Tag Archives: track

The Strava Mile – London

A month or so ago I received an email from James Poole (Advent Running co-founder & Adidas Running Captain) inviting me to an event he was collaborating with Strava on – the Strava Mile. I’m good friends with JP, use Strava and really enjoy mile races, I was in!

Before I knew it race day arrived. After a big weekend of mileage at Endure 24 and a tough 10 x 1k track session on Tuesday night my legs were feeling a bit sorry for themselves. I opted to run the 4k or so from work to Mile End track to try and loosen the legs up. Struggling to hold a few 4 minute kilometres I wasn’t expecting to be breaking any records on #MyMile.

I was greeted at the track by Claire, Bill and Johnny from Iffley Road. They were supporting the event and providing tees to runners. As I’m a Team Iffley ambassador Claire gave me some of their lovely Thompson shorts in a new blue colourway to race in.

The event was a lot of fun; it was great to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen in a while due to training predominantly on my own for the last few months. As the start time of 7pm neared James hit the mic to let us know the schedule, there was to be 4 mile races: Sub 9, 8, 7 & 6 and below. With my legs beaten up I was glad the final mile was sub 6 and not 5. I thought I would be left suffering at the back in a sub 5 race. It was great to watch friends flying round the track, many of them achieving personal bests. For some it was their first mile race, I suppose there aren’t that many around so it’s great for events like this to be organised.

I ran a few strides to try and get the legs ready for action. There was a large group in the sub 6 race. I positioned myself near the front but decided I would try and crank the pace up in the final two laps if the legs would allow me. With my mile PB at 4:44 I knew I wouldn’t be able to get near that but thought 5 would be a good target. In hindsight I should’ve tried to get the inside lane like James Brewster (pro!) or started a bit further up as I was forced to take a wider lane on a couple of occasions costing valuable seconds. I got into my stride and was on the right pace for sub 5, 3:06min/km.

It was great to have people to chase down, surprisingly my legs felt good after completing the first lap and going under the Strava gantry to cheers from friends.

Going through halfway I was still on pace and another sub 5 was within reach, I started to pick it up to try and bank a few more seconds and make sure I would achieve the time.

The last few laps went by in a blur; I gained ground on some of the runners in front and crossed the line in 4:55.

https://www.strava.com/activities/1036670638/overview

I was really happy and surprised with the result. It always makes me wonder what time I could achieve if I trained and tapered specifically for a mile race.

After everyone had run their miles we grabbed some tacos and beer. The event was a lot of fun, thank you James, Strava, Iffley Road, Eddie (Camden Town Brewery) etc for putting it on. I really hope there will be many more events like this in the future.

I hope everyone else that was there had as much fun as I did. See a lot of you soon.

Steve

Night of the 10,000m PBs 2017

On Saturday the 20th of May I headed up to Parliament Hill Athletics track to take part in Night of the 10,000m PBs. In 2015 and 2016 The Running Works retailed at the event so over the last couple of years I have seen how the event has developed and grown. The atmosphere was electric, I wanted to take part and experience the race from lane 1. Last year I ran 34:50 in the Orion Harriers Fast Friday 10,000m at Walthamstow Track allowing me to register for the Highgate 10k. I was initially put on the waitlist as the standard had risen but in the week or so leading up to the races I found out there was space for me. On seeing the start lists I realized I was the slowest, by quite a margin, in the E race. I knew this meant I would be left behind and lapped but I was still really excited to take part, spend the rest of the day cheering on friends in other races and watch the World Championship qualifiers.

I arrived at the track in plenty of time to register, pick up a race day programme from Left Spike Fanzine and sort my race kit. 

