All is well …

It’s almost the New Year. I have just completed an amazing running season in which I achieved all the goals I set this year. And I’ve set challenging goals for 2014 in confident tone. All is well.

Or rather all should be well. I turned my ankle over on 10 December and sprained it and consequently my season ended rather more abruptly than I had planned. As I write I’m planning my first tentative couple of kilometres back in running shoes for tomorrow morning. I’m hoping that it’ll be a non-event and I’ll return home mildly warm having had nothing to distract me from playing with my new running watch. That’s what I’m hoping.

Assuming all does go well I plan to add a kilometre every run and resume running four or five times a week as I was until the tenth. Here’s hoping tomorrow morning isn’t worthy of a blog post to itself.

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2013, running year review – event times

2013 has been a quite amazing year, an annus mirabilis if you like. I’ve entered 29 events across 6 formal event distances, recording 13 PBs along the way culminating in PBs over all 6 event distances set in the last quarter of the year. I achieved, and in many cases smashed, all my running targets for 2013.

800m opening PB none | target none | new PB 2:25.9
I have run 2 events to date, both at South London Harriers‘ Track Coulsdon Winter Series, one in November and one in December. Initially attracted simply by the opportunity to set PBs at new distances I find I’m actually relatively good at the shorter distances; 2:25.9 equates to an Age Grade better than all my longer distance PBs.

The Winter Series, a small informal meeting, continues monthly through to March 2014 and is a great opportunity for every day runners to run on an international quality track.

1500m opening PB none | target none | new PB 5:18.2
Both events to date were run at the same meetings as my 800m events and both within 15 minutes or so of the finish of the 800m. Consequently I’m confident that a significant improvement is possible.

5k opening PB 19:47 | target 19:30 | new PB 18:58
I have run 16 events this year, all but one of them parkruns. At the end of April, in only my fourth event of the year, I recorded my first PB of the season at Dulwich parkrun and immediately achieved my target improving my PB by 20 seconds to 19:27. At the beginning of June I improved my PB in consecutive weeks at Dulwich – to 19:21 – and then Poole – to 19:06 – finally achieving my current PB in November back at Dulwich.

2013-11-09-5k-medal

5 miles opening PB 33:11 | target 32:10 | new PB 31:36
I ran just two events this year the first of which was the Ickenham 5 in September. The course seemed to be constantly undulating and from the outset I felt I wouldn’t achieve my target. I recorded a time of 33:00. Returning to the Perivale 5, the event at which I first raced 5 miles in 2012, I felt strong and fast and this combined with the almost perfect course – just a couple of sharp turns to spoil it – resulted in my new PB 🙂

10k opening PB 40:51 | target 39:59 | new PB 39:33
My longest standing running target, dating back to entering my first events in 2006, was to complete a 10k in less than 40 minutes. I ran 5 events in 2013 and recorded my first PB at the second of these at Battersea Park in June – I nudged my PB forward by 17 seconds to 40:34. After two more races in Battersea park in July and August at which I was disappointed to record times just over 41 minutes I finally achieved my target at the Brooks Brighton 10k in December. I felt strong and the event had been recommended to me as a fast course by several of my clubmates at Beckenham RC. They weren’t wrong and I really enjoyed sharing the moment with so many of them; both in the form of shouted encouragement en route and at the finish line.

half marathon opening PB 98:11 | target 89:59 | new PB 89:53
I ran two events this year. At the beginning of April I returned to the Bournemouth Bay Run where I ran my first half marathon in 2010 and was pleased to record a new PB of 92:29 in slightly windy conditions. In September I ran my first Ealing Half Marathon and experienced probably my most emotional race to date. I just dipped under 90 minutes to record 89:53.

running targets for 2014

My primary PB focus for 2014 is going to be on distances of 5k and shorter. I’d like to improve my 800m, 1500m and 5k PBs and, if the opportunity arises, set PBs at 1 mile and 3000m too. In addition I hope to improve my 5 mile, 10k and half marathon bests and, having failed to set a PB for 10 miles in 2013 as planned, I hope to complete an event at that distance too.

All my current PBs, bar one, were set in the final quarter of 2013 and hence at age 48. The exception, the half marathon, was set just a few days before my birthday and hence the AG was calculated at age 47. The AGs shown for the target times below are all calculated at age 48.

800m target 2:19.9 / AG 81.68%
current PB 2:25.9 / AG 78.32%
Measured by AG this looks to be a hard target, but having run a better AG in only my second 800m than at any other event distance to date, I’m confident.

1500m target 4:49.9 / AG 79.87%
current PB 5:18.2 / AG 72.77%
Since both events to date were run at the same meetings as my first two 800m events, and within 15 minutes or so of the finish of those, I’m confident that a significant improvement is possible.

mile target 4:59.9 / AG 83.51%
current PB <none>
My target time is chosen simply because I’d love to run a mile within 5 minutes. The AG suggests it’s going to require a performance significantly beyond all my achievements to date.

3000m target 9:59.9 / AG 82.52%
current PB <none>
Again the target time is chosen simply because I’d love to run 3000m within 10 minutes. AG suggests it’s likely to be about as hard as the mile target taking into account the extra distance.

5k target 17:59 / 80.72%
current PB 18:58 / AG 76.54%
Towards the end of 2012 I dipped under 20 minutes for 5k and set my target for 2013 at 19:30. Having gone well beyond that target this year I don’t want to make the same mistake again and so have chosen sub 18 minutes rather than sub 18:30 for 2014 🙂

5 mile target 29:59 / AG 80.04%
current PB 31:36 / AG 75.95%
Having reduced my PB significantly in 2013 sub 30 minutes does not now seem unreasonable although, given my focus on shorter distances this year, whether that is achievable in 2014 remains to be seen.

10k target 38:59 / AG 77.51%
current PB 39:33 / AG 76.40%
Having achieved my longest standing running target – to run 10k in less than 40 minutes – last year it seems reasonable to set less than 39 minutes as the next milestone.

10 mile target 1:07:53 / AG 73.02%
current PB <none>
My target time is directly dictated by my half marathon target since both require 6:47 mile pace or 4:13 km pace. My return to fitness permitting I hope to find a 10 mile race a suitable interval before the Brighton half marathon as part of my preparation for that race and to try out the pace required.

half marathon target 1:28:59 / AG 73.98%
current PB 1:29:53 / AG 73.24%
I have entered the Brighton half marathon on 16 February 2014 and am hoping that if I am fully fit the relatively flat course will enable me to achieve my target.