Rewind 12 months to January of last year, and other than travelling to a previous decade, you’d have found me sitting at this exact desk, mince pie in hand and aircast boot on foot, planning my 10 running goals for 2019. I think most of us are great at setting goals, but how often do you actually go back and evaluate your performance? If you’re anything like me, and your forte is in the planning, probably not very often. So, let’s give this a go.
To complete 30 parkruns
I started 2019 having just broken my parkrun virginity with a magic number of 1! It’s safe to say though, that parkrun became a consistent in my life this year. And one that I have loved. I’ve brought my PB down from 24.50 to 21.39, clocking 7 incremental PB’s along the way and even finished 2nd in a field of 500+ runners. It’s been competitive, social, muddy, chatty and all manor of other things. I’ve explored different courses, planned weekend’s away around it, made new friends, and incorporated brunch on many occasions. Most importantly though, I smashed my target of 30, by 10. That’s 200km of free fun. It also means that thanks to the Christmas and New Year extras, I could finish 2020 on 95. Just 5 away from that 100 milestone…..
To run sub 3.30 in London
Urgh! The build up to London was by far my best and most consistent training block. I broke my half marathon PB (see below), ran more miles and did more specific speed sessions than I’d ever done before. If you’d have asked me a few weeks before, I’d have said that I couldn’t have done any more. Then, 5 days out I got a weird stomach ‘thing’ and was struggling to eat. I put it down to stress and didn’t think much of it, but for whatever reason, when London came around, I didn’t have it. You can read my full review here. But one way or another, the quest for that illusive Boston Qualifying time continues.
To run a sub 1.40 half
From aircast boot to half marathon PB in 8 weeks is something that I didn’t fully appreciate at the time, but looking back, I’m really proud of. 1.39.22 (99.22- because apparently under 100 mins and you can write it like that!) at Bath half marathon. An average pace on 7.33 was something I never thought I’d be capable of…. and possibly never will again! Running is a humbling sport!
To run my first international marathon
I pulled out of my planned Chicago marathon with 6 weeks to go, and in hindsight I feel really sad that I gave up so easily. I was having stomach issues that were really affecting my training, but I still could have taken the pressure off and got round, ticking off another major that I’d managed to qualify for through the good for age entry.
A few weeks later, I did however, run Dublin marathon in 3 hours 41 something, ticking off the international marathon goal, and slightly restoring my marathon running confidence after a terrible outing in London. The frustration of running only 2 and a half minutes outside my PB with no real structured training though did plant a slight seed of regret. What could have been?
To run 1000 miles across the year
After 969 miles in 2017 and 935 in 2018, I was determined to smash that glass ceiling. 2019 turned out to be my biggest year yet, with 1550.4 miles under my belt.
To run a sub 21.45 5KM
I’m not sure if this one counts or not. I’ve technically still never raced a 5k, but my Parkrun PB from December was 21.39 on a tricky, cross country style course at Bournemouth. I really do need to find a 5k to race, because I actually think to reach my potential I should be dipping under 21 minutes at least.
To join a running club
Running with other people has been one of the biggest, most positive influences on my running in 2019. I finally plucked up the courage to join Littledown Harriers in October and I REALLY wish I’d done it sooner. The variety of sessions is great, I’ve met lots of lovely, like minded people and I love that it’s made things like parkrun more sociable. I’m excited about starting 2020 in an orange vest.
To get a place in Boston 2020 (and enter Tokyo, Berlin and New York ballots)
Fail. Not only did I miss my BQ goal in London, but my 3.41 in Dublin wasn’t good enough for a London or Chicago GFA either. I think the idea of that makes me sadder than the reality. I don’t actually want to run another marathon in 2020. In fact, I’ve promised my husband that I won’t! My plan instead is to concentrate on some 5K and 10K faster times and clock up a consistent sequence of races more locally. To be blunt, the goal of racing in Tokyo or Berlin died when I lost my confidence in London. I’m fairly sure that It’ll come back, but for now, I’ve made amends.
To avoid injury by listening to my body and responding more quickly to problems
This is the main reason I managed to clock up so many miles I think. Bar the really bad decision of running 6 miles up hill and on cobbles to explore Prague 5 days after the London marathon that I spent 6 weeks paying for, I’ve been much better at running easy, varying the terrain and cross training than in previous years. Something I plan to continue.
To run somewhere new at least once a month
Parkrun has made me much better at this. I’ve also driven to new places specifically to run. One of my favourites being the 18 miler around the picturesque countryside of Dorchester when I realised Dublin marathon was only two weeks away and I hadn’t run past 10 miles! I’ve raced some smaller races in local places like Wimborne, and Salisbury (where I had my first ever podium finish as 3rd lady!), and run lots more whilst away. This is also something I want to do more off. I love exploring, and combining it with running is a real win, win.
When I look back, running has played a larger part in my life in 2019 than in any other year. The biggest thing that stands out though, is that although the PB’s give you that racing high feeling, all of my best and most profound memories are the ones shared with others. I’ve met some truly lovely people through running this year and I’m actually really excited about the thought of removing some of the pressure of running fast, or high mileage weeks in 2020, and simply going with the flow.
What are your running goals?