#fuelledbyscience

Having tested the Science in Sport Go Caffeine shots on Thursday morning before a track session with Hannah Walker I opted to take one at 2:45pm (30 minutes before the start of the race as recommended). It definitely perked me up; I was feeling ready to race and hoped that my legs would loosen up after a few laps. On the start line I had a quick catch up with my friend Dom, chatted to some of the other racers about goal times and then we were led to the start line. Knowing the majority of the guys in the race were aiming for 31-32 minutes I positioned myself at the back as I didn’t want to get caught up, go out too fast and blow up as there is nowhere to hide on track. I stuck to my plan of starting at around PB pace (3:30min/km). The first few laps passed and I was on pace, however it was feeling tough as my legs were heavy and I was already a good few hundred metres behind the rest of the group. I was immediately thinking “Ah man, I probably shouldn’t have pushed it at track on Tuesday or done so many kilometre reps on Thursday morning.” On the other hand I was thinking “Ease up a little and get it done, it’s good training to try and push the pace on tired legs and it’s been a good week mileage wise in training for OCC.”

Photo courtesy of @jamesbrewster 

My race “Afternoon of the 10,000m sufferfest” had begun, luckily though I was ticking off the laps quickly (mentally) thanks to friends and supporters shouting “Go on Skinner!!” every hundred metres or so. It was frustrating not to have any speed in the legs as I was breathing so easily, if someone was running alongside (unfortunately not the case) I could’ve had a nice good chat with them. I was lapped a few times which was demoralising but at the end of the day I couldn’t be too disheartened as I had put myself in that position, the pain was self-inflicted. Every kilometre was becoming slower and slower, I had gone from 3:28min/km to 3:49min/km throughout the race, there were so many times when I thought “I could walk off the side of the track and not many people would notice” but on the other hand I was thinking I would be letting Ben Pochee and the people supporting me down. I finally crossed the line in 36:21, a minute and a half slower than my PB. It was a humbling experience and I learnt if I want to race or do a decent time I definitely need to taper.

Photo courtesy of Steve O’Sullivan Sports Photography 

After finishing the race I walked past two guys lying on the floor exhausted. I felt guilty that maybe I hadn’t put in as much effort as them but once a PB was out of my reach self-preservation was my main priority. I did a quick cool down with Dom, he too struggled on the day but we both know why and what we need to do. I then met up with the Advent Running crew trackside; the first thing I said to them was “don’t ever do 10,000m on track”. The second thing I said was “there’s a 5,000m/10,000m event at Walthamstow Track in a couple of weeks” ha. I grabbed some pizza and we got a good position to watch the rest of the races unfold. In the men’s C race Ben Johnson (Run-Fast) had a great run beating his PB by 15 seconds or so. He’s in great form at the moment having finished the London Marathon in 2:21 earning an England vest in the Toronto Marathon later this year. It’s great to run at track on Tuesdays with the likes of him and Pete Huck (sub 30 minute 10k runner) and see what it takes to get to that level.

I felt relieved to have finished my race; I could relax and enjoy watching the rest of the races with Lorna and friends.

 I was looking forward to seeing who would win out of Dewie Griffiths, Andy Vernon and Ben Connor and the women’s start list was stellar. Andy Vernon opened up a large gap with 10 or so laps to go, the pace wasn’t quick enough to go sub 27:45 (World Champs qualifying time) as it was a little windy, but Andy finished first in 28:16.

 In the women’s race the favourites were Steph Twell, Jo Pavey, Beth Potter, Katrina Wootton and last year’s winner Jessica Martin.

 In the end Beth Potter ran away from Steph Well to win in 32:04. Steph finished just one second outside of the 32:15 qualifying time for the World Champs in August and Katrina Wootton took third after a good battle with Jo Pavey.

 The atmosphere was awesome for the A races, it makes me want to get quicker so I can one day take part in one of the later races.

For a more in depth recap of the day read this great article by sixth counter: http://www.sixthcounter.com/from-highgate-to-stratford

Overall it was an awesome day of running to take part in and observe, I can’t wait for next year already. Thanks to everyone that cheered me on in my race.

I am racing in the Westminster Mile on Sunday so if you’re going to be there give me a shout.

See a lot of you soon

Steve

The Soar Indoor Mile/Winter Warmer

On Wednesday the 1st of February I decided to take part in the Soar Indoor Mile at Lee Valley Athletics Track. I heard about the event a few months back and wanted to get involved, I was in two minds whether to opt for the mile race or do one of the 3,000m races. I decided not to sign up in advance due to being in marathon training, I wasn’t sure if my legs would be up to a fast mile or 3k the day after a big track session. I made the decision to race after doing The Running Works club run at lunchtime as my legs felt “ok”.

