PB review 2016 & targets for 2017

My running in 2016 ended on a relative high. This is probably better phrased as, “My perception of running in 2016 was only saved from being ‘a complete fiasco’ by returning to a decent level of activity in December.” I ran 21 parkrun 5k events this year, but most of those were simply part of the process of recovery from one injury or another. Certainly, none were PB attempts and the fastest, 19:23 at Dulwich in June, was a full 30 seconds outside my 5k PB. Outside parkrunning, I participated in only three events this year. The first two of these were also in June; a 3k team relay and a 10000m PB although the latter was more of a statistical anomaly than a notable performance. By July I was already injured when I participated in the Thunder Run 24 hour team relay which really was such a fiasco that I couldn’t bring myself to write a blog post.

fiasco

Running in 2016 was only saved from being a complete fiasco by returning to a decent level of activity in December.

Consequently my targets for 2017 are unchanged from last year. In fact, I have removed the 50k target which I optimistically added last year as part of my #50at50 challenge. If I am unable to maintain marathon training this year long enough to line up at the Brighton Marathon in April I will likely acknowledge that the marathon is beyond my physiology and remove it too next year.

2016 season 2017 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 19:01.53 17:59.99 17:59.99
5k 18:53 17:59 21 17:59
5 mile 31:28 29:59 29:59
10000m 44:04 38:29.99 1 June 40:41.00 38:29.99
10k 39:04 38:29 38:29
10 mile 66:41 64:59 64:59
half marathon 86:29 84:59 84:59
marathon 3:09:59 3:09:59
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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!

If … Age Grade Holy Grail revisited at 50

Shortly after my 49th birthday, I considered the times I would need to achieve to record an 80% AG at that time. Having completed my 50th year at the start of this month, and spurred on by a comment from runningest sister after last weekend’s Bromley parkrun, I have revised the times, again using the Running for Fitness calculator. The slightly easier targets, combined with several PB improvements since my original post, have moved the Holy Grail just a little closer. In some disciplines tantalisingly so …

event 80% AG time (male, 50 yrs) current PB  improvement required pace improvement required per km
800m 2:25 2:26 0:01 1s 3:03 – 3:02
1500m 4:54 5:18 0:24 16s 3:32 – 3:16
1 mile 5:18 5:32 0:14 8s 3:26 – 3:18
5k 18:26 18:53 0:27 6s 3:47 – 3:41
5 mile 30:29 31:28 0:59 8s 3:55 – 3:47
10k 38:23 39:04 0:41 4s 3:54 – 3:50
10 mile 63:00 66:41 3:41 14s 4:09 – 3:55
half marathon 83:41 86:29 2:48 8s 4:06 – 3:58
marathon 2:54:20 4:08

If, and that’s an important ‘if’, I can stay fit throughout my fiftieth year I hope to enter at least one event each of the disciplines above in a PB competitive state. The comments I made in my original post regarding how many of the disciplines I might achieve an 80% AG at still stand – essentially up to and including 5 miles at the most optimistic – so the addition of a marathon to the list is purely for interest. In any case I will approach these AG goals cautiously as I do not want to jeopardize my returning, and hopefully ongoing, fitness and hence my #50at50 challenge and in particular my first marathon and first ultramarathon within that.

All the same, it would be nice if I could record one.

A big 'if'.

A big ‘if’. Similar to an important ‘if’. Both being quite nice.

.

First 100 events

9 years, 3 months and 2 days after my first event, the London British 10k on 2 July 2006, last Saturday’s Bromley parkrun was my one hundredth. I have run in 12 different disciplines; listed here in order of my first running of each.

event count first last fastest
10k 22 2 Jul 2006, 46:40 16 Nov 2014, 39:04 39:04
5000m 2 23 Sep 2006, 20:27 15 Apr 2015, 19:01.53 19:01.53
SSRC 4 mile fun run 4 28 Jan 2007, 27:48 24 Jan 2010, 28:28 27:43
10000m 1 15 Sep 2007, 44:04 44:04
half marathon 7 28 Mar 2010, 98:13 29 Mar 2015, 87:14 86:29
5k 47 11 Aug 2012, 22:39 3 Oct 2015, 20:50 18:53
5 mile 4 2 Dec 2012, 33:11 7 Dec 2014, 31:28 31:28
Beckenham RC handicap 5 13 Feb 2013, 23:27 9 Oct 2013, 25:35 23:02
800m 2 6 Nov 2013, 2:30.1 4 Dec 2013, 2:25.9 2:25.9
1500m 3 6 Nov 2013, 5:18.2 5 Feb 2014, 5:20.9 5:18.2
10 mile 1 1 Mar 2014, 66:41 66:41
1 mile 1 5 Mar 2014, 5:31.7 5:31.7
SSRC 10k (short) 1 25 Jan 2015, 39:19 39:19

