What do I want to achieve with my running this year? Despite injuries, I achieved most of what I wanted although there’s still plenty of room for improvement – especially in consistency. So, in no particular order, here goes!
- Sydney Summer Series – improving my map reading, route planning and distance I can cover. This year is still very much a year of working on myself, especially now Nick and I run separately so while we compare our planned routes, we do them slightly differently since Nick can go further than me in the 45 minute time limit.
- 3+ Rogaines: I think we will again only manage 3, but I’d like to do more. If I can remain injury free, I’d love to get up to 30km in a 6hr rogaine and hit half marathon distance in a 3hr event.
- Great NOSH Footrace: See if I can hit the <2hr time goal this year! The first part of the race is now my local long run trail, so see if that helps at all.
- Turkey Trot: Will try for sub 1hr 40min this year on the medium course.
- Manly Trail Series: Would love to get along to one of these and see what it is like.
Non-event specific goals:
- Increase my long run distance from 10km to 15km
- Continue focusing on increasing my cadence – easier to do on road runs than trails though!
- Explore the local trails and find some good regular routes.
- Consistency: 2-3 runs per week, every week
- Aim for 600km total distance for 2017
- NO overuse injuries this year!
Phew! I think that’s enough to keep me focused. I’m really enjoying the Rogaines and the orienteering events we’re doing, so want to focus more on trails and increasing my distance. I’m not as concerned with pace as it’s impacted so much by the quality of a trail and the elevation involved, t’s time on feet that will help me the most with the longer events.
So how did I go in 2016 for the goals I set myself at the start of the year? Below is my list from early in the year:
- Sydney Summer Series: Finished the season having made it to 12 of the 26 events. Since your top 12 scores are taken into account for the final tally, this was my goal to get to. I didn’t do well, but the aim was to get along and just keep going and improving my map skills, route planning, etc. Ran most of them with Nick which had its good and bad points (for both of us!).
- 2-3 Rogaines: Squeezed in 3 rogaines this year! Two earlier in the year and the final one at the end of November. We only made it to the metro events, so I’m hoping to get along to something a little further afield in the next couple of years.
- Great Nosh Footrace (16k) <2hrs: First date was rained out by an absolute deluge and storm that destroyed parts of Sydney’s coastline. Made it to the new date and had trouble with my achilles cramping in both legs again this year. Along with the additional distance and elevation, I only managed the same time as the previous year. Checking a few other people that I know ran both years, it seems everyone ran a little worse this year than previously.
- Turkey Trot (12k) <1:40: Made it in 1hr 48m for over 13km of navigation. This was a pleasant run together and was interesting seeing more of the trails in the suburbs. Maybe make the time goal next time!
- 2 Metro League: Made it along to one. Didn’t really enjoy it. Didn’t look too hard for another to get to. Might try again this year if it’s convenient and we have nothing else on.
- Goanna – medium: Did it! Took a little while to get my head in the map, was a very slooooow run, but interesting area that I haven’t been into before. Much more a bush navigation than most orienteering events I’ve done.
- Parkrun – regular sub-30’s: Ha! Haven’t managed a single sub-30 5km the entire year. Only made it along to a few Parkruns early in the year and we haven’t been back. A lot of other things took over our lives this year, but with a new Parkrun recently started where we now live, maybe we will get along this year. Then again, maybe not.
Coming soon: Goals for 2017
And just like that, another year is gone. 2016 went out with a whimper – running wise anyway. So what did my year look like:
- Distance: 468km
- Elevation: 6,286m
- Runs: 70
Didn’t reach my goal of 500km for the year. 4 months of very low distances due to injury made sure of that. I did, however, increase my monthly average km’s from 30km in 2015 to 40-50km/mth for the months I was fit enough to run. And elevation increased from 3500m – the majority of my runs now include some hills, with a flat run being a bit of a treat instead of the norm. I only increased the number of runs I did in the year by 10, again, being laid up for nearly a third of the year with injuries didn’t help there.
For this year? A goal of 600km total distance, a treadmill so I can fit in more than one run a week in winter, and head for 10,000m elevation – that one’s definitely a stretch. Another post coming soon with goals for the year outside of these.
My progress on RunDownUnder stalled a bit over August and September. My plan to continue with 10km runs on the weekends and then start picking up some extra runs once September hit completely failed. Second run into August and less than 2km into my run I was barrelling down some rocky single track having an absolute blast on a gorgeous winters day. The wildflowers were all out and I my aim was to have some fun on the trails and take photos of as many different flowers along the way as I could. When all of a sudden I came a cropper on some rocks, heard a crack in my ankle and down I went. Thank goodness for my compression socks, I reckon they’re the only thing the held the ankle together long enough for me to clamber back out along the track to the nearest road and await my pickup. Suspected fracture that turned out to “just” be a really nasty sprain. Had me out for the count until late September.