Having raced over the mile distance on a couple of occasions I’ve learnt about the pain and heavy breathing that comes with the occasion, despite the tired legs I still thought it would be “fun” to see what I was capable of. Plus I’d never had the opportunity to run a mile on a 200m indoor track and I wanted to see how it would compare to doing a road mile. I got the train from Liverpool Street Station to Ponders End to make it in time to watch the BMC 800m races. Once off the train I bumped into Martin White and Lydia O’Donoghue and we had a good catch up whilst walking to the athletics centre. We spoke about training, races coming up (Lydia is running Tokyo in a couple of weeks) and whether we were looking forward to the mile and what times we were expecting.

At the City of London Mile last year I had a solid run and clocked 4:43. Factoring in Track Tuesday I decided I’d aim for 5 minutes and see how it goes, if I had to ease up then so be it. Having arrived at the track I caught up with Andy Cohen-Wray (Athlete in Mind), Alex Van Oostrum (Freestak), Marcus (The Marathon Marcus) and Douglas Cameron (Southwark parkrun) whilst watching the BMC 800s, 3k races and some of the mile races unfold. 

With money on the table, the standard was high. The women’s and men’s A races were just before the men’s B and C races. The winning times were 4:05 by Dale King-Clutterbuck and 4:50 by Faye Fullerton. As well as their great performances two age-group mile world records were broken; Anthony Whiteman ran 4:12:94 to beat the V45 record and Lucy Elliott crossed the line in 5:03:60 to break the V50 mile record. In the 3,000m races the winners were John Sanderson and Tamara Armoush in 8:22:81 and 9:34:10 respectively. It was really inspiring to see these athletes tearing it round the track putting in cracking performances.
As race start time was nearing I headed up to the warm up area to do a few strides. My legs were feeling tired just putting in a few hundred metres of effort and so I knew the race was going to be hard. With 10 minutes or so to go we were summoned to the call area so the organisers could check who was present and line us up in number order. 

Having signed up on the night I was given the number 147 (maximum break!) and this meant I was to start in one of the outside lanes, ideally I’d have been on the inside lane. We lined up and before we knew it we were off.

 Photo courtesy of AVO (@alexvanoostrum)

I sprinted off the start line to take to the inside lane before the bend, it was myself and Douglas setting the pace for the first lap or two. I went through the first 200m in 37 seconds; on pace for a 5 minute mile (Andy and I had discussed the pace required). 400m down in 75 seconds and my legs were feeling ok, a quarter of the race was completed and they went by pretty quickly. After the first couple of laps I went passed Douglas and tried to hold sub 5 pace. This was when it got harder, I was racing the clock.

The laps were going by really quickly yet I still had time to think, I remember thinking “try to keep tight on in the inside lane especially around the bends and off the corners push on using the cambers to pick up speed.” I was still on pace after lap 6 but I could feel my legs tightening and I wasn’t able to stride out as well as over the first 400m or so. With 400m left I had 75 seconds to go sub 5 with 200m 35 seconds. I tried to up my pace over the last lap but struggled over the final 100m. My legs wouldn’t cooperate so I had to settle for crossing the line in 5:02.

 

Immediately I was disappointed not to go sub 5 again but I was pretty pleased taking into account the big track session on Tuesday and having done the Southern XC champs on Saturday followed by a 26k run on Sunday. Excuses excuses I know! 

Overall I enjoyed the race, it was really well organised and it was great to catch up with a lot of friends I hadn’t seen in a little while. I would definitely recommend keeping an eye on Soar running and signing up to their next event, even if you aren’t in PB shape a mile or 3k can act as a great speed session and give you a good indicator of where you are fitness wise. Over the next few weeks I’ll be focussing more on mileage as I prepare for the Boston Marathon, I’m really looking forward to banking some steady long runs.