Whilst many of those event disciplines – 800m, mile, 5k, half marathon etc – are commonly understood some will be unfamiliar: Just what is a Beckenham RC handicap for example? An explanation of these anomalies, together with an up to date event count beyond the date of this post, can be found on the Event Counts page (also accessible via Stats on the site menu).

event-count-100

9 years, 3 months and 2 days after my first event last Saturday’s parkrun was my one hundredth.

I take some satisfaction from reaching 100 events and find it is interesting to reflect on how the frequency and diversity of events has increased since my early years. Although my progression has been slowed over the last two years by injury, I am certainly anticipating my 200 event milestone already. Although I may not add many new disciplines – just marathon, 50k and 3000m currently come to mind – I am hoping to reach the next milestone relatively quickly. My #50at50 celebration, which started at Bromley last weekend, should get me close to 150 by this time next year if all goes well.

 

PB review 2014 & targets for 2015

Ending 2014 on a high – running over 120 miles and recording a PB in each of the last three months of the year – the middle six months where I didn’t run a competitive event now seem a long time ago. My primary PB focus this year was intended to be on distances of 5k and shorter, but that failed to materialise due to injury*.

One positive of being sidelined was that I took time to focus on weight management and successfully reduced my weight from around 73kg and rising, at the end of March, to around 67kg and stable since June. I am certain that my reduced weight has been a significant factor in the subsequent PB improvements I have made, although I’ve yet to realise all the hypothetical potential I calculated when considering my Stillman running weight.

ca

Around 67kg and relatively stable since June this year, I am certain that my reduced weight has been a significant factor in the subsequent PB improvements I have made.

To minimise the risk of further injury during my extended recovery period, I chose to focus on restoring strength and endurance at the expense of absolute speed and so reverted to historical type and ran exclusively longer distance events. Hence the only targets I’ve needed to revise this year are those at 10k and above. The marathon I’ve only included for fun since my first marathon isn’t due until twenty sixteen anyway.

2014 season 2015 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 1 4:49.9
mile 4:59.9 1 March 5:31.7 4:59.9
3000m 9:59.9 9:59.9
5k 18:58 17:59 13 March 18:55
October 18:53
17:59
5 mile 31:36 29:59 1 December 31:28 29:59
10k 39:33 38:59 2 November 39:04 38:29
10 mile 67:53 1 March 66:41 64:59
half marathon 89:53 88:59 1 March 88:16 87:29
marathon 3:09:59

Whilst the right hand column is optimistically labelled “2015 season target” I’m curious to discover if any of these ever need revising again; it may be that it could more accurately be labelled “lifetime target”. In any event, whether I can achieve these targets or not, I am hopeful that I have at least two or three more seasons where I’ll be able to improve my PBs in as broad a range of distances as I have in the last two. With an eye on 2016’s marathon I shall be doing everything I can to stay injury free next year and hope that this will enable me to run a similar number of events as I did in 2013. If this in turn results in PB achievements as extensive as either 2014 or 2013 I’ll be very satisfied indeed.

end of year summary 2014

I’m hopeful that I have at least two or three more seasons where I’ll be able to record PBs across a broad range of distances as I have in the last two years.

Here’s to a Happy New Running Year. And a good one in all aspects of life for that matter! 🙂

* I have agreed with myself to stop linking back to the posts I made at the time, but am making a final exception as I say farewell to 2014 and re-spraining my right ankle back in March.

Perivale 5, 2014

preparation
My practical preparation for today’s Perivale 5 mile was thorough. I checked my public transport connections (overground Clock House to London Bridge, Jubilee Line to Bond Street, Central Line to Perivale), checked the BBC weather forecast and chose clothing for a couple of possible weather scenarios, packed vaseline for my tender male chest parts in case the more apocalyptic of these scenarios transpired, selected my Oystercard, a credit card, a £20 note and £1 coin (for the lockers at Perivale Park Athletics Track), made sure my phone was charged for post race tweets and generally felt very pleased with myself. This last part being primarily, and almost uniquely for me I think, because I did all this the night before the race.

