10 Lessons From a Year of Running

A year ago today, on Saturday 18th April 2015, I started what was initially called “Marathon in a Year”. I’d always had this vague ambition to run a marathon and after spending the whole of 2014 coaching table tennis to Sam for the original Expert in a Year challenge I fancied giving something a go myself.

I had done a little bit of running before, but nothing serious. The peak of my running training up to that point had been in October 2014 when I randomly decided to start running once around the block every morning and racing in my local parkrun every Saturday. This quickly fizzled out in November when the temperature began to drop.

This was going to be different, though. I had a clear goal – I wanted to run a sub 3-hour marathon in April 2016 – and I was prepared to do whatever it took.

One year (and 850 miles) later, here are 12 lessons I’ve learned from all that running.

1. INJURY IS INEVITABLE (IF YOU’RE AN IDIOT)

I decided that the best way to start my year of running was with a parkrun. This would give me an untrained baseline 5K time that I could try and improve upon over the first couple of months.

So, I turned up at Oak Hill parkrun on Saturday morning, having hardly run for 6 months, and without doing any kind of warm up, and ran as fast as I could. Not a particularly bright idea. I finished in 22:05 – which I was a little disappointed with. I felt pretty unfit.

The next day I went for a 3 mile run around the block. My right knee started hurting. I assumed it was nothing. On Monday, it was still hurting. I thought better of going for another run so settled on a walk instead. I had to come back after a couple of minutes though because it was hurting to walk. I was injured. Already.

After a lot of time spent Googling I diagnosed myself with IT Band Syndrome. I spent the next six weeks resting, foam rolling, and doing some rehab exercises I found on YouTube. Roughly once a week I would optimistically go out for a little run hoping it had sorted itself out, but the pain would kick in after a mile or two and I would have to stop and walk back home.

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Towards the end of May, I started doing some short runs. At the time, I told myself my knee was getting better and it was time to start running again. Looking back now, I can see that this return to regular running coincided perfectly with receiving a Garmin watch for my birthday (May 27th). In reality, I reckon I was simply too excited to try out my new watch.

By early June, I had managed to convince myself that I was completely better. Like a complete maniac, I raced a parkrun on Saturday 6th June – finishing in 22:03. I didn’t run for the next two days because “knee isn’t feeling 100%”, but that didn’t stop me from attending my first Barnet & District track session on Tuesday 9th June and doing 12 x 200m sprints as fast as I could.

I’d never done sprint training before and my legs were left absolutely in pieces. I was woken at 8am the next morning by the postman at the door. I jumped out of bed and immediately collapsed into a heap on the floor. My legs were like jelly. I almost knocked myself out on the radiator!

In a semi-dazed state, I decided to try getting out of the other side of the bed. The same thing happened, and I was on the floor once again. I had to pull myself up before being able to hobble to the door.

The sensible thing to do after that ordeal would have been to take a day off, but there was a one-mile time trial being held by Oak Hill parkrun that Wednesday evening and for some reason I was desperate to do it. My jelly legs had half recovered by the evening and I managed a time of 6:05 for the mile.

By the next day, my legs were knackered and the knee pain was back. I wasn’t going to let that stop me, though. I’d had enough of “resting”. I ran the parkrun on Saturday 13th June – improving to 21:32 – but completely ruining my poor knee. Again.

I remember at the time being annoyed at how “unlucky” I had been to get injured right at the very beginning of my running challenge. Looking back now I can’t actually believe how much of an idiot I was. I spent the next two weeks resting.

And that was the first 10 weeks of my year of running. I think I managed about 40 miles during that time – and I probably shouldn’t have done most of those.

The lesson here is… Don’t be an idiot!

All runners get injured from time-to-time. Some of the best runners at the club are currently injured – it’s just part of what happens when you are training and trying to improve. But, as a beginner, you don’t necessarily have to get injured straight away. If you are sensible about how much running you are doing and increase your training gradually you should be able to avoid having to take months off.

2. GO TO THE PHYSIO

On Monday 29th June (10 weeks after first getting injured) I had my first session with Karen Murphy, a sports physio who is also part of Barnet and District Athletics Club. Over the past couple of months, plenty of people had told me to go and see a physio but I’d been too much of a stubborn cheapskate. I was convinced I could figure out what was wrong with my knee myself and fix it at home.

Karen agreed that it probably was IT Band Syndrome but quickly identified that the cause was most likely my weak glutes. Back then I couldn’t even tense my glutes! The brain-muscle connection simply didn’t exist at all. She gave me a list of resistance band exercises to do as often as possible.

