2015 was probably the best running year of my life. The only other year that comes close is my senior year in high school, but I’m not sure it was quite as good as 2015.
My recent running life reemerged in 2013. That year I cut 19 minutes off my time from the year before at the Race to Robie Creek. I also committed to run the St. George Marathon with my father-in-law, and then I surprised myself by getting a personal record (3:24), beating my PR set in 2001 when I was 18 years-old. I had a great experience at the marathon and immediately wanted to run another. I also realized that I could potentially qualify for Boston at some point if I worked at it.
2014 was a fairly disappoint year. I was plagued by injuries that cost me 3-4 weeks of training at a time. First it was a foot tendon issue, then it was a strained calf, then another foot tendon issue (I get these a lot), and finally a sore knee to finish out the year. I barely achieved a marathon PR (3:21 at the Phoenix Marathon) and it was in March — early in the year. Nevertheless, I think I improved my base endurance capability quite a bit, and I learned some valuable lessons about injury prevention and not being stupid.
In late 2014 I signed up for the Newport Marathon, which was going to be on May 30th. That gave me plenty of time to train and improve leading into May. I used the 3:05 marathon training schedule in Run Less, Run Faster and got to work. The schedule is for 16 weeks, so I had a few extra weeks built in. That turned out well because I was sick a couple times and ran the Race to Robie Creek in April (which required a small taper and some recovery).
A week before Robie Creek I achieved a post-high school PR in the 5k (18:48) at a little fun run my company put on. That totally surprised me.
Then I achieved a big course PR at the Race to Robie Creek (1:31).
While I didn’t do as well as I hoped at Newport, I still achieved a PR (3:13).
I continued training through the summer and picked up a half marathon PR at the Idaho Falls Half Marathon (1:23 — excluding the wrong turn).
Then in September I finally met my goal of a 3:04 marathon at Mt. Nebo.
I felt great and my fitness was better than ever, so in October I ran the Foothills 50k Frenzy, my first ultramarathon.
Finally in November, I picked up a course PR at Zeitgeist (1:28) despite a strained calf.
That was followed by a 10k PR at the turkey trot (37:27).
Like I said, my best year ever. I PR’d in every distance 10k and above, as well as a post-high school 5k PR. Unfortunately the year didn’t end on a high note, as a small Achilles strain kept me from training much in December. Nevertheless, as long as that heals up I’m looking forward to a good 2016.
What made the difference this year for me? First was consistency. 2014 and 2015 were my most consistent running years since high school. 2013 wasn’t too bad either. What separated 2015 from 2014 was the lack of injuries. I think before December I only had two or three weeks that I couldn’t run due to a strain. One contributor to fewer injuries was that I would adjust my schedule if something was hurting. I also did more cross training and was sure to adjust my effort (rather than going really hard every run). I also bought some cheap compression ankle braces which I felt helped prevent sore spots from worsening.
All of that led to logging about 1359 miles of running in 2015, plus another 344 “equivalent” cross training miles (basically I count about 10 minutes of cross training as 1 equivalent running mile). That was by far the most I’ve ever ran and trained in a year.
I’m hoping for a great 2016. I’ll post again regarding my goals.