Welcome to 2016!
“Another year over, and a new one just begun” as the lyrics go. Welcome to 2016!
So, let’s break down how 2015 went for me…
2014 with a marathon saw 1,307 miles logged. 2015 without a marathon saw 1,605 miles – that’s the equivalent of running from London to Bucharest, Romania with distance to spare!
2015 also saw December as my densest month ever of running, clocking in at 201 miles.
All in all, I’m incredibly pleased with the increase in mileage – it should yield some good results to come in longer events, such as the imminent Brass Monkey Half Marathon and the Cardiff World Half Marathon Championships in March.
My PB producing power reduces each year – 2013 saw me smash out 17x PBs and I enjoyed 8x PB performances in 2014. 2015 dropped a touch to 6x PBs:
- Brass Monkey Half Marathon – 87:27
- DK10K – 39:38
- Magor Marsh 10k – 39:16
- Cardiff Half Marathon – 86:41
- Sneyd Christmas Pudding Run (10 mile debut) – 64:17
- Cannon Hill Parkrun – 18:49
It’s with some logic that my weaker distances would yield the biggest improvements, which is exactly what happened. My half marathon PB came down by 2 minutes and 10 seconds in total for the year, and my 10k improved by 28 seconds. 10 miles produced the biggest surprise when it became my strongest PB of all time relative to other performances – the original prediction was to sneak under 65 minutes, so imagine my surprise when I finished closer to 64 minutes. It stands to reason that I could see the largest improvement in the marathon where it wouldn’t be ridiculous to look at taking minutes off in the double digits.
Race highlights of the year
One from way back at the beginning of 2015, is the Brass Monkey Half Marathon. Organised by runners (York Knavesmire Harriers) for runners, the race has an awful lot going for it. It’s comparatively cheap for a half marathon at £24 for unaffiliated entries; it’s also almost exclusively flat to offer great PB potential, giving me an almost 90 second PB. Lis and I made a proper weekend of it and we’re looking forward to the race again in a few weeks for what’s quickly becoming an annual pilgrimage. We’ve yet to see whether the recent flooding will have an impact on the race or not; it would be a shame if the race is cancelled because it brings tourism and additional revenue to the area through hotel stays, dining out and so on.
Another oldie from very early on in January was my first place finish at Perry Hall Parkrun. I went there merely to clean up my performance and get it under 20 minutes. Little did I know that I’d be the fastest runner that morning, thanks to a local cross-country event that took place later that afternoon. Didn’t get the sub-20 minute run, mind, which must be one of the slowest first finishes on the Parkrun books!
I ran a helluva lot of 10k races throughout the spring and summer, so much so that I even had to cancel one or two for fear of burn out. The one that stands out is the Magor Marsh 10k. It absolutely bucketed down with rain, but offered a stellar field by playing host to the British Masters Championship. Weather conditions aside, I executed the race by the book and produced a rewarding 22 second PB. As with the Brass Monkey Half Marathon above, it’s cheap, flat and organised by the local club, Chepstow Harriers.
Finally, the recent Sneyd Christmas Pudding Run caught me off-guard by playing host to an ability defying PB that was almost a minute faster than estimated. The race really opened up my eyes to what I could potentially run in my next race in only a few short weeks.
Targets are great and keep me on the straight and narrow, so long as they’re not ridiculous flights of fancy… Targets for 2015 were:
- 5k – sub-18:30: FAIL
- 10k – sub-39:00: FAIL
- 10 miles – sub-65:00: Woohoo!
- Half marathon – sub-87:00: Woohoo!
Looking at the above, I’m almost embarrassed that I put a sub-18:30 5k down as a target. I didn’t appreciate how hard it would be to break 18:51.
Sub-39:00 for 10k is more realistic, and it’s with some confidence that it should come good in 2016, especially seeing as I won’t be running 10k races until late spring for additional development.
So, my revised 2016 targets look like this:
- 5k – sub 18:35
- 10k – sub-39:00
- Half marathon – sub-85:00
- Marathon – sub-3:15:00
Yes, you do see a marathon target in there. Whilst I entered the Berlin Marathon ballot, I didn’t get in. In fact, none of the runners I personally know were successful with Berlin. I’ve got my eye on an autumn race, with the Yorkshire Marathon catching my attention. It won’t be nearly as busy as Berlin, with a crowded field scuppering my previous two London Marathons. Watch this space to see how the marathon project develops…
Have a happy New Year, everyone!