See a lot of you soon

Steve

The Christmas 5ks 

On Saturday the 10th of December I took part in the Christmas 5ks at Battersea Athletics Track. The event was organised by the Clapham Chasers. Since the Fast Friday 10k track race I took part in early this year I have been on the look out for more track events. I’d mentioned this to Sam Cornforth (runs at track on a Tuesday night and works at Runners Need) and a week or so ago he let me know about The Christmas 5ks. I didn’t sign up straight away just in case other races/events popped up (I get pretty bad FOMO!) but as the day neared the calendar was still free so I registered. 

It had been a little while since I’d raced the 5k distance (apart from the odd parkrun) so I was looking forward to pushing the pace and seeing what time I could manage. Having only just got over the lurgy/a cold I wasn’t too sure how I would feel trying to run quickly so I calculated what paces I’d need to run for various times. The times I had in mind were:

a) 16:30 – 3:18 min/km

b) 17:00 – 3:24 min/km

c) 17:30 – 3:30

As I had been taking part in Advent Running my legs felt quite tight in the week before the race. I think this is mainly because I took part in a shorter track session (including drills) on Monday. Taking this in to consideration I thought I would probably be capable of between 17-17:30 but if they did loosen up and feel good I would try to get as close as possible to my 16:31 PB. 

I ran 4K to the track to warm up and got there in plenty of time to pick up my race number and watch some of the other races. 

I chatted with a couple of other runners and bumped into Joe Spraggins (Clapham Chaser, we met at the Olympic Park Mo Santa thingy last year). We had a good catch up, discussed our goal times for the race and jogged a couple of laps. 

I headed to the start area and did a couple of strides just before the 11 o’clock start. The event was really well organised, there was a special area coned off for us to warm up in. We were all called to the start line where we discussed what our goal times were and what paces we’d have to run. The pacer in our race was for 17 minutes. Initially I was thinking to aim for 17:30 and then up it if I felt good but due to there being a pacer I decided on the start line to follow him and see if could hold on. 

After waiting for the last two runners to join us we were sent on our way. Straight from the off there was a group of four or five of us tucked in behind the pacer. I positioned myself at the back of the pack initially as I didn’t want to have to take a wide line and clock more distance than required. It took a couple of laps for me to find my stride but the legs soon loosened up and I was feeling comfortable running around 3:25min/km pace. I was focussing on keeping close behind the pacer, as the group thinned out a little I passed one or two runners to make this easier. 

At the halfway point the group had shrunk. One of the runners dropped out and two or three others had eased up. There was three of us still on the tail of the pacer, sub 17 minutes was still in our sights. The laps went by really quickly, I guess only having the Fast Friday 10k to compare to it would feel quick. The legs were starting to tighten but there was only a few more laps to go. With 2k left I picked up the pace a little to get alongside and eventually pass the other two sub 17 hopefuls. Before I knew it we were into the last kilometre, I surged again. Due to some decent pacing I had some energy for a sprint finish to cross the line ahead of the other two runners in 16:49. Mission accomplished. 

Here are the stats/splits:

I really enjoyed the race, it was just what I needed to assure myself I still have some speed in the legs despite small mileage over the last few months. Racing with quicker runners is always great too, I feel as though I have picked up some much needed motivation. I will definitely try to race over 5k and 10k more in the new year. 

Joe crossed the line sub 17:30 which was bang on his plan. Well done mate, cracking run! He is going to be training for two Ironman triathlons next year, good luck with that. After my effort I watched the final race with Calum, Scott & Ben (Run Fast cheer crew). This race included a fellow Run Fast member, Davide. 

He ran well and finish in 16:30ish in what is only his third proper race back from injury. Well done mate! 

I hope those of you that have/are racing or training this weekend run well and enjoy it. 

See a lot of you soon

Steve 

LBH No bridges relay, Fast Friday & Harry Hawkes 10

On Wednesday the 22nd of June I took part in the LBH relays. Normally the route is along the river near Westminster bridge but due to roadworks and the referendum the race had to be moved to near the O2. I ran in the LBH Bridges Relay last year and really enjoyed it. It was a 2.3 mile lap including having to cross a couple of bridges and go round a few sharp corners. Our team, including the super quick duo of Pete Huck and Kip, managed to win by a pretty big margin. 
This year we sorted a team in short notice. In my team was Ben Johnson, Luca Guarnieri and Pete Huck. As we were walking to the start area you could tell we weren’t exactly pumped up for it. We had all taken part in the track session on Tuesday night and because Luca didn’t know we were running until the afternoon he had already ran 20k that day. Not ideal race prep. However it was good to turn up and represent Run-Fast, we supply the race bibs for the event. 

