At the start of the year, I set myself the following running goals:
- To run the London Marathon
- To run a sub 2 hour half marathon
- To run a sub 50 10km
- To run a sub 25 minute 5km
Now here we are at at the end of November, and since my last blog update, 5 or so weeks ago, I have run a race at every major distance between 5km and a half marathon: Bury St Edmunds Half, The Great South Run (10 miles), Battersea Park 10km and Queen Elizabeth Park, Chase The Sun 5km. So, now seems to be as good a time as any to look back and reflect upon what (if anything!) I have achieved this year, in particular, in relation to the above goals. Consider this, if you will, my annual (running) review! 😉
Over the last few week’s races, it’s true to say that only the 5km really went to plan. 5km is the distance over which I’ve made the most significant progress this year. (Which let’s be honest, is a direct result of it being the shortest race distance available!) At the start of the year I struggled for sub 26 minute 5kms on the flat, and my local Parkrun time (Hampstead Heath – a hilly bugger!) was stuck at around the 28 minutes. However, my last 3 5km races, all of which have taken place over the last 2 months or so, have come in sub 25 minutes – The first of these being at Finsbury Park on what is far from a flat course. What I am even prouder of though, is that my Hampstead Heath Parkrun PB is now down to sub 26 minutes – Although I’ve yet to get round the course without feeling on the verge of chunder and/or passing out!
Next year’s 5km goals? Sub 24 minutes on a easy course, and sub 25 for Hampstead Heath Parkrun.
10km. Oh, the bloody 10km. Formerly my favourite distance to run, and now, it seems, the bane of my actual life. The difference between my 10km PB this time last year, and my 10km PB today? 1 second! One! How offensive is that?! Who PBs by one second?! And it certainly wasn’t for lack of trying. I’ve run at least 5 10km races this year (admittedly at least half of them were in the heart of summer) and things just haven’t seemed to go my way. Either I’ve been too hot, I’ve got a stitch, or most recently, at Battersea Park 10km, I experienced severe pain in my right calf which resulted in my having to stop a handful of times to stretch out. I’d also slept terribly the night before and through a public transport/lense related nightmare, actually ended up running that one minus my left eye’s contact lense! (Probably not a receipe for success?)
I know I’ve got a PB in me somewhere. During London’s marathon training, I ran a 4.5 mile training run with a former colleague at 7.30 minutes/miles so I can’t help but feel that sub 50 is achieveable. I’m planning to make 10km a priority distance for me next year, and also hope for some slightly better luck to help with injury, stitches and all those other lame excuses! 😉
10miles – I didn’t have a goal for this distance, probably because The Great South Run is the only 10 mile race I’ve ever done! This year was my 3rd time tackling the GSR. It’s a great race in terms of course, crowd and atmosphere. I PBed at 1hr 32minutes, but had been hoping to closer to 1.30. Still, a PB is a PB, and my time was down 5 minutes from my last attempt at this course 2 years back.
13.1 / Half marathon – I’ve only run 3 half marathon races this year, and I smashed the sub-2 hour target with my first one at Reading. The other two races, Wimbledon and Bury St Edmunds were both hilly as, so sadly I can’t say the same for them.
Next year, I’m hoping to gain some actual consistency over this distance, and with a bit of luck prove myself (and to ya’ll) that Reading wasn’t a massive fluke! 😉
One thing I loved about Bury St Edmunds half though, was getting to rock up to the start and hang out before the race with Trudi, my oldest friend (We met at nursery school age 4!) If only more of my “real life” friends were in to running. (Hint hint…!)
26.2! / A bloody marathon – First of all, let me just start off by saying, never did I ever think that I would be able to finish a marathon!! Let alone that I would finish it in a half decent time, and let alone that I would bloody love it (…or most of it!) Check out my marathon post here if you haven’t already. I had no real goals for London, other than to finish, but the day is one I’ll never forget. I feel so, so happy and proud to think back on this, and for finishing my first marathon in 4hrs 34. It really has been a Runderful Year!
I’ve had so much fun in 2017 and it certainly hasn’t all been about pursuing PBs or achieving goals – I’ve very much enjoyed getting to know some of the #igrunners (Instagram runners) better, both virtually and in person.
I’ve also recently signed up to British Military Fitness – just once a week – but I’m very pleased with my red (intermediate) bib (I ran my heart out for it in my first session!) and am excited to see where the regular addition of strength training to shake up my routine will take me. For those who don’t know, BMF is basically some pretty intense cardio, body-weight exercises, partner exercises and running. BUT IT’S SO MUCH FUN. You can sign up for a free session on the website. Their slogan? “No Mud, No Glory.” It’s gonna get messy – You have been warned.
I’ve struggled in the past to find a gym class that works to me, and BMF definitely appeals to my competitive side. It probably won’t surprise anyone who actually knows me that I am happier these days outside rolling around in the mud, than in a studio-based mat class.
In April 2018, I’m running Brighton marathon – A next major target. I’ve um-ed and ah-ed about how ambitious to be with my goals for this and I’ve settled on attempting to run sub 4hrs 20. This may seem like a slightly arbitrary time, but it isn’t. To run a 4.20 marathon, you’re running 10 minute miles or faster. When I started running, I couldn’t run a kilometre at 10 minute mile pace, so 26.2 miles at that pace would represent a mahoosive achievement, and perhaps illustrate better than anything just how far I’ve come.
Four weeks (I think?) until Christmas, and I really need to keep motivated before kickstarting the Brighton training plan. (Is the New Year too late for this?!) I’ve not yet decided which plan to follow, but it’s pretty high up the to-do list! Until then, I’ve signed up for “Run Up To Christmas” a brilliant initiative with proceeds going to Mind charity. For a £12 donation, and commitment to running “as much as you want” across December, you’ll receive a medal in the post upon completion. I’m aiming for 100k over the month but let’s see what happens!
I’d love to say that you’ll hear from me again before the Big Day (Christmas that is, not Brighton marathon!) but the way my life/blogging is going lately, it’s unlikely. With that in mind….
Have a Runderful Christmas, and a Happy New Year! I’ll see you on the other side! 🙂