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I had four sessions with Karen in total. Each week she would give me an excruciatingly painful “massage” down the outside of my right leg and use this cold metal thing that looked like a stethoscope and was hooked up to a machine. I still have no idea what that was but it seemed to do the trick.

I reckon that what helped us much as the painful massage and cold metal thing was the knowledge and experience Karen had as a fellow distance runner. She knew that I was keen to get back to running as soon as possible but made it very clear that I would need to increase my weekly mileage very slowly in order to escape the cycle of injury.

Over the next few weeks, I gradually increased from 5 miles to 12 miles, to 14 miles, to 17 miles. I was only running 3 days per week and most of the miles were easy and relaxed.

On Saturday 8th August I went back to Oak Hill parkrun. It had been almost six weeks since my first session with Karen and I felt much better. I managed 20:24 – which I was very happy with. Now, finally, I could start some serious training!

The lesson here is… Aggressively treat your injuries!

Before I went to the physio I really wasn’t doing much to “aggressively” treat my IT band injury. I might do a few stretches and exercises I saw on YouTube a couple of times a week but largely I was just sitting around waiting for it to get better. Karen advised me to do her routine multiple times a day if I could. And some of the exercises were really hard work – whereas before everything had been pretty gentle and chilled out.

3. THERE’S MORE TO RUNNING THAN THE MARATHON

I continued running through August but a couple of holidays meant that it was all largely easy runs on my own. It wasn’t until September that things settled down again and I was able to get into any sort of routine.

By this point, I was a regular at the Barnet & District Tuesday night track sessions. There was a nice group of about 10-15 distance runners there each week. I was among one of the slowest but I enjoyed the sessions – run by Barnet & District coach Steve Chilton – a lot.

Everyone at the club was really friendly and they would ask me how long I had been running and what I was training for. After a couple of weeks, I got used to seeing the “Oh no, not another one!” expression on people’s faces when I told them I’d only just started running a couple of months ago and was “training” to do a marathon in the spring. After one track session, one of the more experienced marathon runners in the group suggested that perhaps trying to do a marathon so early on might not be the best idea.

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From the beginning, I’d had my heart set on racing the 2016 Greater Manchester Marathon – which claims to be “The UK’s Flattest, Fastest & Friendliest Marathon”. As far as I was concerned, if I was going to do a year of running I better make sure I do a marathon at the end of it. In my eyes, the marathon was the main event. Running a marathon was impressive, regardless of what time you got. Running a fast 5K wasn’t quite as cool.

I cringe now thinking back to how hopelessly naive and clueless I must have appeared. I was enthusiastically telling people I wanted to try and run a marathon in under three hours while at the same time logging in 4.9-mile “long runs” in my training diary.

At that point in time 4.9-miles was the longest I’d ever run in one go. And 5K was the longest distance I’d raced. But when runners suggested I aim for a half marathon instead of a full marathon I was still left feel like that would be only half impressive, as well.

I remember at one point another experienced runner telling me that I only really had three options…

  1. I could try to train really hard (to get sub 3-hour speed) and really long (to build up my marathon endurance) at the same time, and almost certainly get injured within a few weeks.
  2. I could focus on building up my slow distance running so that I would be physically able to finish a marathon, jogging in an average time.
  3. I could focus on proper distance training and work my way up through the distances, aiming to race a 10K or half marathon at the end of the year instead.

When it was put to me like that I remember thinking that I only really had one option. So, I stopped worrying about the marathon and instead just focused on gradually increasing my training and entering as many club races as possible. The cross-country season was just around the corner – with the first race in October – so I would have plenty of races to keep me busy over the winter.

The lesson here is… Learn to walk before you can run!

A marathon is a lot harder than a half marathon – or so I’m told. A half marathon is a lot harder than a 10K – I discovered this for myself in March. A 10K is a lot harder than a 5K. It makes sense to start off racing the shorter distances and then only move up once you feel comfortable. The problem is, for most of us novice runners, we start off only interested in the marathon.

4. THE FIRST FEW MONTHS ARE EASY

Saturday 10th October was the first Met League cross-country race of the season and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I turned up with my brand new cross country spikes and searched for the Barnet & District gazebo.

It was a fairly warm day and the ground was dry. I ran in my normal running trainers and had quite a lot of fun. I managed to stay with some of the other Barnet runners who were roughly my standard. I did another cross-country club race the weekend after in the Chingford League and felt like I did even better.

