So this is 2024. Let’s set some goals.

New year, same old me. But a new year needs some goals, doesn't it?

So let's look at how we did in 2023, and set some goals for 2024

2023 Goals: How did we do?

I started last year with three goals:

Goal 1: Qualify for the Chicago Marathon

This was the big goal, as it feeds into my multi-year goal of being a six-star finisher. (Which might turn into a seven-star goal! Let's go Sydney!) It also turned out to be achieved before we started, as Chicago ended up allowing qualifying times as far back as the beginning of 2022, which means that I had already qualified when I met the goal.

That said, I didn't know that my time from May 2022 would count when I toed the line at the Yorkshire Marathon this year, so my sub-3:20 marathon target (which was actually a race C-goal) was achieved, no matter how you slice it.

Chicago 2024, I'm coming for you!

Goal 2: PB across 5k, 10k, Half and Full Marathon Distances

Not only was this achieved ... we went better than this, and we have new PBs at everything:

  • 800m: 2:27 at Harrow Vet's League
  • 1500m: 5:04 at Lee Valley Vet's League
  • Mile: 5:29 at the Golden Stag Mile
  • 5000m (track): 18:33 at Finsbury 5000s
  • 5k (road): 18:34 at Hyde Park
  • Parkrun: 19:05 at Dulwich
  • 5 mile: 30:55 at Victoria Park
  • 10k: 38:32 at Battersea Park
  • Half Marathon: 84:32 at Cardiff
  • Marathon: 3:02 at York

This is insane. That is not only every distance I've raced this year. It's every distance I've ever raced. I technically have a 1 mile road race PB that's not in there, but that's from a family race I ran with my (then) 7-year-old daughter.

I'm so proud of this, and it will surely never happen again.

Goal 3: Run a track race

Ran more than one! I competed in four track meets, setting a PB at each.

2024 Goals, what are they?

So what are my goals for 2024? Where do I go from this 2023?

  1. Collect star number 5 on the six-star journey. My multi-year goal is to get my Abbott World Marathon Major six star medal, and I'll be in Chicago for number five in October. Due to the timing of the race, Chicago is probably the hardest for me to do, and I won't simply be able to go in 2025 instead - got to get there healthy and ready to run.
  2. The sub-3 marathon. This has been a stretch goal for a while, but now it's realistic. I've run a 3:02 marathon and an 84 minute half marathon.
  3. Continued healthy running.

Number three is easily the most important and goals 1 & 2 will fall if this one is managed. The ability to stack fitness on top of fitness without interruption will doubtlessly drop my marathon time by more than two minutes over the course of a year. And, of course, I'll end up on the Chicago start line ready to make it to the finish.

It's worth noting that 2023 has been my first ever injury-free year of running: a few days off here and there due to illness, and one run cut short because something felt off. The last time I had an injury-free year of sport I was in my early 30s, over a decade ago. I forgot how good it feels.

So this is the reminder that I'm here to enjoy the journey. I don't need to walk the narrow line where I try to maximise training without injury, and sometimes get it wrong. There are no Olympic medals to be won.

And, of course, 2023 has just shown exactly how far good health will go towards those new PBs.

Happy new year, and here's hoping you run well in 2024!

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