I was inspired to write this after reading my wife Allison’s post and the link through to Courtney at Eat Pray Run DC. Blogging is something I want to do more of in 2017 and it’s always good to link up with other bloggers to learn from and become inspired by. Here’s my year of running:
- Best race experience
This one is easy, the Paris Marathon. We’ve done this a few times but this year was intriguing as it was the first major event in the city following the terrorist attack at the Bataclan in November 2015. Security was tightened and the Parisians came out in droves to support the race and made a great race the best ever. It’s a wonderful way to see the city and if you’ve never done it before, I would highly recommend it.
- Best run
I’m going to go with Parkrun. I’d started the year with my PB sitting at 19:24 and had barely got anywhere close to 19:30 when I got 19:19 on 7th May. It seems I wasn’t quite finished as I went on to run 18:57 a week later despite not having run much during that week!
- Best new piece of running gear
This is a tricky one as I only buy things when I really, really need them (too many holes in them etc) and so the only thing I can think of here is the SPIbelt I acquired from Allison. I borrowed it for the Paris Marathon in April but have yet to give it back to her! I used to be able to fit everything into the pockets of my running shorts but when we upgraded our phones, my new iPhone was now too big to fit that pocket so needed a solution. The phone fits perfectly in the SPIbelt along with my Parkrun barcode and any gels I may need.
- Best running advice you’ve received this year
Pull your knees forward rather than push off your toes. I got this from the amazing John Hardy from Faster, a training company I’ve done some courses with, still doing courses with and actually writing a course to help Personal Trainers train endurance runners with. I’ve been working a lot on my form over the last year and a half and this advice puts into a nutshell what I’ve been working on that has helped me run faster without doing speedwork.
- Most inspirational runner
I had the honour and pleasure of meeting and running with Ben Smith when he passed through Perth as part of his 401 Challenge. His story is very inspiring and to undertake something as big as what he did was incredible. A very nice guy too!
- Favourite picture from a race or run this year
I generally look a mess in my race photos and this was one of the better ones. It was taken at our Parkrun’s 3rd birthday where the theme was superheroes. I was still scrambling around for ideas the Monday before the run when one of my PT clients suggested going as the guy from the Milk Tray adverts. I always like to do things differently so this appealed to me. It was also easy to do, wear black and carry a box of chocolates. It was also a reminder that I’m getting old as everyone over the age of 35 knew instantly who I was supposed to be. Those under the age of 35 kept asking why I was running with a box of chocolates. Click the image below to see the video of the advert
- Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat
Easy, the Loch Ness Marathon. It’s my favourite UK Marathon. Running along the side of the most famous loch in the UK is pretty special with a testing route that includes a hill between 18.5 and 20 miles. This one is not just about the route, there’s a great atmosphere at registration the day before, an opportunity to meet and chat with other runners on the bus to the start and around the start area. The views en route to the start as well as when you get off the bus at the start are incredible and the support from the locals is fantastic when you get back into Inverness. Definitely a ‘must do’ race!
- If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?
Training Smarter. When I ran the Inverness Half Marathon in March, I found myself wanting to hold onto my pace more so that I could speed up at any point and I did, from 9 miles onwards and passing so many people in the later stages felt amazing. I found myself replicating that in every race following that and it has felt really refreshing, almost empowering to feel in control of my pace throughout my races knowing that I’ve still got something left in the tank. My goal for 2017 is to do the same but at a quicker pace.This has been a great way to remember a year that I would have otherwise thought to be uneventful. It’s also good to remember these things and use them to build from in 2017.Fancy being part of this? Follow these instructions and go for it!