By this point, my weekly mileage had increased to close to 30 miles a week and I was feeling really good. I’d done a decent amount of running in September and October – probably about 200 miles in total. My long runs were getting longer too, and I had a few 9-milers in the training log.

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On Saturday 24th October I returned to Oak Hill parkrun and managed to finish in 19:05 – which was a big PB for me. It felt like I was improving really quickly. I made it my goal to get under 19 minutes before Christmas and then I wanted to go for something like 18:30 in the new year. That felt achievable. “If I keep going at this rate I’ll be sub 18 pretty soon”, I thought to myself.

Spoiler alert: As I write this today my Oak Hill parkrun PB is still 19:05. I’ve run it three times since; 19:52 (November 2015), 19:16 (December 2015), and 19:13 (March 2016).

The lesson here is… Enjoy it while it lasts!

I’ve only been running for a year, and I’m sure that I’ll be able to get plenty more PBs over the next few, but I bet it’ll never be as easy again as it was doing those first few months. I didn’t really do that much during September and October but it certainly had a massive effect on my times. To get that kind of rapid improvement again I would need to seriously up my training.

5. RUNNING THROUGH THE WINTER IS MISERABLE

Back in 2014, when I dabbled in running for just over a month, my regular running came to an abrupt halt once the cold and rain began appearing. It’s a lot easier to convince yourself to go out for a run when it’s relative warm and dry than when it’s cold, wet and windy.

I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to the cold. I’ve spent most of my life playing table tennis in a humid sports hall so I’m not particularly used to standing around outside in the cold.

At some points during the winter, it felt like the temperature dropped, the wind picked up, and it started to rain every single week at about 6:45pm on Tuesday night just before we started our track session! It would be quite a warm, sunny day but then come the evening it would all predictably go belly up.

The cross-country wasn’t any better. I remember at the second Met League fixture of the season we were all doing strides about 10 minutes before the race was due to start and the rain was coming down so hard and hitting us all in our faces. It was miserable. I was cold and completely soaked before the race had even started. My feet were soaking wet too and I hate having wet feet!

The worst one was Met League #4 at Perivale in January. I’d been doing pretty well in cross-country up to that point so I decided to really go for it and try to run this one fast. I had absolutely no idea how much slower everyone runs when a course is muddy.

I went racing out at the start, blindly following a 6:30/mi pace on my watch, assuming that I’d be able to keep that up for the duration of the race. After half a mile I was dead and from then on I spent the whole race praying for it to be over. But it just went on and on. By the final couple of miles, I was being overtaken by almost everyone. I think I saw about 8 Barnet vests go past me.

There was no sprint finish. In fact, the final 0.3 miles was my slowest of the entire race – with a pace just outside 8:00/mi. It was my low point of the year.

I don’t think I’m very good at running in the mud. I reckon this is because I’m not very strong. Dragging your foot out of 6 inches of mud on every step requires a fair amount of strength in the legs. Mine were exhausted. They prefer to spring along the road or the track. I noticed that a lot of the “lighter” Barnet & District runners didn’t do as well when it was muddy either.

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My final cross country race was on Saturday 13th February at Ally Pally. It was muddy, again, and there was a massive hill that was almost more difficult to run down than it was to run up. I was slipping all over the place because I only had 9mm spikes in – which weren’t much help at all. I pulled a muscle in my back during the race when my foot slipped going around a bend.

I was cold, wet, muddy, and had a really sore back. I reckon the only way I was able to smile in the photo above was because I knew I wouldn’t have to do any more of this for quite a long time! I had well and truly had enough of cross country and was itching to get back on the roads.

The lesson here is… Man up! (I guess)

It’s especially easy to slack off during the winter. I know there were times during the year where I chose to stay home instead of running around the track in the rain, or to lie-in instead of getting up to do a parkrun in the cold. If you want to get a decent time in your goal race in March or April you need to turn up from November-February. Or I guess you could move abroad to somewhere warm during the winter like Mo Farah!

6. YOU NEED PROGRESSION IN YOUR TRAINING

In January 2016, I began working with Barnet & District coach Steve Chilton in preparation for my half marathon. We decided I would enter the Windsor & Eton Half Marathon on Saturday 19th March. That gave us 12 weeks to prepare.

I told Steve that I felt like I had hit a bit of a plateau and wasn’t improving as fast as I would have liked. He took a look at my 2015 training log on Strava and concluded that there hadn’t been much progression in my training.

