Another month into 2023, and the year is looking good so far with strong training and great racing.
The theme for February is a pretty simple one: further and faster.
- I set a new post-injury record for weekly mileage
- I broke that record the very next week
- I set a new post-injury record for monthly mileage despite it being the shortest possible month
That's a lot of running, but (somewhat surprisingly), it came without any reduction in speed. In fact, my splits are the best I've ever had, and I'm routinely putting down workouts that would have seemed impossible just a few months ago.
While Strava segments aren't necessarily the best indicator of this, they can be indicative. And in one workout I achieved:
- My PB on the "Lap of Finsbury Park track" segment
- 4 of my 5 best times on that segment
Having decided to jump up to a faster group on track nights in January, I seem to be reaping the rewards and am now running with the group rather than holding on for dear life at the back.
Even better than good workouts are good races. And while I've yet to reach any of my 2023 goals, two PBs have already fallen:
My 5 mile PB fell at the Chingford League race early in the month. It was only my second time running the distance, so not a big deal in that regard, but there are some great signs that come from it:
- I broke it by a full minute - this was not a small PB
- That last 5 mile race came in the run-up to setting my marathon and half marathon PBs - if we combine this result with my increased mileage in training, I'm well set up to meet my goals
- I ran faster than my 10k PB pace. This doesn't necessarily translate to a 10k PB, of course, but it's a real confidence booster to be able to hold this kind of pace through 8k.
Really? you might be asking. Isn't a parkrun 5k?
Yes, it is. And yes, really.
My view is that if I broke my 5k PB in a parkrun, I wouldn't call it my 5k PB ... so the two are separate. And as Power of 10 seems to agree, I figure it's pretty much official that 5k PBs and parkrun PBs aren't the same thing.
So I went to Dulwich, raced a parkrun, and finished 14s faster than I ever had at a parkrun before.
Coming in 7s slower than my 5k PB, I'm left with a lot of confidence in my goal to break that 5k PB this year:
- It wasn't all-out, so I've probably got another 8s in my legs right now
- I did not run good tangents. There's a decent probability that I ran an extra 50m or more
The goal this year is to set new PBs. And while neither of the parkrun and 5 mile marks are on the list of PBs to break, these do set things off on the right foot. Right now I feel like I'm actually building fitness for the first time in over two years, and it's good to see numbers that seem to say the same thing.