As I waited on the Jubilee Line platform at London Bridge for a tube to Bond Street I re-did some mental arithmetic and rehearsed my per kilometre pace plan – 3:54, 3:53, 3:52, 3:51 and 3:50 for the remaining 4.05 kilometres – giving a projected time of 31:02. I hoped that with a fast finish I could dip under 31 minutes. Satisfied with this and for no apparent reason it then came to my mind that I hadn’t actually packed my running shorts.

note to self - just knowing what shorts are isn't enough

note to self: just knowing what shorts are isn’t enough

Fortunately I was wearing running tights for warmth whilst travelling and of course decided to race in those. This aside my planning bore fruit and I arrived in good time and walked from Perivale station to the track deep in running conversation with two other entrants I’d met en route.

race
After a brief warm up over two and a bit laps of the track I adjusted my laces and race attire and lined up pretty near the front. The race starts on a closed road but this barely allows the field to be a dozen abreast at most and the strong, fast field combined with the need for everyone to move off the road onto the right hand pavement in time for the first corner onto an unclosed main road within 400 metres makes for a frenetic start. Unsurprisingly then I was swept along in the flood, despite being prepared for it by having raced the Perviale 5 twice before, and noted my pace at 3:40/km early on. I eased off as much as the running traffic allowed as we ran no more than two abreast down the pavement to the side of the main road. After this initial 600 metres or so the field had spread out enough to allow normal progress. I deliberately checked my speed and completed the first kilometre in 3:52. Wanting to get back as close to my planned pace I took the next kilometre relatively easy at 3:55 and tried to establish a comfortable rhythm. The comfortable part proved difficult.

Comparing my pace plan against the actual splits recorded by my Garmin it’s clear that I wasn’t able to maintain the pace required in the second half. During the race, as I reached the almost half way point, where there is a sharp 90 degree left followed by a slightly more forgiving right kink (fortunately only negotiated once in what is essentially a two lap course) I knew from how I was feeling that my sub 31:00 target was impossible today. Even before taking into account the slight over recording of distance typical with a GPS device which would mean I was already several seconds behind, I knew I couldn’t increase my pace further and maintain that level for the second half of the race. In this case the 8.05km recorded as 8.15km which means I was running about 3 seconds per kilometre slower than my FR620 displayed at the time.

planned pace displayed pace
k1 3:54 3:52
k2 3:53 3:55
k3 3:52 3:51
k4 3:51 3:54
k5 3:50 3:49
k6 3:50 3:57
k7 3:50 3:56
k8 3:50 3:45
final 0.05km 3:50 (equates to ~11 seconds) 3:01 (recorded as 0.15km and hence equates to ~27 seconds)

To be more generous I was pretty close to being on plan, at least in terms of displayed pace, until k6 and k7 where I slowed most significantly. And ultimately I did record an 8 second PB, even if that was short of the target I’d set.

Reflecting on this and my previous two races (Brighton 10k and Bournemouth 10k) there is apparently a pattern here; in all three I slowed significantly in the later part of the race notwithstanding that I was still able to finish quickly. Whether this is mental, physical or both it is certainly something I need to address.

race data summary

finish time 31:28
HR splits 150, 155, 158, 159, 160, 159, 160, 161, 165 (final recorded 0.15km segment)
biometric summary average HR – 158
max HR – 166 (estimated personal maximum – 172)
average cadence – 187
approx start weight – 67.2kg
positions overall – 49 out of 316
gender – 46 out of 183
category VM40-49 – 13 out of 55

Today was also of course day 7 of the Advent running challenge …

Advent running summary

total consecutive days 7
(3 less than 30 minutes)
total distance 46.2 km
total time 3:34:17
average distance per day 6.6 km
average time per day 30 minutes 37 seconds

Pause for thought – Advent running, day 2

I’m not going to say I regret joining @adventrunning‘s #adventrunning challenge already, but very soon after I published yesterday’s post, and thereby committed myself to run on each of the first 25 days of December, I paused for thought.

pause

And my thought was, “Hmm … So today’s run was supposed to be the last hard workout before tapering for next Sunday’s 5 mile race. I’m currently running 5 days a week. How is running every day going to fit in with that exactly?”

It is also the case that when I’m running free from injury I enjoy my running so much that I often find tapering a challenge. When training is going well and I’m feeling fast and light, running less is the last thing I want to do. So committing to run for 25 consecutive days from yesterday was pretty much precisely what I didn’t need to do.

day 2, 33 minutes running
I treated myself to a gently paced recovery run after yesterday’s hard tempo effort.

6:47am 6.3k recovery run @ 5:10/km
average cadence 171, average HR 121, max HR 136