He was completely right. I had been steadily increasing my mileage during August, September, and October but then November and December had seen it flatten out or even dip a little. I had been aiming for 30 miles a week but hadn’t actually managed to reach that very often.

Steve’s 12-week plan would have me do three weeks of 33 miles, three weeks of 36 miles, three weeks of 40 miles, and, finally, three weeks of 44 miles. My long runs would also increase from 10 miles to 11, 12, and then 13 miles.

RUN STATS

It was a really great plan. Tuesday would be track night. Thursday would be for my long run. Saturday would either be a race or a parkrun. Three hard workouts per week and then a fair amount of easy miles around that.

If you take a look at the chart above you’ll see that the perfect progression didn’t really happen. The first two weeks were good – and I met my weekly target of 33 miles per week – but then the little niggles began. For the next three months, I rarely got above 30 miles a week and probably averaged around 25 – which was the same as I’d been doing before Christmas.

It’s difficult for me to honestly say why that happened. Running injuries are a bit of a strange thing. Sometimes it feels like almost every runner in the club is slightly injured with something. It might not be serious but very rarely are people completely at 100%. I don’t feel like I’ve been at 100% since October.

I kept getting slightly pulled muscles, or a pain in my knee, or my ankle. For a lot of the past six months, I’ve had pain in one of my feet, along the top. During the winter, I kept getting colds and I had a big bout of the flu just before Christmas, so had to take two weeks off. When you’re feeling ill running around in the cold just doesn’t feel like a good idea for your health.

So, for the last six months, there has been very little progression in my training. I guess you could say I’ve been a bit “in a rut”. Unsurprisingly, I haven’t managed to beat the parkrun PB I achieved back in October.

The lesson here is… Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity!

If you compare my training in October and November to my training in February and March the only difference is that my long runs got longer. Everything else was the same; same mileage, same workouts, same pace. I’m sure I got a little better at running for longer but no wonder my 5K time didn’t change! If you want your times to improve you need to do more miles, harder workouts, or start pushing the pace a little. That’s just common sense. I didn’t do it, though. I got stuck in a routine without progression.

7. DON’T MISS YOUR KEY WORKOUTS

One thing I’ve come to learn from my year of running is that your key workouts are really important. For me, these were my track speed sessions on a Tuesday, my long runs on a Thursday, and my races/tempo runs on a Saturday. These were the sessions where I was really pushing my body to adapt and improve.

As part of Steve’s 12-week training plan, I should have completed;

  • 12 Tuesday track sessions
  • 11 Thursday long runs (Due to resting in the final week)
  • 11 Saturday tempo runs (With the half marathon on the final Saturday)

I haven’t yet looked at my training log on Strava, but here’s my best guess of how many of those I actually did. Track = 8, Long run = 9, Tempo run = 5.

Now let’s see what I actually did…

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Track = 7, Long run = 9, Tempo run = 5.

So, my memory was actually pretty good. I certainly missed a lot of key workouts, though.

I only managed 7 out of 12 track sessions during those 12-weeks. That’s not very good. Most of these were down to injury, illness or work commitments, but it’s worth noting that I didn’t make any effort to do speed training on another day if I was unable to make it to the track on a Tuesday.

I only missed a couple of long runs during the 12-weeks. However, I’ve since realised that I was running my long runs at a very easy pace. This pace is probably fine for my generic easy runs but my long runs should probably have been more of a challenge. I think I was nervous about pushing it too hard and getting injured, but I could have increased the pace of my long runs gradually over the course of the training plan, going a bit faster each week.

During the 12-week plan, I ran in two cross-country races, one 15K, one 10K, and one parkrun. I probably should have done more parkruns in the empty weeks or got along to the Barnet & District Saturday morning training. I think this was largely down to laziness. I chose to do other things with my weekends instead of running.

The lesson here is… Not all training is created equal!

I quite enjoy going for 5-6 mile easy runs at about 8:15-8:30/mi pace, on a weekday morning. There’s nothing wrong with that, provided I’m doing all of my key workouts as well. But I think I bulked out most of my weekly mileage with these enjoyable easy runs and that probably cost me. You need to turn up to the key workouts and push yourself hard if you want to see big improvements. Give priority to those hard sessions.

8. PACE IT, GET IT

This was something that Steve Chilton said to me when I first started talking to him about training and aiming for certain times in races. If the course you are running is fairly flat then you want to stick as closely to your goal pace as possible.

