Another year in the books.
If nothing else a pattern is clearly emerging around the typical weekly mileage I can consistently sustain in my current routine.
2016 had a rocky start, being injured from the end of January until late May, with training only getting going in June.
I ran 17 races in the year. 8 on the road, 7 on the track, and 2 cross country outings to bookend the year (county champs in January and division 1 league race in December).
Onto the highlights. Two moments stand head and shoulders above the others.
I’ve blogged about these particular runs already and they can be found here and here. I won’t revisit them in this summary. Suffice to say these two runs turned an otherwise fairly humdrum running year into a truly memorable one. You should never say never but the fact is if I never improve those PB’s I will be quite happy.
I now have three PB’s that I can stick up on my running wall, point to and say, I have no unfinished business at those distances.
|Half Marathon||72:33 (2016)|
The clear omission is the marathon. 2017 may be the year I make some inroads on that one, but who knows. I learned a long time taking any expectations into a marathon is a risky business. Do the training, get to the start line in the best possible shape, put it all out there and hope the marathon gods are smiling on you. That’s why we love that damn distance right? Getting it right is one of the most difficult undertakings in our sport.
So what did I learn in 2016?
I learnt in no uncertain terms what works for me in race prep, which is, drum roll, races. In the 4 weeks before the 15:37 I ran no less than 5 races, a 10k, a 3k, and then 3 successive 5k’s on the track. It sharpened me up, and more importantly conditioned me to a level I’ve never experienced before. I could tell the subtle difference between a 3:07 kay and a 3:10 kay and my body learned how to run fast even after starting fast (which is the tricky bit of course). I remember lining up for the 15:37 supremely confident that a big one was on the cards. Anyway I’m rambling here which I said I wouldn’t do. Read the other blog post on it, it’s all in there.
Another interesting take away from 2016 was the continually-refined understanding of the cumulative effect of training.
I ran some of my fastest times this year and guess how many speed sessions I did? 9. And 6 of those were before mid-Feb (and the injury).
So from March to December I ran 3 speed sessions. The staple run of my training week for many years and I all but threw it away this year. And the effect? Virtually nothing. I didn’t lose any speed, I ran my fastest 5k and HM by some margin.
Speedwork is important, don’t misunderstand me. The point of this point is that the more you bag the training, and the longer you bag the training, the less you need to bag every single element of the training.
I look at Bernard Lagat as he approached his 40’s and still ran absolutely world class times (27min 10kays for Pete’s sake). He is famous for running 60 miles a week and 6 times a week. No double days and no mad mileage. But you can be sure when he was cutting his teeth in his early 20s and forging a path, he was running a lot more quantity and quality. He has built his engine and now he is maintaining it. I think there is truth to that.
But who knows, next year I might hit the trackwork again, run well, and be blogging from an entirely different perspective in 2017 summary…. That’s why we love it.
Thanks for reading and supporting. See y’all on the roads.
RIP Dad, love you always.