I ran the first leg for our team. Similarly to last year I was about a minute off the lead when I handed over to Luca. Due to running the City of London Mile a few days before and the track session I was happy with posting a time of 12:07 for 2.3 miles. Considering having 20k in his legs Luca ran a solid leg and then Ben and Pete sped round the course. Pete clocked the quicker slap of the evening in eleven minutes. We had managed to finish top 10 which was a good effort, some of the teams there were pretty quick.  

 Wanting to take part in Night of the 10,000 PBs next year I decided it would be good to get a track race under my belt. My colleague Mary let me know about Fast Friday that Orion Harriers put on so I decided to sign up. I opted to take part in the 10,000m race as I wanted to see what 25 laps of a track felt like. As my 10k PB on road was 34:58 I put down 35 minutes as my goal time knowing my legs wouldn’t be fresh post City of London Mile etc. 

After work I headed to Walthamstow track and arrived approximately an hour before the 8:15 start. I picked up my race number and caught up with Mary whilst watching the first couple of races. 

 Martin and Lydia who I know through the Running Works were racing so it was good to watch and cheer them on. I ran a couple of laps of the track to warm up but before I knew it the race was starting. My legs were feeling a bit tired from track and the LBH relays in the week but I was hoping they’d loosen up after a couple of laps.

Luckily for me they had to combine two of the 10k races due to the floodlights not working. I thought it would be better to be in a race with more people around. Another good thing was that there was a pacer on 35min pace for the first 9 laps. I went out a bit quicker than this but after a couple laps settled in behind the pacer. I held 3:30min/km for the majority of the race and the laps soon went. There were a couple of other runners around me and we took it in turns going in front. 

With a few laps to go my legs were still feeling good so I upped my pace to make sure I’d go sub 35 minutes. I finished in 34:50, I really enjoyed my first track race and can’t wait to do another one. Hopefully I can taper for my next track race and maybe post a time in the low 34 minutes if not quicker. After my race I watched the 5,000m A race. Adam Kirk-Smith who used to live with Mary and runs at track smashed it running sub 15 minutes. It’s great doing events like this and watching and running with people quicker than you. It makes me want to train harder and get to that level.

To finish my week of racing I took part in the Harry Hawkes 10 miler on the Sunday. Having ran the race with my girlfriend Lorna in 2015 I knew it was a good fun event to do. Lorna was running it again but was using it as more of a training run having done a long run the day before. I had rested post Fast Friday and so was hoping for a 10 mile PB (having not raced many 10 milers before).

My primary aim was to run sub 60 minutes. Having run half marathons at quicker than that pace I thought it would be doable but I didn’t know how tired my legs would be. Off the start I was close to my half marathon pace but after a couple of miles I realised my legs were pretty tired.  

I had to ease off but managed to finish in a time of 59 minutes. I really enjoy the Harry Hawkes 10 route along the river. As long as it fits in the race calendar I’ll always be back. 

Lorna ran really well finishing only a couple of minutes slower than last year. This was good considering we ran 71 minutes last year together, she had done a long run the day before and had to stop to tie her shoelaces.  

    
 Overall it was a busy 8 days but I’m happy with the results:

City of London Mile: 4:43 (PB)

LBH Bridges (No bridges) Relay: 12:07 (all important 2.3 mile PB)

Fast Friday: 34:50 (10,000m PB)

Harry Hawkes 10: 59:00 (10M PB)

