In less than a month I’ll be celebrating one whole year as a runner, and I imagine that this momentous anniversary (hopefully the first of many) will be accompanied by a blog post in which I reflect on what I’ve achieved in this first year. Well, a blog and some gin. It is a celebration after all.
But in the meantime I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve achieved in the last six months, having stumbled across a post from April in which I’d set myself a few goals, many of which seemed practically unattainable at the time.
Without further ado, let’s have a look at them…
1. Run 5k in 30 minutes
Done. I nailed my first sub-30 5k on my first parkrun after what seemed like a lifetime of chasing it, to the point where it was verging on becoming a bit of an obsession that gnawed away at me on every run (again, a callback to a previous post, this time the delicately titled “F*** you, whale!”)
Since then my 5k time has steadily improved, and my PB now stands at 27:58. That said, many of my 5ks come in at over 30 minutes if I’m not pushing myself, but I’m in a happier place now and it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
2. Average pace of 10 mins/mile
Done., but it depends on what sort of distance I’m doing . Anywhere up to 5 miles and I can generally maintain that pace, but above that I tend to slow down a bit although, again, I’m not too fussed by that. Now that I’ve slain the dragon of Goal 1 I’m just enjoying getting the pavement under my feet, and a nice pace is a pleasant bonus. I did manage a sub-60 10k back in July in which every mile split was under 10 minutes, but so far that’s been a one-off.
3. Don’t get confused by Goal number 2 and aim for a pace of 10 miles/minute
That’s just silly. Obviously I took this blogging lark much less seriously then. Honestly!
4. Five miles without slowing to a walk
Done. In fact I think I’m up to around 7 miles without walking. Of course it’s all relative. To some, my all-out sprint pace would be a gentle stroll. Okay, to most. But these days I’m enjoying pushing the mileage up and on my weekly long runs I don’t see anything wrong with having a minute or two of walking if it means I’ll get back enough energy to squeeze out another mile or two.
5. Enter my first race
Done. Since setting these goals I’ve dragged myself out of bed on several Saturday mornings and took part in the Bedford Parkrun when most sensible people would be sitting in bed with a mug of tea and a copy of Practical Trepanning Weekly. I’ve also got my first bit of bling when I came 270th out of 326.
The end of this month will see me enter my first Half Marathon, where I will no doubt come to the conclusion that 13.1 miles should be left to long-legged athletes and people with cars. Then next March, because I’m not the sort of person to learn my lesson, I’ll be running in the Silverstone Half Marathon. The 2011 race had over 6000 entrants, and based on my current performance I’d have come somewhere in the mid-5000s.
Keep this under your hat, but I think I might win.
6. Get into the habit of stretching after every run, not just on the odd occasion that I remember
Done. It’s only a very basic series of static stretches on the calves, hamstrings and quads, but I make sure I spend a few minutes going through them after every single run. So well done me. I’ve also started using a foam roller a few times a week. It really hurts, so it must be good.
My next step is to get into the habit of warming up properly, and the plan is to start doing five minutes of dynamic mobility work before every run. “Dynamic” is a great word. You can put it in front of any other word and make it sound 1000% more wonderful. It’s like “tactical” or “chocolate”.
7. Phase in a healthier diet
8. Be featured in Heat or Cosmopolitan magazine with a big photo of me holding a car tyre in each hand and looking a bit oily and brooding
Who knows if I’ve achieved this one. I haven’t been buying those magazines to check, but cameras are everywhere these days.
9. Keep running and keep enjoying it
Done and done!
So, six out of nine – I’m happy with that. So now it looks like I need to set a whole new load of goals to keep me occupied. Feel free to make some suggestions on the comments thingy below. Nothing involving my PIN number or a tattoo of the Queen Mother though.
I’m not likely to get fooled again by THAT anytime soon.