When looking back, the human mind has a way of searching for negatives before it does the positives. Sitting here now, thinking back to my 2018 of running, the immediate memory that springs to mind is my shin injury that developed a few weeks out from the Stratford Half Marathon. The interruption in my training lead to a falling away towards the end of that race with the injury reappearing from around mile 10. Weeks passed before I could run again and it took several months before I returned to full training.

Looking beyond this though, 2018 was a good year. In terms of performances, despite the struggles towards the end of that race I still managed a PB, knocking 20 seconds off my previous best (still a PB!). In training for the same event, I also recorded PB’s in both the 5k and 10k distances. In terms of consistency, I posted my biggest year of running yet, with a total of 1,138.5 miles, almost 200 miles more than 2017. I finished the year with five consecutive 100 mile + months, culminating in my biggest month ever at 123 miles in December.

Most importantly though, I had my most enjoyable year of running yet. I spent three days ‘in the mountains’ (still not enough), took part in less races, enjoyed more parkruns (including my first volunteering role), found a pair of trainers that work for me and my style and, possibly most important of all, found a running partner who I have shared many enjoyable miles with.

So a great year then, and no need to dwell any further on that injury and the ensuing months. See below for my “Year in Sport” from Strava.

I’m looking forward to more of the same in 2019. I’m not one to make New year’s Resolutions, but I do set goals and targets. I find these more aspirational, as there’s something specific to aim for and your progress is measurable. Resolutions are generally about making immediate change, whereas goals are more progressive and therefore longer lasting.

With my current 5k and half marathon training plan, my immediate goals for the first quarter of 2019 is for performance success, namely achieving PB’s in the three distances that I race – 5k, 10k and half marathon. Putting numbers to those, I’d like sub-21, sub-44 and sub-1:40 respectively.

Moving on from that, I’d like to spend more days out doing trail runs. In 2018 I went to the Peak District, the Brecon Beacons and the Malvern Hills and all three were fantastic. I love being on the trails. It’s so quiet, the views are often stunning and it’s always a challenging workout. It’s been a while since I’ve ventured up Snowdon and I’m getting itchy for a seventh visit and there’s plenty of other places that I’ve yet to explore. It’s just a pity that they’re all so far away. There are positives and negatives to living in the Midlands.

Distance wise, this year I’d like to accomplish 1,300 miles in total. Whilst this isn’t that much of a jump on last year, I also have to be realistic given other commitments. I’d also like to complete my first 20-mile run. No plans for a marathon just yet, it’s just a distance that I’d like to complete, but will require building up to first.

The immediate goal though is a sub-21 5k. My training plan involves a half way point progress test this weekend, to be carried out at Coventry parkrun, and then the final attempt will hopefully take place on February 9, again other commitments pending.

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