PB review 2015 & targets for 2016

The running year that was 2015 came to a singularly disappointing end for me and was only saved from complete statistical ignominy by February’s half marathon PB at Brighton. Achilles tendonitis, though only diagnosed as such in July, affected my season from February and morphed seamlessly into prepatellar bursitis during September which then accompanied me joylessly to the end of the year. Although I ran ten parkrun 5k events this year only three of these were inside twenty minutes and, of those, I ran only two as PB attempts. Hindsight seems to suggest even those were limited by the then undiagnosed tendonitis. Consequently my targets barely require revision for 2016.

Nonetheless the presentation of data in tabular form always engenders inordinate inner joy and so I have indulged myself to the full. Compared to last year I have set targets in three additional disciplines. The 5000m and 10000m targets are prompted by my participation in a 5000m, in April at a Highgate Harriers open meeting, and my aspiration to run at Highgate Harriers night of the 10000m PBs respectively. Although I had already run once in each discipline, both in 2006, I hadn’t previously noted these PBs separately from my 5k and 10k times; primarily because they were slower than my times in those disciplines anyway. The two track disciplines should of course be faster than their road race twins – the times for a 50 year old male recording an 80% AG performance are:

  • 5000m 18:01.80 / 5k 18:26.25 [ track just over 24 seconds faster ]
  • 10000m 37:37.91 / 10k 38:22.50 [ track nearly 45 seconds faster ]

With these comparisons in mind the targets below for 5000m and 10000m are clearly much kinder than the existing targets for 5k and 10k retained from last year. Personally an 80% Age Grade remains a Holy Grail – most of my PBs equate to an AG of around 75% – and since my strongest times are in shorter events it is unlikely I will ever achieve an 80% AG at 5000m or 10000m. Similarly the targets below for marathon and 50k – the third new discipline – are even kinder; the times equate to Age Grades of 73.41% and 71.90% respectively.

2015 season 2016 season
event opening PB target events improvement target
800m 2:25.9 2:19.9 2:19.9
1500m 5:18.2 4:49.9 4:49.9
mile 5:31.7 4:59.9 4:59.9
3000m 9:59.9 9:59.9
5000m 20:27 1 April 19:01.53 17:59.99
5k 18:53 17:59 10 17:59
5 mile 31:28 29:59 29:59
10000m 44:04 38:29.99
10k 39:04 38:29 38:29
10 mile 66:41 64:59 64:59
half marathon 89:16 87:29 2 February 86:29 84:59
marathon 3:09:59 3:09:59
50k 3:54:59

Well, that is as much joy as I can realise from reflection on statistics alone. Here’s to a happier New Year with some actual running!



In November and December I ran precisely zero miles.

This period began in an entirely planned way at the beginning of November when I had a scheduled procedure to remove two kidney stones. The general anaesthetic procedure went well and I hoped the enforced bed rest would promote improvement in the fluid on my knee which had been troubling me since September and had become ever-present by the time of my last run on 31 October. As I returned home, with zero kidney stones, the fluid had all but disappeared and I was hopeful that the further rest I had planned, to recover fully from the procedure, would enable my knee to recuperate too.

The first two weekends of November I volunteered at Crystal Palace and Dulwich parkruns respectively as part of my recovery plan. In so doing, I increased my #50at50 count to seven … I have added nothing to it since.

Unfortunately simply avoiding running has not resulted in the full recovery I hoped for. Whilst my knee is rarely painful – I am reminded now as I type at a desk that the most uncomfortable activity seems to be precisely this, but even so the sensation is only a very slight burning sensation, pin prick sized, at the left of my kneecap – the fluid swelling increases at the slightest provocation. A long walk or even a short jog to avoid getting wet on the way home after dropping my daughters at school cause it to increase and, since perhaps mid October, it never disappears entirely.

Having re-learned the lesson that passive recovery is rarely enough I returned to my physio just before Christmas and will be seeing him again in a few days to have my knee taped … I am hopeful, but not anticipating an especially quick return to running. This is particularly frustrating because I should have just completed week one of my marathon training in preparation for my first marathon.

As it is this week zero limbo seems endless. I find the absence of running debilitating, even more so at this time of year when the days are short and grey. It is not entirely the absence of running itself, and hence the practical lack of content, that has resulted in zero blog posts over the last two months. The darker emotions make it difficult to present my running life as positively as I want to; or indeed at all.

mileage 2015