Monday, 30 December 2013

2013 review

Coming to the end of 2013, I've looked back at every month to remind myself what I did and give myself some ideas about challenges for 2014.

January 2013
I took part in Janathon for the first time, a running challenge to exercise every day in January and blog about it. It was quite snowy in January, but I managed to exercise daily and I ran more than 100 miles in total.

February 2013
I ran Baldock Beast Half Marathon at the end of February. I trained hard and was hoping for a PB, but in the end my hips and knees weren't up to the pace and I had to slow down after 10 miles because I was in a lot of pain. I took some consolation from the fact I'd been quite badly injured at the end of 2012 and the race was the first proper test of my physio rehab. Plus I ran 1:51, which was a course record for me :)

March 2013
The week after Baldock Beast, I was up in Blackpool to race in the Stanley Park 10K (with my parents-in-law). I was hoping for a PB, but didn't count on how fatigued I'd be after the half the week before. I nearly passed out after 3K. Needless to say, I didn't PB, but I did run sub 50 minutes, which I was fairly happy with (although I discovered afterwards that the course was short-measured...).

April 2013
A poor month from a running point of view; I was unwell for a large part of it with a chest and sinus infection. A lesson learnt: don't train when you're unwell, it just makes everything worse.

May 2013
At the beginning of the month I raced in the Greenway Challenge, an off-road self-navigated half marathon around Letchworth. I'd been hoping for a PB after my disappointment at Baldock Beast, but my illness in April meant I was only just recovered in time. The weather was really hot, and in the end I decided to run to enjoy myself, and finished in a PW of 2 hours. More lessons learnt.
The day before, I'd run in a local 5K with my children, my son (age 7) finished in 38 minutes and my daughter (age 5) in just over 40 minutes. I'd had to carry her for about a mile, but still, that's pretty good for a 5-year-old!

June 2013
I took part in Juneathon, the warmer version of Janathon. I didn't have such high expectations this time round, no aims to run daily anyway, but I failed with 2 days to go when I injured my shin during an interval session at running club. What a noob.

July 2013
I ran 12 miles during the whole of July. My random leg injury (and lack of funds to pay for physio) meant I had to increase the cross-training and take up cycling and swimming. I quite enjoyed the cycling if I'm honest, although not enough to take it up seriously. Swimming was OK; it's never going to be something I look forward to, but I can do it to an adequate level. I signed up to an aquathlon (Freedom Tri's Duck N Dash, 400 m swim and 6 k run) and began to train for it at Letchworth Outdoor Pool with some friends.

August 2013
I finally got back to running, but I only managed about two runs a week because of the summer holidays. I took part in a training day with Freedom Tri for the Duck N Dash, which made me realise how rubbish I am at swimming! But it was valuable training experience.

September 2013
I took part in my first aquathlon, the Duck N Dash, and enjoyed it so much I might do it again in 2014, mainly so I can improve on my woeful transition time (about 2 minutes). Later in the month I ran the inaugural Baldock 10K, which was a training run for Standalone 10K. It was such a tough hilly route that I was completely put off ever running that route again! Which is a shame because the 10K was one lap of the Ashwell Half Marathon that I quite fancied doing. But a lesson learnt is a lesson learnt.

October 2013
This month began with Standalone 10K. Yet another PB attempt foiled by circumstances conspiring against me (a family event the day before meant I was tired and not fuelled properly). Nevertheless, I ran just over 50 minutes and learnt not to give up even when I think all is lost. A good lesson. (I discovered later that Standalone was my fastest 10K race in 2013.)
I decided to push on and put in some serious training for Stevenage Half Marathon the next month. Lots of focus on heart rate training and proper interval sessions. I ran over 100 miles in the month.
I also passed the 1-year anniversary of running my first marathon, which coincided with me signing up to run my second marathon (MK) in May 2014!

November 2013
I finally achieved a PB for the year, running an amazing 1:45 at Stevenage Half Marathon. My training plan paid off, which proved to me that having a plan and sticking to it is really important. I began to plan my training for MK Marathon, with my aim to reach 14 miles in training by the end of the year and continue with quality interval training. I also ran another 100 mile month.

December 2013
I ran in the festive First Saturday 5k wearing my Santa hat, and put in a lot of miles to round off the year with another 100 mile month, and 900 for the year.

Plans and challenges for next year:

January 2014
I'm aiming to complete Janathon again, and I've signed up to Jantastic, which is a longer term challenge (January to March). For January, my Jantastic challenge is to run 4 times a week. I'm also racing in the Folksworth 15, which is a new race event for me, and NHRR's First Saturday 5k.

February 2014
I'm taking part in Baldock Beast again, but as part of a long run for marathon training (17 miles). Perhaps a course record won't be on the cards this year, but it will be good to run the race for enjoyment. Another First Saturday 5K is planned too, with my aim to beat January's time. My February Jantastic challenge is to set a weekly long run target, which with marathon training will be fairly straightforward!

March 2014
Lots of long runs on the cards this month, but I hope to race NHRR First Saturday 5K and beat February's time. March's Jantastic challenge is to set a flat-out time target over a specific distance. Since the 4-week period for this challenge is after the First Saturday 5k, I'll have to either run the route on my own or do my first ParkRun

April 2014
This is marathon taper month (for my last marathon I "tapered" for 2 months due to injury!). I'll be focusing on shortish runs (<10 miles) that incorporate speedwork, and staying healthy. 

May 2014
I'm running MK marathon on May 5th, my main challenge for the year! I'm hoping to run near 4 hours. Afterwards, I plan to recover with short runs, easy bike rides, and swimming (when Letchworth Outdoor Pool opens).

June 2014
I hope to have recovered from MK Marathon so I can take part in the Herts Hobble, and I might do Juneathon again, with half an idea to train for a late summer half marathon (there is a rumour of another half marathon around Baldock in the summer).

July and August 2014
Summer holidays! I have no plans other than to run (maintain half marathon fitness), cycle, and swim when I can, and not be injured! If I decide to do the Duck N Dash again then I'll be training for that event, and in August I'll start to think about Stevenage Half Marathon and Standalone 10K training.

September 2014
Duck N Dash possibly, maybe Baldock 10K if the weather is good beforehand. And training for Standalone 10K.

October 2014
Running club's focus event, Standalone 10K, is at the beginning of October. And I'll be training for Stevenage Half Marathon.

November 2014
Never let it be said that I'm a creature of habit, but I'll be racing Stevenage Half Marathon.

December 2014
No plans to do anything except the First Saturday 5k and maintain my fitness.

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