Well actually three half… marathons, a 30km trail run, a 10-miler and a 10k.
I can’t quite believe it but tomorrow is December. 2015 is suddenly around the corner. Festive lights and decorations adorn the streets. We wore Christmas jumpers to work last week. And all the talk is of Christmas parties and holidays. So as is tradition at this time of year, it is only right to review the year, and what I’ve learned ahead of another year, and another year of challenges…
In January I set myself a number of running goals and last weekend, I ticked off two of them. I achieved a PB in the Norwich Half Marathon (taking a whole 2 seconds off my previous PB set at Richmond in March!) and at the same time I completed my sixth and final running challenge of the year.
The conditions last weekend were pretty nasty. Even Steve Gill (who we met taking part in his 31st of 52 half marathons in as many weeks, on behalf of the RNLI) said it was the wettest he had run all year! And my pre-race preparations hadn’t gone to plan… I had a cough and a cold in the few days running up to the event, so was feeling decidedly nervous. Especially having followed a 12 week training programme in an attempt to try to slip under the 1:50 mark. But, as I was to learn, training programmes don’t always go to plan.
So while I was pounding through the puddles in Norfolk last Sunday, I began to think about my greatest take-outs and learnings from my running this year. And, I think I can summarise them as follows:
- Set a plan, and then plan for the plan not to go to plan… Caitlin (founder of the BeaRCats) said this in a marathon motivational talk a couple of Sundays ago. Whatever plan you set, you can be sure something will crop up to disrupt it, whether it’s a holiday, a cough, or an injury.
- Listen to your body. If you are ill or injured, take it easy. It can be the most frustrating thing to sit still and not to don those running shoes, but in the long run, it will pay off.
- Run your own race. When training or discussing target race times, try not to compare yourself to others. Running is so relative, and we all have our different strengths and weaknesses.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. And plan your training accordingly. I know my weakness is speed, so I need to mix up my training a bit more – by doing more hills, speed training, and strength training.
- And most of all, have fun and don’t put too much pressure on yourself!
While I reflect on a year of great running, I think of all the new memories (and medals!) I have. Running is about staying fit (and sane), but it’s also about community, and my running year would not have been the same had it not been for my running buddies – Nicky and Sion, and the BeaRCat Running Club.
It has been such a source of support knowing that I’m surrounded by a group of like-minded people who are all as passionate about running as me… and as I enter 2015, and embark on the next challenge, in the form of the Paris Marathon, I do so in the knowledge that I have a great support network of running friends. And this makes me very excited about next year and the adventures to come.
Happy Running, Happy Christmas and all the best for 2015!