As with every amateur and professional sports person, a year cannot come to an end without thinking back and reviewing how things have gone. The most common questions people ask themselves are have i progressed, did i achieve my goals and what i am i going to do next aand i am no different.
So how did 2014 going for me……………
Well the big event was of course, the Wales marathon 2014, which i took on using the Advanced Marathoning up to 70 miles per week training plan. The marathon which claims to be run over the UKs toughest route, contained 12 hill climbs and 14 descents. So to prepare for it i introduced hills into pretty much every training run, the bigger teh better and took in several hill repeat sessions. I even sought out and found routes that would incorporate much tougher hills than those i would face in Wales to ensure that i was prepared as i could be. The result a huge PB of 3:12:46 down from a time of 3:31:33, achieved in Dublin, in 2013. So that was without doubt the high point, running wise of 2014 and a massive improvement.
Away from the beautiful distance of 26.2, i ran three half marathons breaking my distance PB twice and setting myself a new course PB at the Freckleton half marathon. I set a new 10K PB, recording my second ever sub40 10k time. I set a new 4 mile PB at time when i was not at my best and I set a new 5K PB but narrowly missed out on my target of sub19.
So there is no question about whether or not i have progressed, although i didn’t get that sub19 5k which was a secondary target, after a marathon PB, during 2014. This now rolls over into 2015. Away from getting faster, i am also training smarter i am doing a lot more speed and core work, two key components to improving and edging towards your potential in running. I have also varied my training run pace a lot more during 2014, which again is all part of training smarter, staying fresher and trying to avoid injury. This something i will continue to do in 2015, but with the additional extra of the tempo run, something until now i have shied away from and i really want include in my training.
The benefit of including tempo runs are that they help you build up leg muscle strength, increase your speed and your endurance. And if you want to know more about these, here are a couple of great links which look at tempo runs :
Mileage wise, 2014 was bar far my biggest year of running, covering a total of 2187 miles, the first time i have ever crossed the 2000 mile maker and accounting for 33% of all the mile I have ever run.
Looking ahead to 2015, obviously the big event this year will be the Greater Manchester Marathon. But rather than simply aiming for the time PB, as per all the marathons i have run to date. This time i am going for a Sub3 marathon, something that only around 3-4% of runners will ever achieve and to aid me in this challenge i am taking on Advanced Marathoning 70-85 miles per week training plan and as mentioned above adding in tempo runs. Training for this begin on December first and i will be posting updates as i go along.
Away from the Marathon, as mentioned previously i will be doing for a sub19 5k and i have also set myself the challenge of bringing my half marathon PB down from 1:25:58 to 1:22:??.
I also want to try and cover more of the Parkruns which are local to me. Something i made a great start on, thanks to my friend Lousea, after running two in one day on New Years day. The only of any year such a thing is possible. It was Pennington Flash parkrun at 9 am, then St Helens parrun at 10 am and with some nifty driving (thanks Lou) we just about made it on time to the latter of these.
If you are thinking about running either of these parkruns. Pennington Flash, is a bit of a trail run, involving three long laps and a 400 metre straight start and finish. St Helens parkrun, is set in a really nice park and involves three large laps and one smaller lap of it.
I got to train with Helen Clitheroe on not just one, but two occations, which as an amazing experience and a great learning oppertunity. I hope to try and arrange more sessions with her before the big day. And i got to meet the inspirational Ben Ashworth, who really is an amazing guy.
So it was another great year of running, lets hope 2015 beats it!!
In other news :