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2016 Year in review

So 2016 has come and gone. For me it was a roller coaster of a year. Some lows and some highs. In this post I will reflect on the years events. Things last year started with 3 races in as many days, with me still doing my Road Warrior Challenge for the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. I did the Cleethorpes NY Day 10k on the 1st, followed by No Walk in the Park 5k on the 2nd and then Hit the Trail on the 3rd. By the end of it, myself and the entire family was at breaking point and a few days later made the announcement to end the challenge early. Looking back I still feel it was the right call. It was still one of the hardest decisions to make.

I then had some down time, re-evaluated my goals and focused my energy on doing well at Dewsbury 10k at the start of Feb. Before that I got back to doing a few parkruns and dipping back under 18 minutes at Hallam parkrun before the end of January. . Then I was just 2s short of going under 36 mins at Dewsbury before setting a new parkrun PB first at York then at Stretford in March (this would remain my PB for the year). In between parkruns I smashed a long standing 9 mile PB at Norton and then had a stinker of a race at Dronfield the following week. Norton 9 would remain one of early year highlights, had it been 10 miles I would have smashed 60 minutes. At this point I had started racing back with the Steel City Striders but things never seemed like before and after just a few races, I decided it was time to go it alone, looking back sometimes it’s best not to re-visit the past.

By March my focus had switched to going under 80 minutes for the half marathon, with goal race to be the North Lincs HM in May. In April I re-visited the Cheshire 10k where I had set my previous 10k PB in November of 2015. Again on the day things seemed to click and I ran a personal best time of 35:14 (personally I still think it’s short) but it would be the only time I would go sub 36 and it’s a time that’s eluded me ever since. I began May with a poor showing at Kings Lynn GEAR 10k proving once again I don’t race well if I have to stay in a hotel. But that was soon forgotten as my half marathon approached.

Instead of doing the planned North Lincs HM I opted to do Chester HM as too many people was planning on using me to pace of and didn’t want the added pressure. I ran an unofficial 1o mile PB on my way to setting a new HM PB in 79:15. This would be my one and only half marathon of 2016!

I was now looking at doing an autumn marathon and had been given a place at the Yorkshire marathon via The Children’s Hospital Charity but from late May things kept going wrong. I had a stinker at the Great Manchester Run, after standing in pen for 2 hours due to TV cameras, then in June I did the Bury Race the Train and ended up at mile 7 breaking my rib!!! this basically KO’d the rest of June and most of July. By the end of July I had hooked up with Ben Fish, as I asked him to help coach me for Yorkshire. He still had the belief I could achieve my marathon goal. I did two of my fav races at end of July and achieved a 17:30 5k SB. Then I went to Cyprus and despite having the best holiday every, it was too hot to get the miles in required. By mid August I had yet to do any serious long runs and I did a 5k a few days after arriving back in UK. I was on for the win till I took a turn and struggled home in 4th. I ended up out for another week with a serious bladder infection. It was at this point I decided to KO my marathon dreams.

I also parted ways with Ben, he was fab with me, extremely patient but the link up just happened at the wrong time. After having two more bad races at Long Eaton and Tad 10, I asked for advise and after getting some home truths. I realised I had been on a plateau and over doing it in my training resulting in poor races results. It also was at this point I had finally joined my local running club Penistone. The wise head of John Broom and others helped me get me back on the right path and by the end of September things started to improve. First with a PB at the mile, then a few days later a 3000m debut and PB. I set a course PB at Cusworth at the start of October and followed that up with a 4th place and one of my best times at Burringham 10k.

I set a new 5 mile PB at the Fairclough 5 and another 4th place but then my highlight of the year was winning the Holmfirth 10k. All this was geared up to do the Leeds Abbey Dash but come race morning I had to pull out due to a chest issue. Instead a week later I broke my long standing 5k PB with a 17:12 at Catforth. My good run of form continued throughout November with a new PB at 3000m in my first ever indoor race. Then in December I finally broke 60 minutes at 10 miles and this was followed by a new 5 mile PB and victory at the Sneyd Striders 5 mile race.

Again I had lined up a 10k race on the 27th of December but ended up missing it and instead went and did my first parkrun in months, finishing 4th in 17:09 at the Stretford parkrun.

Looking back it was a hell of a year. I set a goal at that start to break all my PB’s from a mile up to half marathon and achieved them all.

  • mile went from 5:09.77 to 5:08.50
  • 5k went from 17:20 t0 17:12
  • parkrun went from 18:04 to 17:06
  • 5 mile from 29:25 to 28:37
  • 10k from 36:18 to 35:14
  • 10 mile from 60:07 to 59:30
  • HM from 81:12 to 79:15

Plus I added a new 3000m PB and managed to also beat it. For me the main highlights of 2016 was as follows:

  • Wins at Holmfirth and Sneyd
  • PB’s at Guys 10, Chester HM and Cheshire 10k
  • Joining Penistone

But to enjoy the highs you’ve to experience the lows and for 2016 did have some serious lows:

  • Breaking my ribs
  • UTI putting me on the shelf
  • Failing to do a marathon
  • Ending my challenge early

Stats wise it has been my highest ever mileage year with over 2,600 miles covered in 2016. My body has adapted well to 6 days a week and double day training and for first time ever I’ve even started to enjoy my long runs. Here is my veloviewer infographic of 2016:

Overall 2016 was a good year but I think 2017 could be my best yet. I’m in the best place I’ve ever been in at a start of a new year. I’m training smarter then I’ve ever done before and I feel I’m on the verge of another jump in terms of times. For me though besides aiming to achieve new PB’s across the board is to finally get back under 36 for 10k and then push on and achieve my long standing goal of running a 34:XX 10k time. If I can do that this year then I will be a very happy person indeed.


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