This isn’t as easy as it sounds. Throughout the year, I’ve started plenty of races with a goal pace in mind and my Garmin ready to help. It might be a 5K parkrun and I’ve set myself the goal of achieving a PB by finishing in under 20 minutes. To do that I know I need to run the race at an average pace of 6:26/mi. Simple.

But as the gun goes off I sprint with the group of runners at the front. After 45 seconds I check my watch and it shows an average pace of 5:45/mi. I slow down a little and start to fall back from the front. At the first mile, my watch beeps to let me know that I ran the first mile in 6:12. “Brilliant!”, I think to myself. Keep going at this pace and I should be close to 19:30.

But then mile two starts feeling really hard. I finish it in 6:40. My average pace so far is still 6:26/mi but I’m knackered. Mile three is horrible. My legs are heavy. I don’t even feel that out of breath but I can’t run any faster. I can feel myself slowing down. I complete mile three in 7:15 and cross the line in just under 21 minutes. I have no motivation for a sprint finish and instead just shuffled over the finish line.

That kind of thing happened to me a few times over the year and it feels horrible. There isn’t really any excuse for it. Hopefully, I’ve learned from those mistakes.

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The photo above was taken at the Kingston 10K, at the end of February. It was only my second ever 10K. I had run a 10K in September 2015 and finished in 42:22. I was determined to beat that and achieve a sub 40 time. I had done a lot of training since September and I felt ready. My parkrun times also suggested a sub 40 was within my reach.

My goal pace was 6:26/mi and I stuck to that pretty religiously. It’s so tempting to go faster at the start but I kept checking my watch and making sure I was pretty close to 6:26/mi at all times. The race felt fairly comfortable and I was able to overtake a few people during the second half when everyone else was slowing down. I finished in 39:35 and felt like I probably could have run a little bit faster.

For me, that was probably the best race I’ve had. I’d done the training. I had my goal pace. I stuck to it. I achieved the time I wanted. “Pace it, get it”, as Steve would say.

The lesson here is… Don’t get carried away!

I’ve found out the hard way just how easy it is to get over excited at the start line and run the first mile way too fast. You can try and justify it to yourself as well – “The conditions are great. I’m feeling really good.” Perhaps experienced runners are able to know when it’s OK to run significantly faster than you planned but I certainly can’t. I might feel good running the first mile super fast but I can guarantee that I won’t be feeling quite as good in a couple of miles! Start slow if you need to. Stick to your pace.

9. BE REALISTIC WITH YOUR GOAL TIME

This is a similar lesson to the one above but there is a clear difference. If lesson #8 was all about not getting carried away on the day of the race then lesson #9 is about not getting carried away in the weeks and months leading up to a race.

When I entered my half marathon in January I decided I wanted to run sub 85 minutes. Some people I spoke to thought that was a reasonable goal. Others thought it was going to be very difficult. But I stubbornly stuck to my sub 85 goal time.

We’ve already seen that my half marathon training didn’t exactly go according to plan. Did I change my goal time? No. I decided I was going to run a sub 85 minute half marathon or die trying. I guess I died trying!

I needed to average roughly 6:29/mi in order to achieve my goal. This is a pace that I am very comfortable running for 5K or 10K but I don’t think I quite realised how much more difficult it is to maintain that pace for almost an hour and a half!

  • It was all good for the first 4 miles. I think I was just under goal pace averaging something like 6:28/mi.
  • Then, in miles 5 and 6, I tried to stay with a couple of runners who were slowly increasing their pace. I ran those two miles at 6:22/mi pace. Six seconds per mile faster doesn’t sound like much but after spending two miles trying to hang on to them I had to let them go.
  • The next five miles were hard. I felt like I had pushed myself a bit too much. Add to that the fact that I probably wasn’t anywhere near fit enough to run sub 85 anyway and you can get an idea of how much trouble I was in. I averaged 6:48/mi.
  • The final two miles were horrible. I felt completely dead. My pace dropped to roughly 7:30/mi. I started being overtaken by a host of runners that I had left behind in the first couple of miles because I thought they were running “too slow”.

My sprint finish was non-existent. My chip time was 88:48.

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Looking back now, I’m glad that I managed to run a half marathon in under 90 minutes on my first attempt. I don’t think that’s bad at all. But my unrealistic goal time made the whole experience pretty unpleasant. Trying to achieve a time that your body simply isn’t capable of achieving is both physically and mentally painful.

There are race time predictors you can use to get a rough idea of what kind of time you should be aiming for. My 39:35 10K time gave me a half marathon prediction of 87:15. Seeing that this was going to be my first ever half marathon I reckon aiming to beat 87:15 would have been a much better idea. That would have brought my pace down to about 6:40/mi and probably made the whole experience a little more pleasant.

