2011: A Running Year in Review

So that time is once more upon us. As the final hours of the year tick by, we tend to become obsessed with reviewing the year just gone by and making plans for the year to come. In running, it’s always a good idea to take a step back and consider where we are and what we’re going to do next, so today I’m looking back over 2011 and setting my goals for 2012.

This time last year, my goals were simple: run a marathon PB, take part in our club championship and see if I could improve my other race times. Despite encountering my fair share of hiccups and injuries along the way, I more or less achieved what I set out to achieve.

Let’s start with The Big One – marathon training! I knew that so long as I stayed healthy and avoided injury I could definitely improve on my marathon time this year. Additionally, I set myself the challenge of running 2 marathons a mere 5 weeks apart as part of a fundraising challenge for a local charity. Overall, training went well and I only missed one long run due to a problem with my quad muscles, so as I shuffled my way towards the start line of the London Marathon I was confident that I could run well. Regular readers of my blog will know that I found London to be an amazing experience, but was faced with the challenge of it being the 2nd hottest London Marathon on record! Despite this, I completed the race in a pleasing 4:35:28, taking about 25 minutes off my previous time. 5 weeks later I again lined up at the start of a marathon, this time in Edinburgh. Having already run well in London I felt relaxed, knowing I had nothing to lose: if I ran better, brilliant; if not, I would know I just wasn’t fully recovered yet. As it turned out, I did run better, and completed the race in a new PB time of 4:32:17 after battling against a horrendous headwind for the final 10K. As my challenge ended, not only did I have a new PB, but I also raised £800 for charity. Marathon goal: achieved!

Next up, the club championship and improving my times at other race distances. In 2010 I gained a club medal for taking part in 6 out of 9 championship races as well as running a marathon, so in 2011 I aimed to at least equal this achievement. As the year progressed I again managed 6 championship races (in addition to my marathons) with a planned 7th being missed due to an injury in the autumn. This means that I will again receive a club medal at our presentation dinner in February. Furthermore, I achieved new PB times at  5 mile, 10K and 10 mile distances. Rather irritatingly, the only distance at which I did not achieve a new PB was the half marathon, this having been my autumn target which was hampered by injury. Running goal: achieved!

So what’s in store for 2012? Well it wouldn’t be the new year without marathon training so I will once more be taking on the 26.2 mile monster, this year in Lochaber. I’m determined to break through the 4:30 barrier and move much closer to 4:20 so my training begins in earnest on Monday. I’ve also entered the Smokies ladies-only 10 mile race again in March. Last year this felt refreshingly short in the midst of long marathon training runs so I’m looking forward to this one. I’ll also be taking part in the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow in September to give me an autumn goal. In between, there are bound to be many other races and events that I enter. I also want to keep working on my pace and hopefully knock a few more seconds off my race times. Finally, I’ve got one running goal from 2011 to carry over: run a sub-2 hour half marathon. I’m not letting this one defeat me again so bring on 2012!!

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