preview

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I am a little late in uploading this post, given that we are now 42 days into the year, however, I have now found the time to get back into regular blogging.

The back end of 2019 saw a lot of life changes for me – finishing full time work in November and going full time with my personal training & running coaching business (Plega Fit), entering a new relationship in September and just over a month ago, moving from Kent to East Sussex!

Much like my preview of 2019, I have already competed in two races – both cross country. The first was a very tough, 15km Southern Cross Country race at Parliament Hill in London, which almost finished me, both physically and mentally! The second and most recent, came last Saturday (8th February 2020) in the final Kent Cross Country League race of the season at Norman Park, Bromley and which I was very pleased with.

This was the 5th consecutive Kent Cross Country League season for me and although I was far from my 2016/17 season best of 2:31.08s (cumulative time of four 10km races), where I finished 18th in the overall individual standings, I was pleased to have started and finished all 4 races for the 4th consecutive year. My overall individual standing this season was 37th in a cumulative time of 2:46.46s.

Now, to preview the remainder of 2020!

Racing – my schedule currently looks like this:

National Cross Country, Woollaton Park, Nottingham (12km) – Saturday 22nd February
Lydd 20 mile road race – Sunday 8th March
Hartfield 10k trail race – Sunday 5th April
Cork City Marathon – Sunday 31st May
Mid Kent 5 mile road race – Sunday 12th July
Rye Ancient Trails 15km trail race – Sunday 13th September


With the recent move and life changes, I have only really returned to regular training over the past couple of weeks. However, I have already noticed a big difference in my fitness.

Again, with the move to East Sussex, it now means that I am unable to attend the Tonbridge AC club training which I used to go to on most Tuesday and Thursday evenings. I am now training mostly alone, although I have found a new club to join – Lingfield Running Club, and I shall be transferring to them from the beginning of April 2020.

With my marathon being much later this year (end of May rather than mid April), my 16 week training plan started today (Monday 10th February 2020). The plan which I have written up sees me conduct an interval session on a Monday, a tempo run with Lingfield RC on a Tuesday and my long run on a Thursday. Around this I also lead running groups through my RunTogether group, RTW runners on a Monday evening and Sunday morning (beginners).

In addition to my running I have also devised a 10 day strength and conditioning programme which will run alongside my plan. This consists of 5 different workouts to be conducted over a 10 day period – 1 day on, 1 day off, for which I will complete 7 times over the 16 weeks to fit around racing and other commitments. There are two leg workouts, one upper body, one core and one plyometrics session, with each workout consisting of 6 exercises programmed specifically to strengthen my body and condition it to the rigours of training for what will be my third attempt at the marathon distance.

Goals for 2020

Build up my personal training & running coaching business – now that this is my full time job and the main source of income for me, I will be putting in a lot of time and effort to establish myself as a PT and running coach. Having qualified as both a PT and a England Athletics Coach in Running Fitness in 2017, I now have 3 years of experience behind me and I continue to develop my knowledge and understanding through regular reading and attendance at courses and workshops.

Strength and conditioning – I have seen the positive impact of keeping your body strong and conditioned through regular strength, stretching and conditioning workouts. This body maintenance is crucial in preventing injuries and provides the runner with consistency in their training which in turn breeds confidence and success in achieving goals. I shall continue to fine-tune my own training and can use this when providing sessions to my clients.

Running goals – at this point, I do not have any time-based goals and think it would be unrealistic to set my sights on any PB’s this year. My aim for the marathon is to again, run a well-paced race and enjoy running the distance in another new location. It will be interesting to see how my training will affect my race, but I think a PB is off the cards. I’m looking forward to representing a new club in Lingfield running club, but at the same time, sad to be leaving Tonbridge AC who I joined in 2012 when I first started running.

Coaching – I plan to further my existing running coaching by specialising in endurance as a discipline. I will be signing up to the England Athletics “Event Group Endurance” running coaching course this year and hope to qualify by the end of the year or early 2021. I have also identified a couple of other CPD (Continued Professional Development) courses which I am required to complete in order to maintain my membership of the Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs).

Nutrition – I have become a bit more relaxed in my nutrition, however, my main intake of meat is still fish (tuna and salmon mostly). I continue to avoid processed foods and cook the vast majority of my meals from scratch with natural ingredients. This is something that I enjoy and like to share with others.

Please check back again soon as I will be providing regular updates on my marathon training as well as reviews of my next two races.

If you would like advice on your training or assistance in writing a training plan, then please get in touch with me via e-mail: joewatts@plegafit.com

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