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Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Review of my running year 2010

All my running has revolved entirely around parkrun this year.

I first heard about parkrun in late February, however due to other weekend commitments, I wasn't able to make my debut until mid April. That first run was a fairly tentative effort, finishing in 17th place with a time of 20:18. But the main thing was that I loved it and I had caught the parkrun bug!

I have run about 70% of the weekend parkruns since, only missing a couple through injury, one when volunteering and the rest due to being away. One thing is for sure, I really long for parkrun when I have to miss an event.

My second parkrun saw a massive 60 seconds improvement. Since that run, the pattern has tended to be a couple of weeks getting close to my PB and then beating it again. Over the rest of my parkruns since that second run I have only managed to knock a further 64 seconds off my PB, resulting in my current PB of 18:14.

In total I have managed 8 parkrun PBs this year from my 22 runs, but none since 23rd October. I would have had a good go at my PB over the last few weeks had it not been for the snow and ice lying on the course.

In mid September I heard about the freedom run concept. A freedom run is basically a parkrun on the parkrun course but at your own convenience and on a non-event day or at a different time. Since hearing about this I have averaged roughly 2 freedom runs a week, now having completed 24 in total. I wonder how many people have run and recorded this many freedom runs on the parkrun website. I wouldn't be at all surprised if I had recorded the most! I enjoy it that much!

The one big blip on my times for parkrun run this year was my 20:43 in mid-August. This was the week I learned a valuable lesson. Drinking heavily the night before a parkrun is not a good idea!

Position wise I have been gradually moving up the field over the course of the last few months. In my last 19 runs I have only finished outside the top 10 on 2 occasions, with one of those being due to an exceptionally fast race with a higher number of really decent runners compared to usual. My best position being second place on 3 occasions, including my last two runs, although there were only 63 and 85 participants at each of these last two parkrun events due to the wintry weather. My very last parkrun of the year was the Santa run in which I came second by roughly 2 inches. I was so close to winning for the first time, but at least I still have that target saved up for next year.

I did notice one strange occurrence in my times during the year. Two runs in a row I finished in what was then my PB time of 18:27. The first of these saw me finish in 2nd position, the second saw me placed 16th. This shows the week-on-week fluctuation in quality and quantity of runners at parkrun events.

The biggest thing that parkrun has done for me is that it has turned me into a regular runner. I have never really been one for going out running whatever the weather in the past, but I am now. Thank you parkrun!

I did take part in one other run this year that being the Coventry fun run. This took place in late June. I have run it a few times in the past with mixed results. My previous best finish had been a 20th place way back sometime around 2001. I had since dropped down to 50th place one time and on another occasion I was too far down the field to be placed. But this year was my best ever, finishing in 5th place and knocking a couple of minutes off my previous best time. This was very pleasing and was certainly as a result of all my efforts at (and training for) parkrun.

So that's my running review of 2010. I'll soon post about my aims for 2011.

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