See a lot of you soon

Steve

Old Deer Park Half Marathon 2016

It’s been nearly a month since I last wrote a blog post, mainly because I haven’t raced since the Trailscape Marathon in Ashurst on the 25th of January. Since then I’ve been running pretty high mileage weeks (for me) including long runs each weekend. I’ve also been going to track consistently and over the last few weeks James (co-founder of Advent Running) and I have done a few tempo runs on Thursdays. Overall I have felt like training has been going well. However, it is always hard to know what that training equates to in terms of race performances. Having done the Old Deer Park Half Marathon last year I decided to sign up again as it was a quick route and I thought it would be a good race to do to see what time I was capable of and build towards Cardiff Half and the London Marathon.
Another reason I signed up was that my girlfriend Lorna and a lot of friends would also be racing. We all pretty much had the same idea, some friends wanted to gauge fitness and others were gunning for PBs. Having not pushed it in a race recently I was really looking forward to getting out there and testing myself. After running 110k in the week leading up to the event I was unsure how much I could push and how my legs would feel but luckily they were good after a 10k shakeout run with Lorna on the Saturday.

I woke up at 6am on Sunday morning to head across London. I made it to Richmond in plenty of time and met Lorna, Jonny & Alan off the train. Everyone was feeling a little worse for wear. It seems like prime time for colds at the moment. We headed towards the race start and met up with Michalis in the car park opposite to drop bags and pin on race numbers etc, the usual pre-race stuff. We were all questioning ourselves as to why we run and why we don’t take up hobbies that can be done indoors in the warm. We even contemplated going for a little Sunday drive rather than running the half marathon! After a few made-up motivational quotes: “The quicker we run the quicker we’re done!” and “The wind is only as strong as it is in your mind!” we were all pumped up for the race.

We walked down to the start line where we met Dean who was just chilling. He seemed incredibly laid back considering we were about to race a half marathon. Near the start I also bumped into Spencer (part of the AR collective) and we had a quick catch up before the race began. Due to feeling good after the shakeout run on Saturday I looked up what pace I would need to run to do 1:20 or 1:17. It roughly works out to be 3:43min/km for 1:20, 3:38min/km for 1:17. Off the start line we were sent around a field, it was a little bit frustrating to just be running around through the long grass but luckily within a few hundred metres we were on solid ground and could settle into a good pace. After the lap around the field I was in fourth place just behind Jamal who runs at track with run fast. The two in front of us stormed off into the distance, I knew I wouldn’t be seeing either of them again in the race. I started running at close to 3:38min/km pace and decided I wanted to see if I could go close to 1:17 or beat my PB of 1:17:01 as I was feeling good. Considering the muddy and windy conditions I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to hold on to that pace but I knew I would get a good time even if I blew up a little and had to really suffer for the last few miles. It’s been a while since I’ve suffered in the latter part of a race and pushed it to that extent.

The first 10km or so went by pretty quickly because I was running with Jamal. However, after completing the first loop of the course he upped the pace and disappeared into the distance, I was still holding the pace around 3:38min/km but he was looking really strong and pushed on. With 10kms done I felt good knowing I just had to suffer for 11 more kilometres. I think going to track consistently and running around 3:30mins/km or quicker for the longer reps and doing 16k tempo runs at 4min/km with James has really helped. On the second loop I ended up passing a lot of runners on their first loop. This was good because for a lot of the first loop I was on my own and when you are pushing the pace it’s harder to be racing the clock rather than another runner. On the second loop I found the miles passed quicker, I think this was due to weaving passed runners and puddles along the river. However the last two kilometres of the race were hard. You turn right, back along the river, to head to the finish and I was on my own again. Thankfully it was just 2k to do and I started counting down the minutes, I kept telling myself “2k to go, that’s just over 7 minutes or so to suffer”. This is something that I have been doing when James and I have been doing our tempo runs; I find time is much easier to think about rather than distance. The minutes soon go by. I crossed the little bridge onto the grass, and was heading for the finish line. A few hundred metres to go and I could see the clock showed 1:15 something, this meant I’d run a PB. I finished in 1:16:10 knocking 51 seconds off my PB from Reading Half last year.  

Considering the windy and muddy conditions and not really tapering I’m chuffed with that result. Also considering I ran the same race last year in better conditions in 1:21 it bodes well for my A races coming up. 