So, my progress came to a standstill and it took me around 3 months to make the <70km I needed to get from Sydney to Wyong. I finally made it in late October and am now steadily making my way along the 70+km to Newcastle. I’m keeping my runs shorter, more road based (to avoid twisting ankles) and not pushing my pace until the ankle feels really strong again. I’m managing to clock up 10-15km each week though, so I should hit Newcastle in late November.
Today is the Sydney Turkey Trot which is listed in my goals. We ran the medium course last year – an approximately 12km straight line orienteering course. Last year my aim had been to stick to about a 7:30/km pace which we managed pretty much bang on for the first 8km. After that first hour though, I didn’t have anything more and it took close to 45 minutes for the last 4km.
This year the aim is to stick to the 7:30/km pace for the whole thing – possibly a little optimistic at this point, but let’s see what happens!
A couple of days ago, there were less than 50 entries overall and only 3 in the womens medium course – basically a guarantee of a placing. Checking now though, there are over 75 entries with six entries in the womens medium course. Oh well, maybe another time.
I’m really looking forward to running tomorrow. I’m not getting to run anywhere near as regularly as I would like over winter, but at least the runs I am doing are longer than what I usually manage.
2x Metro League
More orienteering. These are held in various bush locations around Sydney. There are league tables for the clubs who have teams competing at the five different levels. There’s also an option to “enter on the day” and have a run just for the experience – this is what we want to do this year. The aim is to have a go at something a little different and get an idea of what’s involved.
A free, timed 5km event, run entirely by volunteers and held every Saturday morning at various locations around Sydney, Australia and the world! I think I made it there about six times last year, with my last two runs around mid-year and both being a sub-30 minute run. This year I’ve convinced my husband to give it a go and we will go when we can, taking it in turns to run each week. There’s a fantastic playground at our local one with great paths for our girls to scooter along as well. I’m currently hitting about the 31:00 – 31:30 mark and my aim is to get back to sub-30’s on a regular basis.
Great Nosh Footrace
This is a trail run organised by orienteers, which is how I came across it last year. It’s around 16km of damn hilly but beautiful terrain, ranging from single track to smooth, wide fire trail. We signed up last year, despite the fact that the farthest I had ever run was 6km. I had a cold for the two weeks leading up to the race, my nose only clearing at kilometre eight. I struggled, both Achilles cramped, but I did it and even managed to jog a bit towards the end and put on a push to the finish. We didn’t finish last. It took 2 hours 40 minutes with my goal this year to get it to sub 2 hours.
Another orienteering event! This one is a line course, you have to get all the controls in the order stated, the navigation is fairly straight forward and there are three course lengths. It’s held in Sydney’s north west in a slightly different location each year. We did the medium course (12km) last year, I think in around two hours. My aim this year is to do it in sub 1:40. Hopefully I will have done a couple of runs this length prior to the event at the start of July.
Another orienteering event run on a variation of a straight line course. Three different course lengths are available. I’m pretty sure we did the medium course last year (could have been long) and I struggled on the day. A lot! My husband has the patience of a saint. While it is scored individually, we ran it together. This year we will do better.
SSS – Sydney Summer Series
This is an orienteering series that has been running for 25 years this year! Every Wednesday evening during daylight savings the Summer Series runs its 45 minute course. 30 control points are carefully scattered throughout the area, a basic topographical map at 1:10,000 or 1:7500 is provided showing the location of the controls. You plan your route taking in as many of the controls, which have three different point levels, as you think you can in the time limit for a max score of 600 with points deducted for every minute (or part thereof) late. Then off you go, registering a control visit with an SI stick so that your results at the end are instant. My aim for this season was to reach 7km in the 45 minutes. Most weeks my husband and I manage to run together. It’s a really tough run for me and a medium run for him. Several times we have run separately as well, but when I’m not injured I definitely prefer running together!
Rogaines are like orienteering only much, much bigger! Generally done in teams(yay, just the two of us, kid free for a few hours!) over three, six, twelve or even 24 hours, prior to this year I had taken part in a three hour event and a six hour event (we made it to 4:30 in this one, which was longer than I expected). This year we want to do at least two, preferably more. This one is in the bag! A 6 hour event in February – walking only under strict instructions from physio – and we signed up for the “short” three hour event this weekend. Nearly didn’t make it, but got there in the end. Hopefully we can get in one or more of the others later in the year, although they will be a little further afield which starts getting tricky.
Goals are important to me. They motivate me and writing them down gives me more focus and increases my intention to meet them. So, without further ado, here are my 2016 goals.
– 2-3 Rogaines
– Great Nosh Footrace (16k) <2hrs
– Turkey Trot (12k) <1:40
– 2 Metro League
– Goanna – medium
– Parkrun – regular sub-30’s
Well, that’s them in my shorthand anyway. Over the next few posts I’ll run through each one and what they are.