The lesson here is… The work has already been done!

When you approach the start line of your goal race the hard work has already been completed (or at least it should have been) in your training over the prior months. You aren’t going to magically be able to run a couple of minutes faster on the day – no matter how much you want to. If you are realistic with your goal time you are much more likely to have a “good” race and walk away feeling like you achieved your best possible time. You can always speed up a bit during the second half of the race if you fee like you’ve got more in the tank.

10. RELAX AND ENJOY IT

My final race of the year was the ERRA 12-Stage National Road Relays in Sutton Coldfield on Saturday 16th March. This race is a pretty big deal in the annual English road running calendar and attracts most of the top distance runners from the 65-ish biggest clubs in the country.

My club, Barnet & District, had just scraped through the Southern qualifiers by the skin of their teeth. I had assumed they wouldn’t need me – as I’m well outside the club’s twelve best runners – but lots of runners were unavailable, so I was asked to run.

I would be doing the final short leg (3.165 miles) and the course was pretty hilly. The old Ben probably would have said something like, “I’m running this in under 19 minutes. Period.” That probably would have resulted in me flying up the first hill and then struggling for the rest of the leg and finishing in something like 20:30, with my tail between my legs.

The new Ben decided to relax and enjoy it instead. Lots of the other Barnet runners were saying how tough the first mile is because it’s all uphill. They were advising me to go slow so that I still had something left for the rest of it. I decided to listen.

I didn’t realise it at the time but I still pushed a bit too hard up the hill. My pace for the first mile was 6:29/mi, but my GAP (Grade Adjusted Pace) was 5:56 – due to the hill.

The next couple of miles weren’t easy, but I could tell that some of the other runners around me had pushed themselves much harder going up the hill and were really suffering now. I managed to overtake a couple of them. By the final stretch, I managed to put in a decent sprint and overtake another couple of runners who had been in front of me the whole time.

12 Lessons From a Year of Running

I spent almost five hours in the car that day (a big thanks to Darren for driving) but I really enjoyed myself.

During my year of running I’ve come to realise that, even though distance running is an individual sport, it’s a lot more fun training with other runners and running as part of a team. Also, distance runners appear to be some of the most friendly people I’ve ever come across. The average distance runner is certainly a lot more friendly than the average table tennis player!

The lesson here is… Don’t take it so serious!

When playing table tennis you need to be focused on beating your opponent. You are about to face another player that is trying to beat you and make you look bad. Because of that, you need to approach the table confident and believing you will beat the other guy. You can’t be too happy or friendly. Running is different (at least at the sub-elite level). I ran my best and had the most fun when I just turned up and gave it my best shot. There is no need to heap excess pressure on myself.

So, there you have it. 10 lessons from a year of running. I should put it out there that I don’t really know what I’m talking about. When I write about table tennis I am usually fairly confident that the advice I am giving is good and helpful. The same cannot be said about my running wisdom!

If you have randomly found this article and have anything to add, or any questions, please leave a comment below. I’ll do my best to check regularly and reply.

And just in case you are interested… I plan on keeping up the running indefinitely – I enjoyed it that much! I think I’ll focus on the shorter stuff for a while (1500m, 3000m, 5000m), especially over the summer. Maybe I’ll have another crack at a half marathon in Spring 2017.

4 thoughts on “10 Lessons From a Year of Running

  1. Marcus Valdes Reply

    Great post! Really enjoyed it. I need to start running to defeat my Type 2 Diabetes, but all I can really do right now is walking.

    • Ben Larcombe Post authorReply

      Walking is fine Marcus. Much less likely to get injured walking too. My advice would be to find a steep hill and simply walk up and down it at a decent speed. It’s actually really good cardio and should help to get you ready for running. I even heard some elite distance runners do this in the pre-season to get ready.

  2. Catherine A Corona Reply

    I love what you are doing and how you are inspiring others. I decided to take the Expert in a Year Challenge and started singing. A life long dream. Its now 5 months in and maybe I can start to actually sing a song and not sound like a cat. But I know that at that one year mark, I might actually sound decent and I am sure having fun and it has changed my life in that I am happy all day, whistling as I work, rather singing while I work so big changes in my happiness! Thanks! Love it!

  3. Fergus Reply

    With regards to running in the winter, I find it’s a lot more manageable if you have the proper gear. Get running tights, running jacket, and always wear a hat and gloves.

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