 Massive well done to everyone else that took on the Old Deer Park Half, the conditions weren’t great out there but there were some great times posted. Also well done to everyone taking on races elsewhere like Hampton Court half, Wokingham half, the Run Through Olympic Park 5k/10k and Seville Marathon etc. I’ve seen so many awesome results posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Strava over the last few days.

I hope you had a good weekend whether you were racing or not. See a lot of you soon.

Steve

2016 races, goals and adventures 

It’s been a little while since I last blogged. The last few weeks of 2015 flew by due to running a lot motivated by Advent Running and celebrating Christmas & New Years with friends and family. Now we are well into 2016 and training for the big races in March and April. Last year was a great year, I managed to achieve some big goals and run consistently whilst mixing it up running on road, track and trails. I am really excited to see what I can do in 2016 because I am in the best shape I’ve been in going in to marathon training. Last year I got myself in PB shape from January 1st to April when I did the Brighton Marathon and therefore it will be interesting to see how much fitter and quicker I can get by going to track and doing big mileage in the next couple of months. Now that I have run sub 1:20 for a half and sub 3 for a marathon I need to set some new goals.

The second half of last year I ran and raced a lot but once I’d gone sub 3 at the Thames Meander Marathon I didn’t set any goals for other races. However, by running at track regularly and doing pretty decent mileage I managed to chip away at my 5k and 10k times. My current PBs are:

  1 mile: 5:02 (City of London Mile 2015)

  5k: 16:31 (Run Through Battersea Park 10k 2015)

  10k: 34:58 (Mo Santa Olympic Park 10k thingy 2015)

 Half Marathon: 1:17:01 (Reading Half 2015)

 Marathon: 2:54:56 (Thames Meander Marathon 2015)

 100k: 13:28:00 (Race to the Stones 2015)

I always find it hard to set new goals. When people have asked me what time I would like to run the London Marathon in I have been replying “I’m not sure!” The main reason I respond like this is because I am still relatively new to running on track. I’m not sure how much quicker I can get or how long it will take to get to a certain time. Once I’ve said “I’m not sure” the person asking always says “If you’ve done 2:54, surely you’ll be aiming for 2:45!?” I normally then reply “we’ll see!” Another reason I struggle to set goal times is that I don’t follow a training plan. I like to mix it up and keep it fun but generally my week will consist of track, a quick run, a fair few steady mid-distance runs and a long run. In the next few weeks I may add a parkrun or hill session on a Saturday but it’ll depend what races I’m close to as I have a fair few lined up. Below is a list of the races I’m signed up to and I’ve set a few goals for various distances:

Run Through Battersea Park 10k – 16/01/16 (Would be happy with anything around 36/37 minutes)

Trailscape South Marathon – 23/01/16 (No time in mind, probably high mileage week)

Old Deer Park Half Marathon – 21/02/16 (1:21 last year. I’d like to go sub 1:20 this year)

Essex 20 – 06/03/16 (Fair bit slower than marathon pace)

Cardiff World Half Marathon – 26/03/16 (Sub 1:15, may be a little ambitious)

Paris Marathon – 03/04/16 (Steady as recovering from Cardiff and gearing up for London)

London Marathon – 24/04/16 (2:45 – 2:50 ideally but depends how much Cardiff & Paris take out of me)

City of London Mile – ??/??/?? (Sub 5 minutes)

Zagori Marathon – 22-24/07/16 (Aim – to survive!)

I’m really looking forward to these races; it’s been a while since I’ve pushed myself and aimed for times. Once I’ve done a couple of races and track sessions this year my goal times will probably change a bit. As well as quite a few big races I have some adventures planned. I’m really looking forward to the Paris marathon as there is a big group of us going and it’ll be great to do some sightseeing (there’ll probably be a few drinks celebrating some of the group’s first marathons!) after the race. We also have trips to Germany and Greece planned, we’ll be doing some trail running in the Black Forest in June and in July I, Lorna, Michalis & Freya will be heading to Greece to take part in the North Face Zagori Marathon. Lorna and I are going to do the race and then spend a few days exploring Greece which will be really nice.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Years and that your training is going well. See a lot of you soon whether it be at track, running along the river, out on some trails or at a race. 

Steve